I finally got around to watching 9. That's 9, not Nine.
Ahem. Anyway. A little plot outline is necessary here. At least, it was for me, because, even though 9 is five years old, I went into it knowing almost nothing at all about it. I knew it was animated and it involved this little hackysack dudes, but I didn't really know anything else.
Like that it's a post-apocalyptic movie. Yeah. Did not know that. It's an interesting world they've created (er, destroyed?) here, too. During the movie, we learn that it was a standard "machines gone mad" world. The imagery of the pre-fall world makes it look like the nation in question was... well... the Soviets by any other name. Sure, they're using different iconography, and nobody actually uses the words, but, well, "The Chancellor" has certain similarities.
Anyway, we have the classic "good science twisted" motif where The Scientist's creation, an intelligent, self-replicating robot, is used for militaristic means. This leads to massive amounts of war and, eventually, the robots turning on man and wiping out all life.
All life. The toxins used by the machines even wiped out bacterial life on the surface, leaving the world sterile. Also, somehow, the machines were deactivated in all this. It's never really explained what happened to them, but there's really no life of any kind left. You have the stitchpunks (our hacky sack dolls) and a catlike robot monster thing.
Our story focuses on the titular 9, the last stitchpunk created by the Scientist before his death. He's a bit of a naive prat, to be honest. This movie is certainly a case where the supporting characters are more interesting than the main character. Hell, even 8, the dumbass brute was more enjoyable than 9. Maybe it's because 9 is voiced by Elijah Wood. When Elijah's being earnest, you just want to pop him in the nose.
Aside from Elijah Wood, there are problems with this film. While it's absolutely gorgeous to look at, the plot is weak and elements of it are far too metaphysical for my tastes. When the story started, it was great. I was totally sucked in. A little past the half way point, the wheels started to fall off. Which, honestly, isn't terribly surprising. Reading up on the short film this was based on, the great parts were mostly retreads of the original short. It's when the story expanded that the problems start to crop up. Not just the stuff with the souls, but the fact that events in the movie require people to be damnable idiots. Perhaps it's because of how the stitchpunks were created, but it's still pretty weak, and it's frustrating watching things being stretched out because someone did something stupid. Especially when the movie's only about 80 minutes long to begin with.
Still, it's beautiful to look at. The blasted world looks great. I'm glad I saw it, flaws and all.