9 A Grim Kind of Happy
9’s a VERY short movie title. I think I’ll call it Tim Burton’s 9. But as it were, Timur Bekmambetov is a producer of this movie, too. Their initials (middle names exempt) are the same, so the title is now Double TB’s 9. Teebeenine? With all that unrelated crap out of the way, I’m sure you’d actually like a review.
9’s not your typical post-apocalyptic movie. Where another director might use zombies or gun-toting mercenaries, Tim Burton would use dolls animated by a fragment of a human soul. The plot isn’t terribly complicated, but it still manages to fill 80 minutes without any major lulls. Considering it was based off of an 11 minute short, that’s particularly impressive.
The story begins with 9 waking up in the room of the scientist, confused and alone. He meets 2, who gives him his voice and is inadvertently captured by the “Beast,” a giant dog-like creature left behind after the world-ending war. A little backstory: The scientist created a highly intelligent and creative A.I., which was seized by the military government and forced to make war machines. Long story short, the machines went berserk and shrouded the Earth in a deadly poison gas.
The first struggle is with the Beast. 9 and 2 face off, resulting in the elderly 2 being whisked away to the factory, along with a mysterious little device. After 9 unites with the rest of the numbered crew (1-8), 9, 6, and 7 set out to rescue 2.
You know what, let’s make this easier. Identities to names, GO:
- 1: The elderly control freak that is scared of everything.
- 2: The elderly inventor who explores and collects stuff.
- 3-4: The mute twins that capture images with their eyes.
- 5: The good natured, one eyed doll that helps 9 repeatedly.
- 6: The oddball that has the most knowledge about the “device.”
- 7: The lady-warrior that has too many moments of badass.
- 8: The big beefy jerk with all the weapons. Also 1’s bitch.
- 9: The curious protagonist. Creative and clever on the spot.
The final struggle is with the scientist’s A.I., brought back to life after 9 connected the device to it. It begins to develop more war machines, trapped in its volatile cycle even without soldiers to fight. Then again, 1-9 could be seen as the enemy soldiers.
My issue is, the dolls all harbor a piece of the scientist’s soul. The scientist claimed that the Machine was incomplete because it lacked a human soul. Throughout the movie, the Machine tries desperately to absorb the fragments of the scientist’s soul to complete itself. Even though you’re meant to empathize with the doll people, you kind of wonder what would happen if the Machine acquired all nine pieces. Would it gain a higher intelligence? Would it give up on the imaginary war and try to repopulate the planet with machines? Wait for it… 9 2, the Machine’s Story.
9 isn’t a movie you’d want to miss if you’re into Tim Burton’s stuff. Josh Tyler of Cinemablend thinks that 9 isn’t up to scale, regarding proportions and distance. He could be going a little harsh, since the movie is based off an eleven minute short. If the focus was on them walking, there would be lulls. The terrible kind that I was talking about. But still, it’s a fair point. Here’s the review link: http://www.cinemablend.com/reviews/9-4159.html