9 (2009 animated film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Shane Acker|
|Screenplay by||Pamela Pettler|
|Story by||Shane Acker|
by Shane Acker
|Music by||Deborah Lurie|
|Cinematography||Kevin R. Adams|
|Edited by||Nick Kenway|
|Distributed by||Focus Features|
|Box office||$48.4 million|
9 is a 2009 American computer-animated post-apocalyptic science fiction film directed by Shane Acker, written by Pamela Pettler, and produced by Jim Lemley, Dana Ginsburg, 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.
The film is based on Acker's Academy Award-nominated 2005 short film/student project of the same name, created at the UCLA Animation Workshop . Focus Features released it theatrically on September 9, 2009. It received generally mixed reviews from critics and earned $48.4 million on a $30 million budget. It also received an Annie Award nomination for Best Animated Effects in a Feature Production. The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray on December 29, 2009.
In Germany, 1930, a scientist (Alan Oppenheimer) is ordered by his dictator (Tom Kane) to create a robot in the apparent name of progress. The scientist uses his own intellect to create the B.R.A.I.N, a highly intelligent robot without a soul. Upon completion, however, the dictator quickly seizes it and turns 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 decides to exterminate all of Earth's population. The Fabrication Machine reprograms the other war machines to attack humanity, wiping out all plant, animal and microbial life with toxic gas and chemical weapons. On the verge of destruction, the scientist uses alchemy to create nine homunculus-like rag dolls known as "stitchpunks", giving them portions of his own soul via a talisman he created. He dies upon completion of the final doll.
Some time later, the final stitchpunk, 9 (Elijah Wood), awakens in the scientist's workshop. Taking the talisman with him, 9 ventures into the devastated city and meets 2 (Martin Landau), a frail inventor who gives him a working voice box and is surprised to see the talisman. The last active machine, the Cat-Beast, attacks the pair and abducts both 2 and the talisman. 9 collapses, but awakens in Sanctuary, the tower of a dilapidated cathedral that is home to other Stitchpunks: the dogmatic leader 1 (Christopher Plummer), his large bodyguard 8 (Fred Tatasciore), the cycloptic engineer 5 (John C. Reilly), and the mentally unstable oracle 6 (Crispin Glover). 1 immediately declares 2 as dead, but 9, having seen the condemned factory where the Cat-Beast took him, decides to rescue him. 9 and 5 venture to the factory where they find 2. The Cat-Beast attacks the trio, but are saved by the warrior 7 (Jennifer Connolly). 9, drawn by curiosity, connects the talisman to the derelict Fabrication Machine, reviving it, and it subsequently kills 2 by sucking out his soul. 9, 5, and 7 manage to escape the factory.
7 takes 9 and 5 to an abandoned 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 intervenes and reprimands them for disobeying his orders. Meanwhile, the Fabrication Machine assembles new robotic creatures; one of them, the bird-like Winged Beast, attacks Sanctuary, leading to a battle between it and the stitchpunks. The stitchpunks win, defeating the Winged Beast, but lose their safehouse due to a fire caused during the battle.
As the group retreats to the library, 6, 3, and 4 cryptically explain the talisman's origins. Meanwhile, the Fabrication Machine retrieves 2's corpse and uses it as a hypnotic lure for another one of its robot creatures, the snake-like Seamstress. The Seamstress attacks the library and captures both 7 and 8, but 2's body is recovered and given a funeral by the others. The stitchpunks then run to the factory to destroy the machines. As part of their plan, 9 goes in alone, kills the Seamstress, and rescues 7, but not before 8's soul is absorbed by the Fabrication Machine. 9 and 7 then escape while the others destroy the factory.
The stitchpunks celebrate the destruction of the factory, but the Fabrication Machine, which survived, suddenly emerges from the ruins of the factory and absorbs 5's soul. The Fabrication Machine attacks the group as they run away, and finally captures 6, who is absorbed, but not before telling 9 to go to the scientist's workshop to find answers. 9 follows 6's instructions, finding a holographic recorded message from the scientist, explaining the origins of the B.R.A.I.N, and that the Stitchpunks have his soul, making them the only hope for humanity. Following this revelation, 9 returns to his friends.
