A burlap doll comes alive only to discover that his maker is dead and that a war between mankind and machines has turned the world into a desolate place… but there are others like him. He was Oscar-nominated for the short film 9 in 2006 and this is director Shane Acker’s expanded feature version. Not for children, this well-paced computer-animated dystopia is not afraid of using death as a theme in the battle between the good and evil creations of a scientist who lent his services to the dictatorship that helped start the apocalyptic war. The darkness is offset by some of the dolls who are both kind-hearted and heroic. The script is formulaic, but the animation topnotch.
2009-U.S. Animated. 79 min. Color. Produced by Tim Burton, Timur Bekmambetov, Dana Ginsburg, Jinko Gotoh, Jim Lemley. Story and direction by: Shane Acker. Screenplay: Pamela Pettler. Voices of Elijah Wood (9), John C. Reilly (5), Jennifer Connelly (7), Christopher Plummer, Crispin Glover, Martin Landau.
Last word: “I come from an architectural background, and as well I’m a sculptor and a woodworker, so I love the way things come together in the detail. And one of the concepts that we had on the film, was that everything that was in the world could be built and be in our real world, so we wanted a real tactile quality to it. The world is made up of little pieces of things left over, so how do you recombine those in a creative way, to create these characters and creatures? And then we’d take trips out to these junkyards here in LA, and go and get bags and bags of junk, and take them back to the studio and look at them, and use that to inspire us, and find little ideas in that.” (Acker, Den of Geek)