Last night, we went to a sneak preview of 9, directed by Shane Acker. Kat and I have been looking forward to this film for about a year, since we saw the first footage. If you’re curious about the backstory, you can hit up the 9 Experiment and look around the scientist’s lab.
First thing’s first: The PG-13 rating isn’t a joke. This is a bleak, bleak movie. The settings are beautifully desolate, and more than once, the ragdoll characters have to navigate through a landscape strewn with the corpses of humans murdered by the machines. Seriously. 9 – and this may be considered a very slight spoiler – has to pull something from beneath the withered, dead hand of his creator. The character designs are gorgeous, and the world is wonderfully realized. The mechanical monsters built by the synthetic B.R.A.I.N. are creepy tattered things, made up of an amalgam of bone, metal and other detritus left behind by humanity.
If there’s one complaint I have about the film, it’s that it is way too short. At 79 minutes long, it could have happily been expanded at least another half hour. I would have liked more time with the characters, to establish more of a rapport. I think they leaned a little too heavily on the iconic stereotypes of the dolls: the dictator, the brute, the crazy guy, and so on. It would have made the ending a bit more poignant, I think, if you could have identified more with the characters.
That said, I friggin’ love 3 and 4.
Oh, one more thing… It needs to be reiterated: this is not a Tim Burton movie. Shane Acker directed it, and I hope he doesn’t have the same issues Henry Selick has with A Nightmare Before Christmas. Burton only produced the film; he had no creative stake.