Best Blu-ray Deals
Best Blu-ray Deals, See All the Deals »
Top deals |
The time is the too-near future. Powered and enabled by the invention known as the Great Machine, the world's machines have turned on mankind and sparked social unrest, decimating the human population before being largely shut down. But as our world fell to pieces, a mission began to salvage the legacy of civilization; a group of small creations was given the spark of life by a scientist in the final days of humanity, and they continue to exist post-apocalypse. With their group so few, these "stitchpunk" creations must summon individual strengths well beyond their own proportions in order to outwit and fight against still-functioning machines, one of which is a marauding mechanized beast.
For more about 9 and the 9 Blu-ray release, see 9 Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on December 19, 2009 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Christopher Plummer, Martin Landau, Crispin Glover, Jennifer Connelly, Elijah Wood, Fred Tatasciore
Director: Shane Acker
» See full cast & crew
9 Blu-ray Review
An uneven animated adventure receives an excellent Blu-ray release...
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, December 19, 2009
An animated future dystopia? Bizarre burlap dolls battling bestial machines in the shadows of post-apocalyptic ruins? The support of dark fairytale wunderkind Tim Burton and Russian madman Timur Bekmambetov? I cannot begin to convey how excited I was to see 9 after marveling at its first theatrical trailer. But I should have known months of mounting expectations would once again lead to disappointment. Its story wasn't the sprawling epic I had hoped for; its wasteland wasn't the mind-blowing, ashen wonderland its trailer promised; its characters weren't the complex survivors I had sketched out in my mind. I walked away disillusioned and disheartened. Thankfully, my second visit to 9's war-torn cityscape proved to be more rewarding. Its flaws were still apparent, as was its squandered potential, but the whole of the film was more satisfying.
Based on writer/director Shane Acker's Oscar-nominated animated short of the same name, the film tells the tale of a family of diminutive dolls -- skeptic and self-proclaimed leader 1 (voiced by Christopher Plummer), sweet-natured scout 2 (Martin Landau), mute catalogers 3 and 4, kind-hearted inventor 5 (John C. Reilly), obsessed artist 6 (Crispin Glover), graceful rogue warrior 7 (Jennifer Connelly), and burly swordsman 8 (Fred Tatasciore) -- who are forced to contend with a vicious machine inadvertently reactivated by their newest member, 9 (Elijah Wood). Their very existence is a mystery, as is their purpose, and their understanding of the world in which they live is limited to their elders' firsthand accounts of the destruction of man. Some feel they should flee the vicinity and live out their lives in seclusion. Others feel it's their god-given duty to stay and fight, a responsibility their creator seems to have tasked them with. Now, inspired by 6's crazed scribblings and 9's determination, the dolls have to choose between remaining hidden or trying to stop the very machine that eradicated humanity in the first place.
9 is the sort of film that's grown on me with multiple viewings; the sort of film that will probably continue to do so. While I envisioned a grander story, I've come to realize Acker's smaller scope isn't necessarily a detriment. And while I expected more engaging characters, several third-act revelations about the dolls' creation make their rather one-note personalities far less distracting. If anything, the fact that the central conflict is one of the dolls' own doing remains the film's greatest weakness. It's more difficult to care about their plight when humanity is already extinct and their enemy has left no one for them to save. Self-preservation is never as powerful a theme as sacrificing oneself for the greater good. It doesn't help that the ending turns out to be such an expendable, tacked-on denouement. Having listened to the disc's elaborate commentary, I finally understand what the filmmakers were aiming to do, but the film's closing scenes are still some of its most jarring and nonsensical. Had Acker given his barren world more context from the outset, it might not require two viewings and an audio commentary to appreciate 9's finer qualities. However, because most animation fans won't give Acker more than one opportunity to win them over -- I doubt I would have watched it more than once if it weren't for this review -- many will simply declare 9 an underwhelming letdown and move on. As someone who initially despised the film but has since come to enjoy its haunting simplicity, I can tell you that would be a shame.
9's jaw-dropping animation is more immune to criticism. Everything from the expressive tin eyes of the film's fateful heroes to the cold, calculating sheen of its mechanical beasties exudes soul; every crumbling building, pile of rubble, and human corpse lends an intriguing bit of backstory Acker is all too willing to overlook. Inks splashes onto parchment, electricity crackles whenever the Scientist's machine bellows, scissored incisors rattle as a diving creature attacks, dust bristles as a warrior decapitates a lunging monster, thin stitches pull and tear as an arm is left tattered... it's all a wondrously dark and menacing sight to behold. Humans, though only seen in flashbacks, lack the polish and spirit of Acker's burlap warriors and devious bots, but little else falls short. Still, despite its beauty, 9 will continue to be a divisive oddity. Neither a groundbreaking gut-punch nor an utter waste, it will speak to a select few far more than others. A handful of boundary pushing images further limit its appeal, particularly since a few minor cuts would have earned it a more family-friendly PG-rating without affecting Acker's tone or atmosphere in the slightest. As it stands, 9 is worth watching -- in some cases worth watching more than once -- and should continue to welcome eager newcomers into its fold.
