Tim Burton’s ‘9’ – It’s, Y’Know, Not For Kids

Ah, Daniel Day Lewis singing and dancing, Nicole, Marion, Dame Judi, big Italian numbers, Fergie from the Black Eyed… wait a second. What’s that!!?! It’s a dead mother and her child being viewed by a puppet crudely stitched together from a sack walking through an industrial wasteland where Earth used to be. Oh it’s that ‘9’. The “kids” film ‘9’.


After that hilarious opening when I gone did confused the two films, I’ll get on with acting like a grown-up and reviewing the film. I say ‘like a grown-up’, but I did just spend 80 minutes shitting my pants at a cartoon.

Based on his own Animated Oscar Winning short (which you can view below because I’m nice like that) Shane Acker has, under the tutelage of Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov, pulled a Neill Blomkamp and expanded his 11-minute wonder into a full on feature. Unlike ‘District 9’ (what is it with the number bloody 9 this year? what’s wrong with 5, I like the number 5) ‘9’ has been expanded with varying degrees of success.

Boil the plot down to its bare essentials and you’re left with ‘Terminator:Salvation’ with ragdolls, as humanity is completely wiped out in a war against machines. Left to fight for ‘humanity’ are 9 little dolls like the ones in the picture above, all coincidently numbered from 1 to 9, with 9 being the hero. But why are they here? Where did they come from? And what are they hoping to achieve?

To be perfectly honest most of these questions are largely redundant and easily forgettable. What actually sets ‘9’ apart from most movies is its bleakness, its darkness. And, thankfully this isn’t Tim Burton, “I wear mascara and act moody” darkness but actual ‘stuff of nightmares’ darkness.

The imagery of the dystopian landscape coupled with the creatures chasing the sackcloth heroes is truly scary stuff. I’m pretty sure one of the villains has a baby’s skull for a centrepiece.

Which begs the question, Who is this film for? Adults may find the dialogue and rehashed ‘Humans Vs Robots’ plot a little thin and children will call social services if you drag them along to a screening.

Then again, think back to your childhood. ‘Watership Down’, ‘The Dark Crystal’, ‘The Witches’, ‘Temple Of Doom’ these movies were disturbing, yet each provoke a strong childhood memory of confronting your fears. So maybe putting the willies up children is good for them.

Speaking of which, Michael Jackson’s, ‘This Is It’ is also out Friday.