Movie Reviews

Film Review: “9”

(Focus Features. 1 hour, 19 minutes. Rated PG-13 for violence and scary images. Directed by Shane Acker.) Featuring the voices of Elijah Wood, Jennifer Connelly, Christopher Plummer, Martin Landau, Crispin Glover and John C. Reilly. Music by Deborah Lurie.

Man’s pursuit of technology backfires when an artificial intelligence turns on humanity, and both are destroyed in the conflict. In humanity’s final days, one scientist imbues nine “stitchpunk” creations with the spark of life in hopes that they can restore order to the world. A very promising film that falls short of its potential. Visually and technically, this movie is wonderful. Fluid, nuanced animation, exciting action sequences and terrific art direction help to set an intriguing mood for the film, and the character designs give a lot of personality to these little hodgepodge creatures. I especially like how each one of the nine creatures in the sequence is unique, but there are subtle improvements with each subsequent iteration (more sophisticated hands, eyes that are better articulated, etc.).

The story, however, is where the movie runs aground. It’s a good story, but there just isn’t enough of it. The premise and setting of the movie are well-presented visually, but the plot feels underdeveloped, relying too much on action to advance the story. The pacing is pretty uneven but the proceedings make sense superficially; however, maddeningly little is explained about the movie’s world. Why did the scientist create these little creatures? How and why did his initial creation go so wrong? What exactly is the talisman that they’re after? The film sets up a framework for a really interesting story but fails to fill in large parts, and could have benefited from an extra 15 minutes or so. I’m all for dystopian futures and tiny, sentient machines, but this one feels like it rolled off the assembly line incomplete.

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Jared Counts

Digital Technology Manager

Jared Counts moved to Houston in 1995, survived high school and college, and graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Houston with a degree in Communications (Media Production) and a minor in Film Studies. After being hired part-time at KUHF Radio in early 2003, he proceeded to bounce between...

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