9 reunites with the other stitchpunks and decides to sacrifice himself so the others can retrieve the talisman. Having had a change of heart, 1 redeems himself by saving 9, pushing him out of the way and allowing himself to be absorbed while 9 removes the talisman. 9 activates the talisman and reabsorbs the souls taken by the Machine, resulting in its final destruction. Afterwards, 9, 7, 3, and 4 free the souls of 5, 1, 6, 2, and 8 from the talisman. Bidding farewell to their friends, they fly up into the sky. Rain then falls from the sky, the raindrops containing small flecks of glowing bacteria, bringing life back into the world.
- Elijah Wood as 9
- Christopher Plummer as 1
- Martin Landau as 2
- John C. Reilly as 5
- Crispin Glover as 6
- Jennifer Connelly as 7
- Fred Tatasciore as 8 and a Radio Announcer
- Alan Oppenheimer as the Scientist
- Thomas Kane as the Chancellor
- 1 (Christopher Plummer) is the cowardly, arrogant portion of the Scientist's personality. He is the self-appointed leader of the group, demanding absolute loyalty from the others and frequently clashing with 9, who refuses to follow him. He is seen to be quite rude, lacking guilt for his actions when the others do not do as he's asked.
- 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.
- 3 and 4 are twins, and the historians of the group and parts of the Scientist's personality. They are unable to speak, instead using flickering lights in their eyes to communicate with each other. They project images from their eyes to share information with the other Stitchpunks. They are very intelligent and energetic. They were found alongside 5 by 7 during a battle between man and machine. Their genders are unknown and never revealed throughout the movie.
- 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. He is seen as the most frightened by the situation, as shown throughout the movie. He lost an eye during a battle between man and machine after 7 found him with 3 and 4. Despite being afraid of conflict, he is skilled with his weapons of choice and is seen to mend the other members of the group when they are hurt.
- 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. His eyes are disproportionate in size, possibly to represent his mental instability.
- 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. She seems very attached to 3 and 4 and acts as a mother or older sister figure to them.
- 8 (Fred Tatasciore) is the brutish ruffian from the Scientist's personality. He is a master of weapons and wields one half of a scissor and a knife. He is the largest of the group, but the least intelligent. He is also responsible for protecting 1 as seen in a battle with the winged metal monster.
- 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.
- The Scientist (Alan Oppenheimer) invented the nine creations to fight the Fabrication Machine, 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 after refusing to honor the Scientist's deal during the creation of the Fabrication Machine.
- The Cat Beast is the first machine that 9 finds. 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 other 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 a cross between the Tripods from The War of the Worlds and the smaller Walkers from Star Wars. 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.
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 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, Ontario, Canada. 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.
|9: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack|
|Soundtrack album by Danny Elfman and Deborah Lurie|
|Released||September 1, 2009|
|Danny Elfman and Deborah Lurie chronology|
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 fanfiction 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 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".
|5.||"Reunion/Searching for Two"||2:12|
|9.||"Slaying the Beast"||1:21|
|10.||"Return of the Machines"||2:47|
|16.||"Return to the Workshop"||1:54|
|19.||"Welcome Home" (performed by Coheed and Cambria)||6:15|
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". 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. 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 and 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. A viral campaign promotional website for 9 was launched. It shed some light upon the background of the 9 world.
Although it was an animated film, 9 was rated PG-13 for "violence and scary images". NECA Toys released collectible action figures of 9 and 1.
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.
9 has received generally mixed reviews; critics praised its animation, visuals and tone but criticized its average voice acting, lack of character development, and pacing. Based on 182 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an overall approval rating of 57%, the critical consensus stating: "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." On Metacritic, it currently holds a score of 60 out of 100 indicating mixed or average reviews. Roger Ebert gave the film 3 out of 4 stars, saying it is "beautifully animated and intriguingly unwholesome… nevertheless worth seeing". The general sentiment by critics is that the film is "long on imaginative design but less substantial in narrative." Variety's Todd McCarthy says, "In the end, the picture's impact derives mostly from its design and assured execution."
