Directed by Shane Acker
Produced by Tim Burton
Guest Review by Becki Pearson
This movie is about 9 characters that are living in a world where machines have taken over and destroyed all of mankind. That sentence in itself brings up some questions. The biggest being - what exactly are they? We can only assume they are robots because they were made by a human, but nothing about them is really that technologically advanced. They don’t have any special powers and they definitely weren’t any smarter than humans were - they just look like scared rag dolls. After accepting their unexplained species, another question arises - why didn’t their creator make them bigger? In the beginning of the movie, the viewers don’t understand the purpose why they were created, but even after you do understand, the issue still stands. You would think if he created them to last for all time he would make them at least one foot tall or more. Just seems a little inconvenient and challenging that the 9 are almost smaller than a human hand.
Throughout the movie, the 9’s motivation and will power seemed very episodic and the plot was solely dependent on problems to occur. The same cycle appeared three times in the movie - a new machine was after them (“beasts” as they were referred to), they defeated it by sheer luck, celebrated, and then a new beast appears. I understand that problems have to occur in order for the story to continue, but after watching it three times, with miniscule changes in each, it got to the point where I didn’t even care if they won or not. What did they have to live for anyway? In a world where everything is shattered and broken, how else could they find happiness? I mean, how many times can you listen to “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” on a half-broken record player and actually find true contentment?
We find of that in the story of 9, the scientist that created them put a little bit of his soul into each of them so they could come together and save the world in the end. Placing sections of your soul into another thing to ensure the longevity of its life… some could argue that the creator himself wanted to live through the 9 characters...sounds oddly like J. K. Rowling’s Horcruxes, does it not? So, comparing the two films with the Harry Potter knowledge that all the Horcruxes had to be found in order to successfully use them, I was very confused when only 4 out of the 9 characters lived and would eventually change the world. If all of them weren’t important, if some of them died but the remaining could still succeed, why were so many of them made?
A friend that saw the movie with me said that the creator must have thought rather highly of himself if he thought that he could save the world single-handedly. With that being true, why wouldn’t he give ANY instructions to the 9 characters he created? Maybe that’s a true lesson to be learned in the movie- all that stuff about learning how that overcoming struggles on your own makes you a better person...yada yada yada. Wouldn’t it just have been easier for the creator to leave a manual of all the steps that would help them along the way of saving the world? The creator obviously thought about this for a long enough period of time to place his own personalities into little dolls, I don’t see why the instructions are that much more of a stretch.
I was impressed, however, with the cast they chose for the personalities of the 9. The cast includes:
(1) Christopher Plummer, the cranky and extremely stubborn old leader
(2) Martin Landau, an elderly engineer
( (3 and 4) Twins that never speak but hold all the records and documents of the past
(5) John C. Reilly, some cool friend of 9 that is really good with tools
(6) Crispin Glover, the artist of the group that is really creepy and keeps repeating himself
(7) Jennifer Connelly, the fearless fighter of the group
(8) serves as 1’s bodyguard
(9) Elijah Wood, who questions all actions and messes up everything because he couldn’t stop trying to be the leader
I have some problems with the characters. If they were all representing different parts of the creator, when why were they all so alike? Each doll was opinionated and had their own way of thinking. 9 strongly disagreed with the ideas of 1, 6 kept saying what needed to be done but no one would pay attention, 7 didn’t want to listen to anyone, 5 didn’t seem to want to do anything because he was a little pansy, 8 just seemed to be a place holder. 3 and 4 were the only characters that I thought were actually original. They had done extensive research and documented all aspects of the past that they could. This only proves that the creator was mentally unstable, or that I just completely missed the story’s reasoning.
It would be interesting to hear a kid’s point of view on this movie. There wasn’t a lot of comedic relief in the film and the characters seemed kind of hard to relate to. Maybe it was because they only had a few chances for character development, but I certainly had no emotional connection towards the 9 characters. Like I said before, I ended up not caring if they won or if they died.
I would pick Spielberg’s War of The Worlds over this one any day.