‘9’: Been there, done that

Film review

Protagonist “9” faces a “Matrix”-like foe in the watchable-enough but highly derivative animated film “9,” which bears the stamp of approval of Tim Burton, whose films “9” resembles.

Hmmm. You know, maybe I can make this film review short and sweet and just list nine movies that the Tim-Burt0n-produced movie “9” reminds me of:

  • “Edward Scissorhands” (scientist/inventor creates his own offspring)
  • The “Terminator” films (with the theme of machines taking over the planet; also, in the first “Terminator” film you think that the bad ‘bot is dead when he isn’t)
  • “The Matrix” (ditto with the machines-taking-over theme and perhaps especially the squid-like “sentinels” that resemble the bad ’bots in “9”; also, “9’s” namesake hero and “The Matrix’s” hero, Neo, are a lot alike in that they’re both post-apocalyptic saviors)
  • “Toy Story” (I think especially of that spider creature with the maimed doll’s head atop of it)
  • “Coraline” (the button and the spider themes)
  • “WALL-E” (Earth destroyed by mankind, leaving a desolate planet)
  • “The Nightmare Before Christmas” (I think especially of the character of the big lug in each film)
  • “Beetlejuice” (I seem to remember the character of Beetlejuice morphing into a serpentine creature, and there is a serpentine creature in “9” as well)
  • “James and the Giant Peach”
  • “Transformers” (OK, so I didn’t see this movie or its sequel, but Roger Ebert makes the comparison in his review of “9”)

OK, so that’s 10 films that I saw scattered within “9,” including one film that I haven’t seen (but I trust Ebert). You get my point.

“9” is watchable end-of-summer fare, to be sure, but be forewarned that you’ve already seen it all somewhere before. Yesterday I sat through much if not most of “9” making mental notes as to where I’d seen certain visual images and themes and ideas before, and that detracted from my movie-going experience.

“9,” like its rag-doll protagonists named “1” through “9” have been, has been cobbled from things borrowed. It’s technically masterful, but because it’s so damned derivative, it isn’t destined to become a classic.

My grade: B-

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