Awards and nominations
- Honored with the Winsor McCay Award [for career achievement] (producer Tim Burton)
|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 media release
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. 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.
|"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."|
|— Director Shane Acker in a 2009 interview with Joblo.com.|
No plans for a sequel have been made, but possibilities were mentioned via the film's 2009 DVD commentary. Director 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. In 2009 he said that he will continue to make darker animated films, either doing so with a sequel to 9 or original ideas for future films. Before the theatrical release of the film, Acker and producer Tim Burton stated they were open for a sequel, depending on how well the film was received. Since the film's home release, there have been no further mentions of a sequel, with Acker focusing on projects announced in 2012 (Deep) and 2013 (Beasts of Burden), neither of which have been released as of December 2017.
However, despite the silence from Acker, in January 2017, the Facebook profile of the character "the Scientist" was updated with a rather cryptic message. The profile had been inactive since 2009, leading some to speculate the teasing of a sequel.
- List of American films of 2009
- 9 (2005 film) – The original short film on which 9 is based.
- Rag doll
- "9". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. Retrieved August 27, 2017.
- "9 (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. August 21, 2009. Retrieved September 24, 2015.
- "9 (2009)". Allmovie. Retrieved November 3, 2015.
- "9 (2009)". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on November 30, 2009. Retrieved November 29, 2009.
- "Shane Acker's 9". Cartoon Brew. Retrieved 2007-02-15.
- "Strong cast lines up for animated 9". The Film Asylum. Retrieved March 21, 2007.
- Dennis Michael (July 26, 2005). "Burton Votes for 9". filmstew. Retrieved December 26, 2008.
- "New Starz studio busy on Burton's 9". Playback Magazine. Retrieved September 17, 2007.
- 9: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack on Amazon.com Amazon.com Retrieved September 17, 2014
- iTunes - Music - 9 (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) by Danny Elfman & Deborah Lurie iTunes Retrieved September 17, 2014
- "Apple - Trailers - 9". Apple. Archived from the original on December 27, 2008. Retrieved December 27, 2008.
- "9 Scientist Facebook Page". facebook.com. Focus Features. Retrieved May 27, 2009.
- "9 Experiment Page". 9experiment.com. Focus Features. Archived from the original on June 16, 2009. Retrieved May 27, 2009.
- "9 (2009)". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on November 14, 2009. Retrieved November 19, 2009.
- "9 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved November 19, 2009.
- Ebert, Roger (2009-09-09). "9". The Daily Mail. Retrieved 2011-03-06.
- Puig, Claudia (September 9, 2009). "9 Movie Reviews". USA Today. Gannett Company. Retrieved September 1, 2009.
- McCarthy, Todd (August 18, 2009). "9 Review". Variety. Archived from the original on November 19, 2009. Retrieved November 19, 2009.
- "Weekend Box Office Results for September 11–13, 2009". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2010-08-23.
- "Home Cinema @ The Digital Fix - 9 (R1/US BD) in December". Dvdtimes.co.uk. 2009-10-28. Retrieved 2010-08-23.
- "Shane Acker reveals possible plot for a sequel to 9". joblo.com. "The Arrow". August 23, 2009. Retrieved January 16, 2013.
- "Shane Acker talks possibility of a sequel to 9". firstshowing.net. Alex Billington. September 3, 2009. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
- "Shane Acker says he is open to a sequel to 9". Cinema Blend. Perri Nemiroff. September 3, 2009. Retrieved February 21, 2012.
- Arrant, Chris (August 6, 2012). "Director Shane Acker ("9"), Ireland's Brown Bag Films, Producer Gregory R. Little and Author J. Barton Mitchell Launch Animated Undersea Adventure Film "Deep"". Cartoon Brew.com. Retrieved December 5, 2016.
- Lesnick, Silas (February 20, 2013). "Shane Acker to Direct Beasts of Burden". ComingSoon.net. Retrieved December 5, 2016.
- "The light has faintly flickered on again beneath the ashes and I have begun the long awaited search for hope... I must find 9". facebook.com. January 20, 2017. Retrieved November 30, 2017.
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