9 (2009 animated film)

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9
9posterfinal.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Shane Acker
Produced by
Screenplay by Pamela Pettler
Story by Shane Acker
Based on 9 
by Shane Acker
Starring
Music by Deborah Lurie
Cinematography Kevin R. Adams
Edited by Nick Kenway
Production
company
Distributed by Focus Features
Release dates
  • September 9, 2009 (2009-09-09)
Running time
79 minutes
Country United States
Russia
Language English
Budget $30 million
Box office $48.4 million[1]

9 is a 2009 American computer animated post-apocalyptic science fiction thriller film, which was directed by Shane Acker and produced by Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov. The film stars the voice talents of Elijah Wood, John C. Reilly, Jennifer Connelly, Christopher Plummer, Crispin Glover, Martin Landau, and Fred Tatasciore.[2][3] It is based on Acker's Academy Award-nominated 2005 short film of the same name.[4] The film was released on September 9, 2009, and it was distributed by Focus Features. It received mixed to positive reviews, and has since developed a cult following.

The screenplay for the film was written by Pamela Pettler, with casting by Mindy Marin, production design by Robert St. Pierre and Fred Warter, and art direction by Christophe Vacher.

Plot[edit]

Prior to the events of the film, a scientist is ordered by his dictator to create a machine in the apparent name of progress. The Scientist uses his own intellect to create the B.R.A.I.N., a thinking robot. However, the dictator quickly seizes it and integrates it into the Fabrication Machine, an armature that can construct an army of war machines to destroy the dictator's enemies. Lacking a soul, the Fabrication Machine becomes corrupted and decides to exterminate almost all life on Earth. The Fabrication Machine reprograms the other war machines to turn against humans by using toxic gas and chemical weapons. On the verge of destruction, the Scientist uses alchemy to create nine homunculus-like rag dolls known as "Stitchpunks" using portions of his own soul via a talisman and dies upon finishing the last one.

Sometime later, the last doll, 9, awakens in the Scientist's workshop. Taking the talisman with him, 9 ventures out into the devastated city and meets 2, a frail inventor who gives him a voice box and is surprised when 9 reveals the talisman. The last surviving machine, the Cat-Beast, attacks the pair and takes 2 and the talisman. 9 collapses, but awakens in Sanctuary, a cathedral that is home to the other dolls, including the dogmatic leader 1, his large bodyguard 8, the cycloptic engineer 5, and the mentally unstable oracle 6. 1 immediately labels 2 as dead, but 9, having seen the factory where the Cat-Beast has taken 2, decides to rescue him. 9 and 5 venture to the factory where they find 2. 7, the only female of the dolls, arrives and slays the Cat-Beast, but 9, drawn by curiosity, connects the talisman to the previously derelict Fabrication Machine, causing the interface to absorb 2's soul into the machine, reviving it and killing him in the process whilst 9, 5, and 7 manage to escape its factory.

7 takes 9 and 5 to the library, where the silent scholar twins, 3 and 4, show 9 the Fabrication Machine's origins. 5 realizes the talisman's symbols match the clairvoyant drawings of 6. 9 and 5 return to Sanctuary to investigate, but 1 confronts and chastises them. The Fabrication Machine starts constructing new machines; one of them, the bird-like Winged Beast, attacks Sanctuary, leading to a battle between the dolls and the Winged Beast. 7 joins the fight, but is injured. 5 and 6 manage to kill the Winged Beast by reactivating the propeller of a derelict plane and knocking it into the blades.

As the group retreat to the library, 6, 3, and 4 cryptically explain the talisman's origins, but 1 once again chastises the group, then reveals he had sent 2 out of the church on a scouting trip to die, calling him old and weak. Meanwhile, angered at the loss of the Winged Beast, the Fabrication Machine finds 2's corpse and uses it as a hypnotic lure for another robot, the Seamstress. The Seamstress attacks the library and captures 7 and 8, but 2's body is safely recovered and given a funeral by the others. The others then run to the factory to destroy the machines. 9 goes inside alone, kills the Seamstress, and rescues 7, but is too late to save 8, who is killed by the Fabrication Machine. Afterwards, 9 and 7 escape while the others destroy the factory.

