9 (Blu-ray)


Buy this DVD at Amazon.com

Rating: PG-13

Elijah Wood as the voice of 9
Martin Landau as the voice of 2
John C. Reilly as the voice of 5
Christopher Plummer as the voice of 1
Fred Tatasciore as the voice of 8/Radio Announcer
Jennifer Connelly as the voice of 7
Crispin Glover as the voice of 6
Alan Oppenheimer as the voice of The Scientist
Tom Kane as the voice of The Dictator

Directed by Shane Acker

Special Features:
“9” – The Long And Short Of It
The Look Of “9”
Acting Out
Deleted Scenes
“9”: The Original Short
Feature Commentary

Blu-ray Exclusive:
– On Tour With Shane Acker

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.85:1)
DTS-HD MA 5.1 Surround Sound
Spanish and French Language
Spanish and French Subtitles
Running Time: 80 Minutes

The Details:
The following is the official description of the film:

“From visionary filmmakers Tim Burton (‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’) and Timur Bekmambetov (‘Wanted’) and Academy Award®-nominated director Shane Acker comes this visually stunning and original epic adventure. In the final days of humanity, a dedicated scientist gives the spark of life to nine of his creations. The world has turned into an unrecognizable landscape of machines and spare parts, but this group of nine finds that if they band together, their small community might just be able to change the course of history. Featuring the voice talents of Elijah Wood, John C. Reilly, Jennifer Connelly and Crispin Glover, it’s a thrilling, suspenseful story.”

“9” is rated PG-13 for violence and scary images.

I missed “9” in theaters, but was pleasantly surprised to discover it on Blu-ray. It features an amazing post-apocalyptic world from some alternate Earth. Robots have destroyed some unknown European-looking dictatorship. Amid ruined cathedrals and factories are spread the remains of robots and weapons of war. It’s quite an amazing setting. The robots are stunning, too. You have the burlap covered nine robots. Everything from their eyes to their hands to their cobbled together gadgetry is amazingly designed. They give the characters a lot of personality above and beyond your typical robots. But the evil robots are no less impressive. Adorned with cat skulls, sharp claws, and hypnotic strobe lights, they’re enough to put the scare in anyone and give the movie a PG-13 rating.

Beyond the production design, there’s some pretty impressive action in here. The battles with the cat, bird, and snake robots are very cool. The scenes where the nine robots face off against the lead octopus-like robot will have you holding your breath. There’s a lot here to impress action fans.

The names of Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov are emblazoned on the cover, but this is really Shane Acker’s movie. Based on a short he did for a college thesis, “9” retains a lot of the look and feel of that original Academy Award-nominated film. It’s really a very impressive accomplishment and should be inspiration to any aspiring animators.

I think “9” had a couple of problems that kept it from being a major success. The first is that it was too scary for kids, so that eliminated a big portion of its paying audience. That meant that they had to rely entirely on under-30 men for money, and for whatever reason they didn’t show up. The second issue is that the story gets a bit abstract at the end as the ‘spirits’ of the robots are absorbed and released. It is a bit hard to follow even for the most savvy audiences and it’s not all that exciting.

If you’re a fan of animation or if you like movies with amazing production design, then I think “9” is a movie that you’re really going to want to check out. Action fans will find a lot here to like, too. This is the kind of movie that could potentially get a cult following on Blu-ray bigger than it ever had in theaters.

You’ll find a pretty good selection of bonus features here, even if they are pretty standard. You get a variety of “making of” featurettes showing how it was created, interviews with cast and crew, and other such stuff. The interesting part is hearing about how the movie originated as a thesis for Acker. The best item among the bonus features is the actual original “9” short film. You start to appreciate how much of that original short was retained in the theatrical version. A few deleted scenes are also included among the extras, and the Blu-ray has a feature showing Acker giving a tour of the animation studio.