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Rated PG-13

I’m extremely gullible. I’ll admit it. If a studio can put together a captivating trailer for their newest release, I’ll probably go see it.
Once I’m at the movie, all bets are off. Everyone’s on a level playing field. But if a trailer grabs me, I’ll be lining up early. (This is typically what happens to me with Ben Stiller movies. I’ll see a trailer, get excited, and go see it. Then, I’ll walk out disappointed saying I won’t be fooled again. Wash, rinse, repeat.)

You would think that decades of movie watching would have developed my ability to withstand seeing a movie just because its trailer contains things that 13-year-old me thought was cool. But you would be wrong. If a trailer contains explosions, giant robots, grinding electric guitar music, or Will Smith, I’ll probably see it. More than likely I’ll also regret paying 10 bucks to see it too. The trailer for Transformers 2 had all of these things (well, except Will Smith). And it certainly fooled me into spending 10 bucks.

This is kind of the case with 9. Kind of…

When I saw the trailer for 9, I was immediately sucked in by the fact it was being produced by Tim Burton. While I’ve always liked his live-action movies, I’ve loved his stop-motion ones. This combined with how the movie was being promoted as a “post-apocalyptic action/fantasy/adventure” had me practically salivating over how much I wanted to see it.

9 is a story set in the “not-too-distant future,” where humanity has all but died off from fighting a war against machines that it created itself. As a way of preserving “the spark of life” a scientist creates nine doll-like creatures (called “stichpunks” outside of the movie) and places within each of them a piece of his own soul. After his final creation awakens and finds him dead in the lab, the creation (9) sets out to explore the world he has just become a part of. What he finds are his kinsmen (numbers 1-8) and machine monsters out to kill him.

So let’s talk about what this movie does right. It’s an incredibly beautiful movie to watch. The design detail put into each of the nine stichpunks is marvelous. Each is made differently than the last, and each is designed to reflect its own unique personality. On top of brilliant character design, the world that director Shane Acker has created is eerie in its believability. You know, as far as being able to believe our world could be destroyed by giant robots.

But you know what this movie does wrong? It really falls flat when it comes to story. When each of your characters looks so special, why not spend the extra time needed to tell us why they’re special. Give us more development! I learned more about each stichpunk (including why they’re called that) from reading the movie’s wikipedia entry than I did from watching it! And not only are the characters not very developed, but the ending feels like the writers just gave up and wrapped it up the quickest way they could think of. I walked out of the theater thinking, “Thanks it? Really? Huh…”

Which brings me back to my story about falling for slick trailers. 9’s trailer totally reeled me in, but ultimately didn’t deliver what it promised. Or, I guess it delivered exactly what the trailer promised. It’s just what that was, wasn’t really that great.
Wait to rent this one gang. You’re not missing much.

Josh Treece is preparing for the inevitable war against machines for the fate of mankind. When he’s not doing that, he’s ministering to teenagers.

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