Is irony at work here or what?
Two controversial films based on excellent short features are released in the same year and both have the number nine in their titles. And both should have remained critically-acclaimed short films because neither has enough substance to be a full-length motion-picture.
The irony continues. Both Shane Acker — who does 9 and District 9‘s Neill Blomkamp are rising digital animation stars whose first solo efforts are iffy at best.
Acker’s 9 was released on Wednesday. Who can resist sending 9 out in 09-09-09? District 9 has earned more than $100 million and is still packing them in at the box office.
9 is set in the future where intelligent machines are created to serve. Something goes wrong. Perverted by a Big Brother-like dictator, the machines rebel and go to war with humans and destroy us all. What’s left of humanity is found in the souls of tiny gunny sack toy figures numbered one through nine. They — too — are hunted by the machines.
Number 9 is the last to wake up. He finds a special button identified by #2 as something very important. A flying insect-like machine grabs #2 and the button and flies off to a giant factory. Eventually all of the toy creatures follow and there they get clues as to what happened to humanity, their purpose and their fate.
The much-bragged about animation techniques are as mortal as the wiped out humans. They are nothing special, and neither is Acker’s story and Monster House co-writer Pamela Pettler’s additional scripting.
9 is “The Terminator” on ritalin. It is loaded with adult themes but really aimed at kids. And — more irony here — it is the perfect flick for a nine-year old boy.
Mr. Movie rating: 2 1/2 stars
Rated PG-13 for mature themes and some frightening scenes. It opened Wednesday, Sept. 9 at the Carmike 12.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.