Elijah Wood & Christopher Plummer in 9 Animated Feature
Elijah Wood & Christopher Plummer
The new animated feature "9" delivers audiences into a blasted, desolate landscape reminiscent of
We're thrown headlong into a post-apocalyptic universe.
Humanity is no more. Life, or something like it, has come down to the vicious combat between two species: machines resembling metallic dinosaurs, voracious and relentless, and a tiny band of brothers and sisters akin to burlap-sack hand puppets, with big goggle eyes and an instinct for survival.
So it's not "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs."
The PG-13 rating is appropriate. Acker's influences are a stimulating lot, including
Something has gone slightly awry, however, en route from the 11-minute film to the 79-minute edition of "9."
In the original, wordless short (the feature has dialogue, though less than usual for an animated feature), as we came to know what's left of the planet through 9's mechanical but soulful eyes, the dread and wonder remained in perfect equipoise. The world Acker created was bleak, but the sense of visual discovery was -- is -- awe-inspiring.
Acker and his screenwriter,
The remaining members of the tribe, described in the film's background material as "stitchpunk" creations, include a paranoid elder (voiced by
Every year the envelope of contemporary animation is pushed, stretched and tested by all sorts of adventurous talents. Acker is one of them, and many will greet "9" as the best and bravest of its genre in a long time. I'm not there with it myself, especially not in a year in which both "Coraline" and "Up" asserted their own stimulating sets of risks and rewards. Nor am I convinced that adding dialogue to this basic story was the right idea. Still, the film cannot be dismissed. I admire Acker's craftsmanship to the same degree I'm frustrated by what's missing or overstressed here, amid all the rough-textured details and the grim machine-ruled aesthetic.
"9 Animated Feature" Movie Trailer
MPAA rating: PG-13 (for violence and scary images).
Running time: 1:19.
Featuring the voices of
Recent Movie Reviews - Films in Theaters
Kate Beckinsale & Gabriel Macht
Whiteout (1 1/2 Stars)
Kate Beckinsale & Gabriel Macht in Whiteout
"Whiteout" comes from a graphic novel about a U.S. Marshal stationed in Antarctica. A corpse is found on the ice, but it's not just another case of severe frostbite. It's murder, and the murderer has a motive that relates in some way to the Cold War-era prologue ...
This easygoing, entertaining documentary is about a triumph of advertising and frippery over rational thinking: the September 2007 issue of Vogue, hundreds of pages long, fraught with backstage machinations and editorial mishaps.