All of the dolls celebrate the destruction of the factory, but the Fabrication Machine, which survived, attacks the group and kills 5 and 6, but not before the latter convinces 9 to go to the Scientist's workshop to find answers. 9 follows 6's instructions, finding a holographic recorded message from his creator, who explains that the "Stitchpunks" he created are all a part of himself, including 9, making them the only hope for humanity. He then explains that the talisman can be used against the Fabrication Machine to free the dolls' souls trapped in it. 9 reunites with the other dolls and devises a plan to sacrifice himself to give the others enough time to retrieve the talisman from the Fabrication Machine. However, 1, having had a change of heart, allows himself to be killed instead, giving 9 the opportunity to remove the talisman. The Fabrication Machine tries to grab it, but 9 activates it and uses it to reabsorb the souls taken by the Fabrication Machine, killing it in the process. 9, 7, 3, and 4 free the souls of 5, 1, 6, 2, and 8 from the talisman and they fly up into the sky, causing it to rain. The final image shows that the raindrops contain small flecks of glowing bacteria, bringing life back to the world.

Cast[edit]

Creations[edit]

9 as he appears in the film.
  • 9 (Elijah Wood) is the youngest of the group that represents the Scientist's humanity, bigheartedness, thoughtfulness, and sincerity. He is very intelligent, but he can make mistakes due to his curiosity. He seeks the truth in the history of his creation, and wishes to know the meaning of life. He has a strong brotherly bond with 5.
  • 8 (Fred Tatasciore) is the brutish ruffian from the Scientist's personality. He wields the one half of a scissor and a knife as his weapons. He is a master of his weapons. He is the largest of the group, but is the least intelligent.
  • 7 (Jennifer Connelly) is the fighter part of the Scientist's personality and (possibly) the only female of the group. A rebel and a loner, she is willing to take many risks for the good of her people.
  • 6 (Crispin Glover) is the artistic portion of the Scientist's personality. He sees things that the others in the group don't see. 6's fingers are made of ink pen nibs, which he uses to draw.
  • 5 (John C. Reilly) is the Healer part of the Scientist's personality. 5 is caring, nurturing, and the loyal, bighearted "common man" who always tries to play the peacemaker.
  • 3 and 4 are twins, and the Historians of the group. They are unable to speak, instead using flickering lights in their eyes to communicate with each other and 4 can project images from his/her eyes for the other members of the group. They are very intelligent and energetic.
  • 2 (Martin Landau) is the creative and genius portion of the Scientist's personality. He is a kind, delicate old inventor. He is fascinated by garbage and scrap, and loves to explore the wastelands and look for parts for his inventions.
  • 1 (Christopher Plummer) is the cowardly, arrogant portion of the Scientist's personality. He is the oldest of the group and the leader, demanding absolute loyalty from the others and frequently clashing with 9, who refuses to follow him.

Humans[edit]

  • The Scientist (Alan Oppenheimer) invented the nine creations in an attempt to thwart the corrupt and warlike B.R.A.I.N., hoping that they would continue the spark of life. Each of his creations contains a portion of his human soul, embodying both his qualities and flaws.
  • The Chancellor (Tom Kane) was responsible for causing the Fabrication Machine to turn against humanity.
  • The Radio Announcer (Fred Tatasciore)
  • The Newscaster (Helen Wilson)

Machines[edit]

