Review of “9”

26 Oct

I must admit that I didn’t even know that 9 existed and, had I spotted the DVD on a shelf, I quite probably wouldn’t have paid it much attention; in fact, it was my mother who bought it and I’m very grateful that she did!

9 is a post-apocalyptic story about a little ‘stitchpunk’ (as the blurb dubs it) character called 9 (which we soon learn represents his order of creation, there having been eight others created before him) who awakens in the devastated ruins of a city terrorised by a monstrous beast, which, naturally, he must confront. But, that is only the beginning of an adventure that reveals just what has befallen the world and what must be done to save it.

Wonderfully animated, with Tim Burton as one of the producers and voice talent from such actors as Elijah Wood, Crispin Glover and Jennifer Connelly. this is an excellent film that, despite its 12 rating, would be suitable for less sensitive younger children, whilst having plenty to keep the not too jaded adult viewer happy, as well. At an hour and a quarter in length, it makes a great ‘filler’ movie which a good mixture of action, comedy and mystery. I’d definitely recommend it!

Spoilers follow….

9 begins with the newly-awakened 9 entering a devastated, post-apocalyptic world for the first time, and the viewer is as ignorant as he is about what is happened and what is really going on. Thus, if you would prefer to discover what is happening as he does, do not read any further….

In a sense, 9 is a surrealist version of Terminator – it is set in a world where intelligent warmachines have risen up against their human masters and exterminated them – and works brilliantly both in its own right and as a deconstruction of that genre of adventure. Nothing is ever quite as it seems and it is anything but a straightforward piece of science fiction adventure.

9 is not, as might initially be assumed, set in the future. As 9 explores the world, it becomes clear that some of the technology is old-fashioned (and out of keeping with the advanced robotics). Eventually, we learn that this is some sort of alternate timeline in which a dictatorship in the 1930s, similar to but distinct from both Nazism and Communism, used a brilliant but naive scientist to create an artificial brain that allowed the creation of advanced robots that the dictatorship promised would usher in a new age of peace but soon turned to war, only for them to turn upon humanity and utterly exterminate it.

The scientist responsible for the brain had not just built it, but had placed his mind into it – only without the soul, so that it lacked humanity. To counter this, the scientist made his nine stitched-together creations as hosts for fragments of his soul so that, one day, they could be gifted back to the machine, curing it. Needless to say, the plan doesn’t go according to plan!

Interestingly, and probably explaining how the scientist was able to create such advanced robotics whilst other technologies remained true to the era, the robots are, it is indicated, actually a form of golem. Amusingly, at one point, this presents us with what are effectively zombie robot golems, probably a first for the genre!

For a short and seemingly simple film, there is a lot going on that rewards those with sharp eyes and broad knowledge. In particular, there are the occasional nods to other SF films and series. Rather than the so-so sort of production I had imagined it would be, I came away surprisingly impressed!


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