Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Shane Acker's 9 is well and truly impressive. Not the best movie of the year for me (that's a tossup between District 9, Coraline and The Hangover--and I haven't seen The Hurt Locker yet), but plain and simple, 9 is worth seeing simply because it's something NEW.
I guess I'm ripping off Peter Jackson a little here, who defended District 9 by saying "it's nice to see some creativity in Hollywood" but... IT'S NICE TO SEE SOME CREATIVITY IN HOLLYWOOD. 9 isn't based off of a book or comic book, it isn't a sequel, and it isn't a remake of a 1970s or 1980s TV series.
Shane Acker thought it up all by himself, and at seems like that's hard to come by in Hollywood these days. Long story short, tiny automaton rag dolls fight machines in a post-apocalyptic future--think The Secret of Nym meets The Matrix. It's basically a good old fashioned fantasy quest... Newcomer defies the old status quo, awakens an evil force, fights the evil force, and finds out more about himself and his friends, and their origin, along the way.
And along the way we see some VERY cool stuff. A whole lot of steampunk inspired things (steampunk fans will know what I mean right in the opening montage), with a dash of cyberpunk--but what impresses even more than the characters and the action is the amazing visuals given by the nightmarish world they're in--some of them look absolutely stunning.
I also like that it's a nice manageable length. I used to think, starting with The Lord of the Rings trilogy, that sitting through a 3-hour movie was "getting my money's worth." Oftentimes since then, though, I've realized that most (MOST) movies that long are just too damn bulky and make me want to go home and crawl into bed about halfway through.
9 is only 91 minutes long, but it never feels rushed, and the action, characters and visuals, not to mention the originality, make you ignore the small plot problems with the origins of the characters or the explanation behind the hero's solution at the end of the movie. It's just plain fun to watch.
9 out of 10.