  • The Cat Beast is the first machine that 9 encounters, and the main antagonist of the original short film 9. It was the last active machine in the world until the reactivation of the Fabrication Machine. With a gait somewhere between a lion and a monkey, it has spines on its back, a cat skull for a head, a red mechanical eye in its left socket and a light bulb in its right, which it uses to see in the dark.
  • The Fabrication Machine/B.R.A.I.N. (Binary Reactive Artificially Intelligent Neurocircuit) is the machine that built all the machines. It was designed by the Scientist as an A.I. for use by the Chancellor.
  • The Winged Beast is a pterodactyl-like machine constructed by the Fabrication Machine to hunt down the creations. It has knives and scissors for a mouth, four small red eyes around its "head", a tarp or flag for its bat-like wings, and a harpoon on the end of its tail. Several human bones appear to be integrated into its structure. It can fly through a combination of its wings and an electric fan in its body. In battle, it uses the blades on its head, the claws on its wings, or its harpoon tail, which can be fired and retracted at will.
  • The Seamstress is a cobra-like robot designed by the Fabrication Machine to capture the Scientist's other creations; it is also its most formidable warrior. Its serpentine body bears numerous spindly metal limbs that end in a variety of claws, scissors, needles and blades. Spools of red thread are attached to its back, and 2's lifeless body is attached to its tail. Its head is a mixture of a skull and a broken doll mask with a requisite red mechanical eye hidden by the black fabric of its body, surrounded by smaller limbs that can spread the fabric to reveal its face. It flashes light through 2's eyes to hypnotize its victims, immobilizes them with its thread, and binds them in its own body to take back to the Fabrication Machine.
  • Seekers are large hot air balloon-like machines with searchlights and alarms similar to air-raid sirens that scout around the factory.
  • Spiderbots are small tarantula-like robots that are made by the Fabrication Machine to repopulate the humanless world.
  • Steel Behemoths are large, two-legged machines built by the Fabrication Machine as autonomous weapons. They formed the bulk of the Chancellor's army during the new war; this decision backfired on humanity when the Fabrication Machine went rogue, as its behemoths were already spread across the world and could begin their mass extermination of all life. They are visually similar to the tripods from The War of the Worlds. They are fast for their size, and use powerful machine guns that can penetrate concrete. They can also launch capsules that exude toxic gas. As said by 1, the gas kills all life, including bacteria. They don't seem to be able to kill bacteria higher up in the atmosphere.

Production[edit]

9 was directed by Shane Acker, who also wrote the story based on his previous short film by the same title. The screenplay was written by Pamela Pettler. Acker, a young director, was influenced by Tim Burton who worked with him on this animated feature. It was produced in part by Tim Burton, Timur Bekmambetov and Jim Lemley, and was released on September 9, 2009. Animation began in Luxembourg at Attitude Studio, but subsequently moved to Starz Animation in Toronto, Canada.[5] The film was released by Focus Features. Originally, TriStar Pictures was supposed to release the film with Focus Features, but was later dropped out to distribute Planet 51.[citation needed]

Music[edit]

9: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by Danny Elfman & Deborah Lurie
Released September 1, 2009 (2009-09-01)[6]
Recorded 2008-2009
Genre Film soundtrack
Length 45:68
Label Reprise
Danny Elfman & Deborah Lurie chronology
Terminator Salvation
(2009)
9
(2009)

While the surviving creations are celebrating, "Over the Rainbow", the song from The Wizard of Oz performed by Judy Garland, plays on a 78rpm gramophone record, which was not included in the original motion picture soundtrack to 9. "Welcome Home" by Coheed and Cambria plays in the trailer for the film, with minor censoring, which is included in the soundtrack. The trailer also features an excerpt from "The Captain" by The Knife, which was also not included in the soundtrack. It was only available on iTunes[7] and on Amazon before the film was released 8 days later. It includes the themes created by Danny Elfman, Deborah Lurie's film score and "Welcome Home".

Track listing[edit]

All music composed by Danny Elfman and Deborah Lurie with soundtrack, except "Welcome Home" (lyrics by Claudio Sanchez, music by Coheed and Cambria).

No. Title Length
1. "Introduction"   1:42
2. "Finding Answers"   1:48
3. "Sanctuary"   2:12
4. "Winged Beast"   4:28
5. "Reunion/Searching for Two"   2:12
6. "The Machines"   0:58
7. "Out There"   2:42
8. "Twins"   1:36
9. "Slaying the Beast"   1:21
10. "Return of the Machines"   2:47
11. "Burial"   1:24
12. "Reawakening"   3:10
13. "The Aftermath"   1:41
14. "Confrontation"   1:53
15. "The Seamstress"   2:05
16. "Return to the Workshop"   1:54
17. "The Purpose"   5:20
18. "Release"   4:00
19. "Welcome Home" (performed by Coheed and Cambria) 6:15
Total length:
45:68

