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Life's a Stitch
That story is written by Mr. Acker, with a screenplay by Pamela Pettler. Expanding his Academy Award-nominated animated short to feature length, Mr. Acker's "9" is long on visual whimsy but short on narrative drive; what the film has in beauty it lacks in story. Such as it is, the story revolves around #9 (voiced by Elijah Wood, in full hobbit-mode), one of the stitch-work creations that populate our decimated planet. After waking in a workshop, #9 explores the outdoors and happens upon others of his ilk (what a coincidence!). No sooner does he befriend the benevolent #2 (Martin Landau) than they are set upon by "The Beast", a lumbering patchwork of bones and noisiness. The Beast carries off #2 and sends #9 on his quest of recovery.
Along the way, #9 runs into #5 (John C. Reilly), the more dimwitted of the bunch, #7 (Jennifer Connelly), a post-feminist action-heroine with a penchant for dramatic rescues, and #1 (Christopher Plummer), the ominous leader with, seemingly, all the answers.
In his quest to rescue #2, #9 comes into contact with The Great Machine, a gigantic red eye that runs the mother of all assembly lines. The walking mechanical nightmares that emerge from the Machine's factory (and resemble the AT-STs from "Return of the Jedi" crossed with the Tripods from "War of the Worlds") caused the decline and fall of our civilization (and earn the film its PG-13 rating). #9 follows the typical hero's journey, making the requisite sacrifices along the way - none of which, through no fault of the glorious animation, hold much weight.
And it's that animation that truly propels "9" beyond your standard computer-generated fare. Mr. Acker has envisioned a world unlike others you've seen. Sure, the post-apocalyptic wasteland has been done to death (ironically) but the stitch-work creatures are an entirely original creation. It's no wonder that "9" sports the producing pedigree of Tim Burton (Timur Bekmambetov is also on board); #9 is a close cousin of Jack Skellington from Mr. Burton's "The Nightmare Before Christmas". The character is also, of course, a kind of steam-punk (or "stitch-punk" as Mr. Acker likes to say) version of "Pinocchio", with a dash of "WALL-E" for flavor. And at a lean 79 minutes, the numbers add up.
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|Summary||Wondrously-imaginative, lightly-plotted fable about the stitch-work creations who outlive humanity in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.|
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