Sometimes, I fail to provide the premise of a movie. Because the concept of 9 might intrigue some to see it, here is a basic plot description (courtesy of IMDb.com): A rag doll that awakens in a post-apocalyptic future holds the key to humanity’s salvation.
I saw 9 back in theaters in 2009 and enjoyed it. Over three years later, I recently decided to revisit it and honestly, I am a little disappointed. What I remembered best about the film was its dark, futuristic atmosphere and its intriguing story. Both of those aspects remain the strongest parts of the film, however, the rest of 9 is dull, uninspired, and slightly cliched.
I cannot really recommend the film and there are plenty of reasons why: The characters are boring and forgettable. They remind us of other, more detailed characters from other movies. Also, several of the voice actors seem out of place and miscast. Elijah Wood is extremely unexciting in the title role and John C. Reilly’s voice doesn’t seem to match the character he plays. Christopher Plummer and Martin Landau, the two oldest cast members, are the only actors worth taking note of, though their performances here are minor in the overall scope of their entire careers.
There is nothing extraordinary about what the cast does here, but their lines didn’t seem to be the main focus of the filmmakers anyway. Visual effects were obviously given much more attention during the making of 9. The explosions, the smoke, the evil machines, and the devastated city are just a few of the images that kept me interested in the film. The computer animation is very good and nicely detailed. It is certainly a shame that the movie lacked dialogue and characters that were crafted with the same thought and care. I suspect that this would have been more emotional and more intriguing as a silent film.
The best animated movies match great visuals with superb storytelling; this is why Pixar nearly dominates the animation industry. Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and Up are all examples of what makes an animated film successful. They are transportive because of the worlds they depict and intriguing for the stories and characters that inhabit them. Unfortunately, 9 only gets half way there. With a runtime under one hour and twenty minutes, I hesitate to label it as a waste of time. It just never lives up to the potential of its original concept. I am sure there are people who really like this film, as I did in 2009. However, now that I have revisited it, I have absolutely no desire to see it again.