Film Review – 9

I’m not a major fan of animated films – I was probably held back due to my dislike of comics (aka I like girls) – aside from all but a handful of films. I was unsure of this film, but once I saw Crispin Glover was one of the voices, I was sold on it. It’s kind of a post-apocalyptic movie about these little machines made from the soul of a scientist before he died.

The scientist made these little steampunk guys by hand and then used some machine to put his soul into each of nine of them. They all end up finding each other after all the humans get gassed and exterminated. The scientist originally had been hired to make a super machine that was going to be the answer to all the world’s problems. But the bad guys somehow took control of it and turned it into an evil machine. The evil machine built more evil machines which soon took over the world (and gassed everything like I said before).

The last little burlap guy (named 9), gets rescued from a robot dog by number 2 after he awakens to find the scientist dead in his lab and a leftover piece that looks important is laying on the floor. Number 2 gets taken away and when the other numbers find 9, they are upset with him for letting 2 get taken. Number 9’s voice is Elijah Wood which actually suits the mannerisms of the character well. There are two mute characters who play librarians who have the answers to fighting the big machine in their repository. The oldest character, 1, is kind of a crotchety old guy who really ends up being a pain in everyone’s ass. The old guy keeps telling the other numbers to give up and that it’s no use trying to fix anything. In fact, he’s the one that sent one of the numbers out to die at the hand of the robot dog. He’s very frustrating.

John C. Reilly plays 5, and ends up being pretty funny. Not in a slap stick way like most of his movies, but in a regular funny guy way. Jennifer Connelly plays 7, who’s like this gung-ho acrobatic martial arts girl who kicks a lot of ass. She’s pretty amusing. And Crispin Glover plays 6, kind of an insane rag doll that just draws pictures of the piece that 9 picked up in the scientist’s lab over and over again.

9 convinces the other dolls to attack the evil machine, even though 1 tries to get them to all wait it out and hope things blow over. They trek out across this barren wasteland of a city to attack the machine in its secret lair. The machine comes to life when 9’s machine piece gets inserted into it (not intended to be dirty, I promise you). The machine begins to make other evil machines again and fights back to the bitter end. While fighting, the machine basically sucks the life out of these rag dolls and they “die”. You forget their little robot creatures and you forget it’s an animated film.

The film is super dark. Even though there’s not a speck of blood in the whole film, these characters get their lives sucked out in front of your eyes. They have emotions and they’re torn between saving themselves and saving each other. The leader, 1, is so frustrating you want to scream. Tim Burton has his hands in a lot of the film, and you can clearly see his influence. However, you are assured regularly that it’s not a Disney film, because it is dark. I mean really DARK. Scary dark and not a lot of uplifting scenes in it. And despite the fact that Crispin Glover’s cinematic brilliance is not highlighted in this movie, I’m going to add this to the handful of animated films I really like. It’s pretty moving and deep for an animated film and I wouldn’t recommend it for kids at all. It is just too depressing and multi-layered. I would, however, recommend it to everyone else. I liked it a lot.

(4 out of 5 fus)


I'm a cross between Taylor Swift and Danzig, with a small dose of Christpher Burke thrown in. I like fried foods wrapped in bacon and I collect B-movies and kung-fu films. I host a regularly-occuring Bad Movie Night for 20-30 of my closest friends—jealous, aren't you?

Follow him on Twitter or email him.

View all posts by this author