Marketing[edit]

On December 25, 2008, a trailer was released on Apple.com that features The Knife's "The Captain" and Coheed and Cambria's "Welcome Home".[8]

The trailer featured several machines: the Cat Beast, a cat-like ambush predator that appeared in the original short film; The Winged Beast, a pterodactyl-like machine with movable blades in its mouth; the Seamstress, a hypnotic serpent; Steel Behemoths, large two-legged machines armed with a machine gun and poison gas missiles which can kill in a matter of seconds; the Fabrication Machine, a cyclopic, spider-like machine with many multi-jointed arms; and Seekers, aerial machines with searchlights.[8] Later trailers also reveal the existence of several small spider-like machines.

Part of the film's marketing strategy was its release date of September 9, 2009 ("9/9/09").

9 is the second animated feature film to be released by Focus Features, the first being Coraline, written & directed by Henry Selick and based on the book by Neil Gaiman. The trailer for 9 preceded Coraline when it was shown in theaters and released on DVD. A second trailer for 9 first appeared on G4's Attack of the Show and was later shown before Land of the Lost. It is an extensive trailer which includes a bit of the background story behind the existence of the creations.

In April 2009, the film's "Scientist" began making journal entries on a Facebook page called "9 Scientist", including essays about each of his nine creations. The "9 Scientist" Facebook page seemingly references events leading up to the release of the film.[9] A viral campaign promotional website for 9 was launched. It shed some light upon the background of the 9 world.[10] Since the work of The Scientist is ultimately responsible for the destruction of mankind, it is of some note that the actor who plays this role, Alan Oppenheimer is the cousin of scientist Robert Oppenheimer, the "Father of the Atomic Bomb".[citation needed]

The film was, although an animated film, rated PG-13 for "violence and scary images". NECA Toys released collectible action figures of 9 and 1.

Video game[edit]

Shortly before the film's release, SkyZone released a mobile game adaptation entitled 9: The Mobile Game for the iPhone and iPod Touch. The plot is similar to the movie's plot, with minor differences. It received mixed reviews.

Reception[edit]

Critical reaction[edit]

9 has received generally mixed to positive reviews, with critics highly praising its visuals, but criticizing its average voice acting, character development and pacing. Based on 181 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an overall "Rotten" approval rating of 56% from critics. The site's consensus reads, "Although its story is perhaps too familiar and less complex than some might wish, 9 is visually spectacular, and director Shane Acker's attention to detail succeeds in drawing viewers into the film's universe."[11] On Metacritic, it currently holds a score of 60 out of 100 indicating mixed or average reviews.[12] Roger Ebert gave the film 3 out of 4 stars, saying it is "beautifully animated and intriguingly unwholesome...nevertheless worth seeing".[13] The general sentiment by critics is that the film is "long on imaginative design but less substantial in narrative."[14] Variety‍ '​s Todd McCarthy says, "In the end, the picture's impact derives mostly from its design and assured execution."[15]

Box office[edit]

Its opening weekend landed it at #2 behind I Can Do Bad All By Myself with approximately $10,740,446 and $15,160,926 for its 5-day opening.[16] As of November 29, 2009, the film has grossed US$48,428,063 worldwide.[1]

Awards and nominations[edit]

  • Honored with the Winsor McCay Award [for career achievement] (producer Tim Burton)
Awards
Award Category Recipient(s) Outcome
Annie Awards
Best Animated Effects in a Feature Production Alexander Feigin Nominated
Best Production Design in a Feature Production Christophe Vacher Nominated
Producers Guild of America Awards Producer of the Year in Animated Motion Picture Nominated
Visual Effects Society Awards Outstanding Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture Ken Duncan, Jinko Gotoh, Daryl Graham, Joe Ksander Nominated
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Best Animated Film Nominated
Motion Picture Sound Editors
Best Sound Editing - Sound Effects, Foley, Dialogue and ADR in an Animation Feature Film Shie Rozow, Pascal Garneau, Denise Thorpe, Jana Vance, Will Files, Jeremy Bowker, Luke Dunn Gielmuda, Jill Purdy (Skywalker Sound) Nominated
Best Sound Editing - Sound Effects, Foley, Music, Dialogue and ADR Animation in a Feature Film Nominated

Home release[edit]

The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray on December 29, 2009, just three-and-a-half months after the film's theatrical release.[17] The DVD and Blu-ray contained special features such as the director Shane Acker's original 2005 short film of the same name, cast interviews, and commentary by the filmmakers.

