The Horror Honeys: When Our World Ended, Their Mission Began...

When Our World Ended, Their Mission Began...

A Sci-Fi Honey 1.0 Classic Review by Jen

9 (2009)

I have been wanting to see this movie since it came out in 2009 – but somehow it just never happened for me. I can’t even say why, because Post-Apocalyptic Sci-Fi is my bread and butter, as you may have gleaned by now from previous reviews, and I effing LOVE animated movies, so the combo is unbeatable for me.  Finally this week, with Hallowe’en looming, I decided that 9’s time had finally arrived.

The basics:  Prior to the events of the film (shown in flashbacks), a Scientist is ordered by a Dictator (who looks pretty WWII Nazi-style) to create a machine. The Scientist uses his own intellect to create the B.R.A.I.N., a thinking robot. However, the Dictator (as Dictators do) seizes it, and integrates it into the Fabrication Machine, a giant ‘Machine-making machine’ created to construct an army of war machines to destroy the dictator's enemies. Lacking a soul (as machines do) the Fabrication Machine is corrupted, and exterminates all organic life using toxic gas. The Scientist then uses alchemy to create nine rag dolls known as Stitchpunks, with each doll holding a portion of his own soul imparted via a talisman.  The Scientist dies upon finishing the last one, aptly named 9.

The movie primarily focuses on the doll ‘9’, from his awakening in the shop to his attempts -with the help of the remaining others of his kind he bands together with – to rescue captives and destroy the Fabrication Machine.

Produced by the awesome Tim Burton, you can see his influence all over this film.  The characters, the background, the machines; absolutely beautiful. The animation is excellent.  The story isn't super complex, it IS a PG-13 movie. However, I have to say that 9 was disturbing enough in a couple of places that if I saw this at age 12, I might have been a bit scarred, for reals.

For example, let’s take The Seamstress. It’s a cobra-like robot designed by the Fabrication Machine to capture the Stitchpunks, and it’s one of the all-time creepiest things I’ve ever seen in an animation. Or any movie, really. Its head is a mixture of a skull and a broken doll mask with a red glowing eye, and the head is initially hidden by the fabric of its body, and surrounded by smaller limbs that can spread the fabric to reveal its face. It has a dead Stitchpunk body for a tail, which it uses to attract victims who think it’s a live friend of theirs. It flashes light through the dead Stitchpunk’s eyes to hypnotize its victims, immobilizes them with thread, and binds them inside its own body to take back to the Fabrication Machine.  I actually said “Hhhhholyyyyyyy Fuuuuuuuckkkk, that’s fucked up.” Out loud in my living room.

Seriously I might never have slept again if I were 12. Or I might have started doing drugs.

I have to say that despite the simplicity of the plot, I loved this movie.  The visually stunning Stitchpunk style is fantastic. I enjoyed the feel of the movie, the Tim Burton-esque weirdness, the darkness mixed with cute that he does so well. A couple of times I actually said ‘Wow that’s beautiful’ to some of the background; it really was a treat for the eyes.  I don’t know if I’d let a young kid watch it, despite the PG-13 rating (and I don’t even HAVE kids), and that might be the weak point to me – don’t write a plot/characters/dialogue for a 12 year old, and then have the movie contain content that is really more appropriate for people older than that.  Usually movies make the dialogue smarter (a la Bugs Bunny) to keep the adults interested, and make the characters cuter for the kids. This movie did the opposite.  I’m not sure which audience they were really after, but they took a chance of alienating both sides making it like that.  It worked for me though.

Sci-Fi Honey says: This movie is full of action, stuff blowing up, melancholy, moody backgrounds, hope, suspense, beautiful animation, fucking creepy shit, cute little characters, and post-apocalyptic goodness - it hit all my sweet spots. I wish I’d seen it sooner. 9 will definitely be on my go-to Hallowe’en list from now on.