9 is one of 9 dolls that was given life after everything else is dead except for horrible robots. It’s also the attempt of Shane Acker, the writer, director, and visual effects artist, to create a successful American animated movie for adults. I’m not certain how well it did in theaters. But it is probably the best animated movie I’ve seen directed towards grown-ups that wasn’t anime. Despite this, it’s not the most complicated of stories. It has some really impressive visuals and action sequences, and some damn good voice acting, but outside of laying down some weird rules concerning human souls and robots, it doesn’t really provide anything about what it really means to be human.
Okay, the characters are dolls, for one thing, but they’re all basically human beings. You could replace every one of them with a person and have just another post-apocalyptic story. There’s some threat you have to hide from, there’s some challenge you have to face, and if you survive said challenge, the world is still over. You have even more challenges to face tomorrow. It’s the same here, except I’m even less invested in it because everyone is a doll. It seems like they can’t even feel pain outside of emotional pain when their friends “die,” if you can even call it that. Part of me wonders if this is just to keep it PG-13, as American studios know that R-rated cartoons just don’t sell in America. Of course, it probably doesn’t help that all American, R-rated cartoons are terrible.
There’s a few moments in this film where the voice-acting really stands out. It’s too bad there’s no awards for voice acting, but there really should be I think. It made me feel the humanity of the dolls, which made things better. I feel this movie wouldn’t have worked as well as it did if it wasn’t for the talents of Elijah Wood, John C. Reilly, Christopher Plummer, and Jennifer Connelly.
Why you should watch it before you die: If you like animation or anime and would like to see an adult-themed animated movie that doesn’t totally suck, then check this one out. Also, a reason why we should add the Best Voice Acting category to the academy awards.
+6.5: Not as good as GotG
+.5: impressive visuals
+1: Great voice acting
-1: Story is nothing special