Sunday, September 13, 2009

9

Around two months ago I sat down to watch some good ole fashion videos on the Internet when the trailer for 9 popped up. After hearing what needed to be listened to and watching what need to be seen I had only one question, when and where! So yeah, I might have a bit of a thing for anything punk, but can you blame me? You have Elijah Woods playing a burlap doll in a post-apocalyptic world being hunted by a giant gear ridden monster with what looks like a wolf's skull for a head! What more do you need!?
The film begins with Elijah "9" Woods falling off some bizarre contraption onto a desk, after awakening he seems to already have full control of his mechanical functions as well as a basic knowledge of what everything around him is, but enough of that. After being intrigued by some rustling window shutters, he opens them to expose the devastated landscape, which is all that is left of....of...I think it's Russia simply because you hear the word "Comrade" in some old tapes shown later in the film. Well taking a peak outside he notices a creature quite like him, but it seems he is unable to speak or call out to him. Cut to outside and Elijah greets this fellow compatriot by smacking him in the face with a spoon, quite nice. Luckily 2, as he's called, is quite forgiving and even rather inventive as he fits 9 with a nifty little voice box. After the movie gives you just enough time to connect to this caring creature he's ripped from the movie by the aforementioned demon dog monster machine. Eventually Elijah decides to go after him and save him with the help of his new found buddy, and friend of 2, 5. And he does, and then he does something incredibly stupid and 2 is offed for the rest of the film, don't you just feel the warm atmosphere surrounding you, choking you?

If you haven't noticed this movie does not want you to be comfortable, it always wants to keep you on your feet and force into your head that this is not a safe world you are peering into. Throughout the film you feel the constant tension that all the characters do at the realization that there is no safe haven from the machines that wish to destroy our little sack puppet friends. While the film is rather reserved on the shock scares, it does supply a steady amount of a tense atmosphere that actually makes you hope that something will jump out at you just so you know what it is your nearly wetting your pants over.

Yet a film's atmosphere can be destroyed if not supplied with good voices to fill the air and luckily the few voices supplied are very efficient. We already mentioned Elijah and he's great, moving on. Christopher Plummer supplies an very appropriate nuance to 1's shaky and xenophobic demeanor, his performance is memorable yet not over-domineering, which actually can be said of all the roles. Jennifer Connelly as 7 provides a strong voice and attitude, a very fresh change from the good amount of pathetic female performances that have plagued cinema as of late, seeming perfectly suited to the strong and independent character she is portraying while still seeming huma..Um....real.

(Semi-Spoiler Warning)

One thing you will notice about the film is that it doesn't not like to provide exposition, actually it loathes it. It wants you to be in the here and now and will only give you the slightest bit of information just so you won't be completely baffled by what your looking at. All of the exposition can be summed up in the scene in which you meet the two silent, and apparently slightly perverted as you see in a later scene, twins who apparently have eyes that work like cameras and film projectors. All of the film's exposition can be supplied in that scene and in this sentence that I am about to provide. Nice scientist makes super intelligent robot, asshole chancellor steals super intelligent robot and uses it to make machines of war to take over the world, super intelligent robot gets pissed after a while and turns robots on humans and asshole chancellor, nice scientist goes underground and makes the stitch-punks to carry on after humans are done. The word subtle is not soft enough to explain the narrative of this film and some say this makes the film's narrative weak, I'm not sure if I can agree. It's true that the most overt form of symbolism and reference is when 2 is placed on a raft and 5 puts a single coin over his eyes before they push him off to sea (If you DON'T get that reference you obviously failed ancient history).

(End of Spoilers)

The end of this film leaves you with a feeling of yearning, you want to know more about this new world that the stitch-punks have at their disposal, and you definitely want to see what happens next after they have conquered this major threat. While most would probably want to shoot me for saying this, this film is in need of a sequel, something to further expand on the many questions a
nd thoughts it leaves you with. Are there any humans left? Are there any other stitch-punks? Is the entire world destroyed or just one group of continents, one country? What bloody country are they even in, they hint at Russia with the word comrade, but who knows!? You know what? I demand that they either release a book, a game, a second movie, or some form of media to further expand on this universe, demand it I say!

We're finally at the end of this review and the inevitable question comes up, how did it content overall? That's actually very difficult to explain, while I usually want to think of how much other people would enjoy this film I think the only way I could do it justice is if I stuck with my own unfiltered opinion. I do think the narrative and story is a bit weak. The acting, character design, world design, and overall atmosphere are an original work of wonder that only further supplies the anxiety and curiosity left with me at the end of this visual masterpiece. The plot is probably the most generic portion of this film, but it isn't so much so that it becomes a major detractor, but it doesn't earn it any bonus points.

Overall Grade = B

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