Sep 14, 2009
9 doesn't exactly improve upon the amazing short film that it is based upon, but that's hardly surprising. Shorts extended to feature length rarely do (District 9 being a notable exception). The main shortcoming of the feature is that the haunting stillness of the short, which featured no voice acting at all, is replaced here by ... well, too many voices.
It's been said many times, but bears repeating: Please, Hollywood, for the love of God, we do not care if movie stars do the voices in animated features, just get someone who can do them well.
That's not to say that the voice cast of 9 is bad. Christopher Plummer is quite good, in fact. But Elijah Wood and John C. Reilly are just ... themselves. They have distinctive, easily-recognized voices, but they are not the voices of the characters, they are the voices of the actors. Jennifer Connelly, on the other hand, isn't even distinctive. She is serviceable, but why on earth would you pay to have Jennifer Connelly in a movie in which you don't actually get to see her? Even worse is Crispin Glover, not because he does a bad job, but because his character has, at most, six to ten lines, none of which were memorable or required a shaky-creepy psycho voice. It could have been anyone.
As to the rest of the film, it was beautifully animated and fun, if a bit light on plot. It was more of an extended couple of sequences, really, though that's pretty much par for the course in action movies. Lots of leaping away from explosions and dangling from high places, and smashing scenery and, "We can't just leave them to die!" and "Nooo!" etc.
It depicts a post-apocalyptic world in which the machines have revolted (again) and killed off all the humans. The only survivors are nine little burlap robot-things, the only purpose of which seems to be to be the protagonists of the film. It's pretty standard action movie stuff once you get past the unique style, but the style is gorgeous and interesting.
Note: The monsters that stalk these little sack people are pretty scary, and they shriek a lot, and about as loudly as the sound system will allow, so think twice before taking little kids to see it.