Sequel[edit]

"I think there is definitely room. I mean, the way we end the film, there is a slight suggestion that it may be a new beginning. And I think we could continue the journey from where we left off and see how these creatures are existing in a world in which the natural environment is coming back and perhaps even threatening them in some way. Do they make the decision to not affect it, or do they try to affect it in some way? And do they still try to hold on to that humanity within them or do they recognize themselves at being machines too and go off on a different trajectory? So there's lots of idea that I think that we could play with and make another story out of."[18]
— Director Shane Acker in an interview with Joblo.com.

Currently no plans for a sequel have been made, but possibilities have been mentioned via the film's DVD commentary. Shane Acker has also mentioned the possibility of a sequel being made because of the lack of darker animated films, claiming that everything is G and PG rated with little to no dark elements. He has said that he will continue to make darker animated films, either doing so with a sequel to 9 or original ideas for future films.[19] Before the theatrical release of the film, director Shane Acker and producer Tim Burton stated they were open for a sequel, depending on how well the film was received.[20] Since the film's release onto DVD, there have been no further mentions of a sequel, with Acker focusing on his latest project Deep.[21]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "9 (2009)". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on 30 November 2009. Retrieved November 29, 2009. 
  2. ^ "Shane Acker's 9". Cartoon Brew. Retrieved 2007-02-15. 
  3. ^ "Strong cast lines up for animated 9.". The Film Asylum. Retrieved March 21, 2007. 
  4. ^ Dennis Michael (July 26, 2005). "Burton Votes for 9". filmstew. Retrieved December 26, 2008. 
  5. ^ "New Starz studio busy on Burton's 9". Playback Magazine. Retrieved September 17, 2007. 
  6. ^ 9: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack on Amazon.com Amazon.com Retrieved September 17, 2014
  7. ^ iTunes - Music - 9 (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) by Danny Elfman & Deborah Lurie iTunes Retrieved September 17, 2014
  8. ^ a b "Apple - Trailers - 9". Apple. Archived from the original on 27 December 2008. Retrieved December 27, 2008. 
  9. ^ "9 Scientist Facebook Page". Focus Features. Retrieved May 27, 2009. 
  10. ^ "9 Experiment Page". Focus Features. Archived from the original on 16 June 2009. Retrieved May 27, 2009. 
  11. ^ "9 (2009)". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on 14 November 2009. Retrieved November 19, 2009. 
  12. ^ "9 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved November 19, 2009. 
  13. ^ Ebert, Roger (2009-09-09). "9". The Daily Mail. Retrieved 2011-03-06. 
  14. ^ Puig, Claudia (September 9, 2009). "9 Movie Reviews". USA Today (Gannett Company). Retrieved September 1, 2009. 
  15. ^ McCarthy, Todd (August 18, 2009). "9 Review". Variety. Archived from the original on November 19, 2009. Retrieved November 19, 2009. 
  16. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for September 11–13, 2009". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2010-08-23. 
  17. ^ "Home Cinema @ The Digital Fix - 9 (R1/US BD) in December". Dvdtimes.co.uk. 2009-10-28. Retrieved 2010-08-23. 
  18. ^ "Shane Acker reveals possible plot for a sequel to 9.". "The Arrow". August 23, 2009. Retrieved January 16, 2013. 
  19. ^ "Shane Acker talks possibility of a sequel to 9.". Alex Billington. September 3, 2009. Retrieved January 16, 2012. 
  20. ^ "Shane Acker says he is open to a sequel to 9.". Perri Nemiroff. September 3, 2009. Retrieved February 21, 2012. 
  21. ^ http://screenrant.com/shane-acker-valve-deep-movie-sandy-178699/

External links[edit]