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Blu-ray Review

DVD cover



Starring (voice): Elijah Wood, John C. Reilly, Jennifer Connelly, Christopher Plummer, Crispin Glover and Martin Landau
Universal Pictures UK
RRP: £24.99
Certificate: 12
Available 22 February 2010

When 9 first comes to life, he finds himself in a post-apocalyptic world where all humans are gone. It’s only by chance that he discovers a small group of friends that, like himself, are named after numbers. Together they take refuge from fearsome machines that roam the earth intent on their extinction. Despite being the newest member of the group, 9 convinces the others that hiding will do them no good, they must take the offensive if they are to survive and discover why the machines want to destroy them in the first place. Soon they will come to learn the very future of civilization may depend on them...

9 is an animated movie written and directed by Shane Acker. The movie is based on Acker's 10 minute student film, of the same name, which was nominated for an Academy Award in 2005.

Visually the movie is impressive. The vocal acting is also uniformly great. However, sadly no one thought to write a script that would stretch to the finished running time of around 80 minutes. So, what we end up with is a very stretched plot that falls apart as soon as you start to stop admiring the stunning visuals.

In fact the only element I truly thought was interesting was the very last few seconds (without spoiling too much) where the rain appears to hit the camera lens. The music swells to an impressive, moving conclusion, and the ideas it brings with it are interesting. Other than that I found this movie to be a little dull.

Extras include an audio commentary with Acker and other crew members; Deleted Scenes (7 min, 24 seconds of rough animatics); The Long and the Short of it (16 min, 28 sec look at why it was decided that the original short should be made into a full length movie); On Tour with Shane Acker (5 min, 35 tour of the animation studio); The Look of 9 (behind the scenes featurette with contributions from cast and crew); Acting Out (4 min, 54 sec look at how the animators get the characters to move naturally); 9 - The Original Short (10 min, 33 sec original short film with optional director's commentary); and a picture-in-picture feature which can be run while watching the main feature.

To be perfectly honest I found the original short to be a much better viewing experience than the finished movie. While 9 has some interesting aspects (like the robotic bird and seeing the world through 9's eyes) on balance it's not really a movie I can recommend. It looks pretty, but that's about all it's got going for it.


Darren Rea

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