9 Blu-ray, Video Quality
9 is an absolute joy to watch in high definition. Blessed with a magnificent 1080p/VC-1 transfer, its every frame exudes the kind of color and clarity videophiles long for. Otherworldly greens, blazing-hearth oranges, earthy burlap browns, ferocious reds, and inkblot blacks bring the dolls and their world to vibrant life, rendering every hue, stitch, hair, flame, and shadow with the utmost care. Minted directly from its digital source, the presentation is nearly flawless. Only a hint of faint banding (occasionally visible in the night skies) and some minor, I stress minor aliasing (watch the metal surrounding the machine god's eye) hold the image back from perfection. Otherwise, detail is impeccable, edges are sharp and clean, textures are immaculate, and Acker's vision is intact. From a technical standpoint, the results are just as impressive. Artifacting, noise, crush, edge enhancement, and other pesky unmentionables are nowhere to be found. The picture is stable and strong throughout and never succumbs to any debilitating anomalies that might undermine Acker's visual achievements. I can't imagine anyone will be disappointed with Universal's efforts. If anything, most viewers will be more forgiving of its mild banding and aliasing (if they notice either issue at all) and award the transfer the top marks it arguably deserves.
9 Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Universal's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track is equally powerful save one small problem: dialogue prioritization. Voices are a bit low at times, particularly whenever the dolls are attacked by their screeching oppressors, and a few inconsequential lines are lost in the chaos of battle. That being said, I suspect each instance is a product of intention; Acker's desire to make 9 and his comrades seem even smaller and more frail in the face of insurmountable odds. Luckily, everything else is flawless. Rear speaker activity is aggressive and enveloping, LFE output is forceful and resonant, and the soundfield is eerily realistic and undeniably immersive. There wasn't a moment I felt yanked out of 9's world; not a moment I felt disconnected from the billowing factories or empty expanses that dot his journey. Sound leaps from channel to channel as gracefully as 7 fells a towering beast, pans are swift and smooth, and directionality is precise and convincing. Steely nerved children will clasp their hands to their ears and audiophiles will nod in enthusiastic approval. Suffice to say, 9 sounds fantastic.
9 Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Blu-ray edition of 9 arrives with a thoroughly absorbing supplemental package; one that will even appeal to people like myself who weren't thrilled with the film itself. It includes an exclusive Picture-in-Picture track, an engaging audio commentary, and a variety of additional features (many of which are presented in high definition) that help the disc stand out from most other animated releases.
9 Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
9 may not be the be-all, end-all animated future dystopian masterpiece I had hoped for, but it is a decent, potentially stirring tale all the same. Just be prepared to give it a second go if your first viewing doesn't turn out so well. By contrast, Universal's Blu-ray release is far easier to evaluate. With a near-perfect video transfer, a near-perfect DTS-HD Master Audio track, and a near-perfect supplemental package, the disc comes... you guessed it, close to perfection. The Blu-ray edition of 9 falls just shy of must-own or blind-buy status -- be sure to see the film before committing any serious cash to a purchase -- but fans will be more than pleased with the results.
Use the thumbs up and thumbs down icons to agree or disagree that the title is similar to 9. You can also suggest completely new similar titles to 9 in the search box below.
Similar titles suggested by members
9 Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Blu-ray Sales, Dec. 28 2009 – Jan. 3 2010: Hangover Regains Lead ... - January 7, 2010
During the week ended January 3, 2010, Warner Home Video's comedy 'The Hangover', recovered the top-selling spot on Blu-ray, pushing 'District 9' to second place, according to Nielsen VideoScan. In its three weeks on shelves, 'The Hangover' has become the highest-grossing ...
• Today on Blu-ray - December 29th - December 29, 2009
Computer animation has allowed storytellers to create fantastic dream worlds where imaginations can fly through the air just as easily as they can converse under water. Rarely is the technology used to manifest nightmares of post-apocalyptic war zones, an unfortunate ...
• December Date for 9 Blu-ray - October 28, 2009
Universal Studios Home Entertainment is set to release the post-apocalyptic computer-animated film '9' on Blu-ray on December 29. This film, about a group of sentient rag dolls in a dilapidated Earth, began as a silent short which was a student project for Shane ...
» Show more related news posts for 9 Blu-ray
9 Blu-ray, Forum Discussions
9 Blu-ray Screenshots
Back to 9 Blu-ray »
Trending Blu-ray Movies
Trending in Theaters
This web site is not affiliated with the Blu-ray Disc Association.
All trademarks are the property of the respective trademark owners.
© 2002-2014 Blu-ray.com. All rights reserved.