Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Review: 9


Shane Ackers Director
Tim Burton Producer
90minutes pg-13

9 is the feature length version of the 11 minute short film Ackers produced in 2004. As with the shorter work, the world has be been driven to destruction by a long war between humans and machines. Knowing that humanitie's time is short, a scientist creates small puppets and imbues them with the essence of his own humanity. 9 wakes up some time after all of this has taken place and though various back stories he learns of what happened to humans at the hands of the machines and what "machines" are still active and hunting.

Director Ackers won a great deal of recognition for the short work and as such Burton pretty much left him to create the feature length version. As such, those of us that are familiar with the original short, ( 9 short on YouTube) well see many of the connecting themes in the longer version. Matter of fact I would have to say that the 11 minute movie IS the cinematic studio version with some changes that allowed the original idea to be expanded on. The one major difference is 9 and his compatriots speak where they were mute in the short. A fellow viewer suggested that 90 minutes with no dialog would have been too much, but then that was almost the case with Wally was it not? I am almost wondering if the voices were this movie's version of say Deckard's Blade Runner voice over. And much for the same purpose. Another complaint by a fellow viewer was the ending which has religious overtones, but this is a case of not seeing the short. Ackers was allowed to maintain much of his original story and the ending sequence is integral in both versions.

So, 9 is good honest science fiction. It comments on many of the touch points of a good movie science fiction or otherwise but most certainly Sci-fi. Concern for the environment, political extremism, fear of technology and one of my favorites, imbuing humanity into an otherwise inanimate object. So is 9 a robot in the truest sense or maybe an android....no, not in the true science fiction sense, more of a high functioning puppet perhaps... But so much more and maybe less. But overall the movie does what a good science fiction movie should. It extrapolates. It introduces tech that is on the fringe enough to make you think and together you are either forced or led to reexamining preconceptions.

I would give it a good solid 8, mainly because I thought some of the additions detracted from the original. My reservations match another viewer in that Hollywood arbores an untidy ending which the short may have had to a point. So everything must be wound up nicely and everyone must be happy which I think says more about the viewer than the producer.

Watch the short first, then DO GO SEE the movie and then do yourself a favor and go view the short again... Yes it will hold up that well! 9's website click here

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