Sunday, September 13, 2009


I have just come back from seeing the animated movie 9. Though it has Tim Burton's name all over it, the actual creative force behind it was one Shane Acker, who both wrote it and directed it, presumably based on his Oscar-nominated, 2005 short by the same name.

Let me first say, DON'T TAKE YOUR KIDS TO SEE THIS FILM. Three reasons:
  1. It will probably go over their heads. If your kids didn't love City of Ember, you can count on it.
  2. It might scar them for life. The bit with the dolly-snake-killing machine especially.
  3. It's definitely too good for them. The brats don't deserve it.
Instead, HIRE A BABYSITTER AND GO TO SEE IT YOURSELF. You'll thank me for it. It's a fantastic movie. Correction: it's a breathtaking, awesome, spectacular, visionary film. In my fairly humble opinion, it deserves to become the first animated feature to win the Oscar for Best Picture.

But it's also extremely dark, atmospheric, and scary. There are tons of action in it, and oodles of shocking and frightening images. It takes place in a ruined world where, as the story begins, the last surviving human being has just breathed his last. A dictator has commandeered the work of a foolish scientist, hoping to use it as a weapon of power. The machine and its offspring having turned on mankind, all that is left of the human soul resides in nine little animated dolls, each identified by the one-digit number painted on its body. The title of the film is both a head count of these pieces of the scientist's soul and the name of the main character.

The cast is a small ensemble of powerhouse voice talent. Elijah Wood, lately "Frodo" in The Lord of the Rings, plays the title role: a wide-eyed, curious creature whose foolish mistake unleashes a tragic train of events, and whose vast courage derails it. His buddy "5" has the distinctive voice of John C. Reilly, soon to appear as the vampire in The Vampire's Assistant. Christopher Plummer, Martin Landau, Crispin Glover ("George McFly" in Back to the Future), and Oscar winner Jennifer Connelly give voice to numbers 1, 2, 6, and 7 respectively. Their performances add a great deal to a movie that is already visually tremendous, exciting, and touching.

So, bottom line: send the kids to see Ponyo while you see 9.

I earned a loyalty voucher for a free movie ticket today. I was tempted to see District 9, which would have made this post an interesting double review. But I decided I was too tired to watch another movie today, especially another one as full of violent action as I hear District 9 is. Maybe tomorrow I'll catch Julie & Julia. It looks like a nice little film, and it won't cost me anything if I don't like it.

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