It’s been a rough week. So I’m going to have to keep this review short.
You ever watch a film that leaves you feeling completely…shaken? Like not necessarily disturbed. But you watch it and feel like your worldview is completely upended. That’s 9. Like this is a film that many people in the animation fandom recognize as brillaint, but it’s gone severly underappreciated elsewhere.
And that’s just sad.
This movie is about nine sentient rag dolls, who are fighting for survival in a post apocalyptic world. The movie is focused around the youngest doll, only known as 9, who awakens in a workshop next to a dead human body. He journeys out into the world where he meets the other dolls, known as stitchpunks.
They must get together to defeat the few living machines, also shown to be created by the deceased scientist, for one reason or another.
It sounds like a simple plot, but it’s full of interesting twists and turns and tidbits. Besides the fact that the deceased scientist is kind of the catalyst for the whole world being destroyed (though not through his own fault), he’s not purely a scientist. The stitchpunks each have bits of soul (like horcruxes only not evil) which probably explains why he died after finishing 9 and left them a message explaining they’re humanity’s last hope.
The ending is uplifting, though also quite melacholy and doesn’t completely solve the problem at hand. Which is good. Most of the characters don’t make it through to the end, and the few that do are expected to rebuild the destroyed world.
What’s surprising is that this movie is actually based off of a short with the same premise; the movie greatly expands the roles of the characters and the world at hand. It’s utterly fascinating, and I love how things aren’t left completely explained. All the important stuff is given some detail; but we’re just left with just enough to satisfy our needs while watching the show, while providing ample amounts of fanfic fuel.
And while some of the more background stitchpunks like 3 and 4, have one note personalities, those that we get to see more like 1, 7 and 9 are more complex. And have their own small character arcs.
What I adore about this movie is that it’s one of the earliest examples of American animation that I remembered that used it’s stregnths as a medium to portray and intense and adult story without resorting to sex, violence and political satire.
And I’m pretty sure that’s why it got ignored because in the coldest take in the history of the world; animation is thought of as a children’s genre in America and not its own medium, despite it doing things a lot better than live action cause it can actually create fascinating and in-depth fictional worlds
Something that Japan understood long ago, and that despite adults enjoying old Disney movies and there being more than enough jokes that appeal to audiences, many don’t realize that this was done on purpose,
To show that anybody can enjoy cartoons.
But it’s movies like 9 that show that cartoons can be for adults and can be specifically for adults and not just family fare..
I know this isn’t my best review, but it’s been a busy week and this coming week and I’m still just trying to put these out.
It’s hard, my dudes.
But that’s the scoop.
Length: 79 minutes
Director and Story by: Shane Acker
Producers: Jim Lemley, Tim Burton, Timur Bekmambetov, and Dana Ginsburg
Screenplay by Pamela Pettler
If you like this review read: Rio 2096