Nine thoughts on 9. Sort of.

Over a month ago I stumbled across a trailer for an animated movie which would come out in September.  It caught my attention up-front with its original premise, but REALLY sucked me in when “Welcome Home” by Coheed & Cambria started playing.  Check this out:

So now I’ve seen it.  And since I have seen it, I want to discuss it.  Also, I like lists in blogs.  The name of this movie is a number, so that works out perfectly, wouldn’t you say?  So here we are — Nine thoughts that I have relating to or inspired by the movie 9.

  1. I think Elijah Wood is awesome.  Seriously.  I think it’d be cool if he and I bumped into each other one day in some yet-unknown circumstance that would require us to get to know each other.  Then we’d be buds and he’d meet all my friends and we’d just hang out and do cool things like I would with any other friends, except this friend is Elijah Wood; but I don’t let that influence me because, you know, he’s just a friend, and I’m cool like that.  I’d get a call someday, “Hey, man, it’s Elijah.  What you up to tonight?”  But that would be awkward because then what if I wanted to have a Lord of the Rings marathon?  I would invite him, no question, but would he come?  And if he did, would he tell us all kinds of cool things about filming the movie, or would it just feel really weird with Frodo sitting there saying nothing at all?  I may never know.
  2. I commented that this movie has an impressive cast at one point.  Soon after I realized that by “impressive cast,” I meant that I recognized most of the names.
  3. The concept of this movie deserves something WAY bigger than an 80 minute film.  Here is an entire world that was destroyed by technology that is now only inhabited by nine little dolls and a robot.  There is so much room for stuff there!  I get not pursuing a franchise with it (and appreciate that), but a two-film or three-film story arc could have really worked here.  Or, at the very least, a two to a two-and-a-half hour movie.
  4. I really hate the way movies sometimes rush through exposition.  For anyone with a brain, the exposition is where the movie really lies!  This is my main beef with Michael Bay movies – somewhere (waaaaaaay down there), there is a story, but he refuses to tell it.  9 did this to a degree (though nowhere near Bay’s offenses).  As I sat in that crappy theater, I was completely sucked in by this neat concept of a story, but it seemed to jump from one big, defining event to the next very quickly.  That bugs me.  That’s how cartoons in the 80’s told stories in 25 minute episodes.  Slow down, please! Anyone who would sit and complain that the movie is taking too long doesn’t deserve to be there!
  5. It did have quick-fixes to very big problems. (Spoiler alert).  I can appreciate the ways in which the assassin robots are taken out, but they’re all taken out in sequence like mini-bosses in a video game.  The threats don’t last long enough for us to care about them.  (I’m going to start calling such a story move “a Darth Maul”.)  Also, getting back and forth between the factory and the church started taking about 5 minutes, when the first journey was clearly (at least) a couple hours.  Lastly, the distruction of the factory was too easy.  It worked the way they planned it the first time — granted, the big robot survived, but the point remains that, while the tension was present, it did not hang on nearly long enough.
  6. I noticed the song “Welcome Home,” nor any other Coheed & Cambria tune (the whole soundtrack was Danny Elfman), was not in the movie.  One of my friends expressed mild frustration over this fact (quote: “All my problems with that movie would have been forgiven if it had a Coheed & Cambria song in it.”)  But I thought putting that song in the trailer, despite it not ending up in the film, was a very clever marketing move.  Maybe this aspect of it wasn’t on purpose (like maybe they just liked the song), but I like to think it was:  what kind of demographic is going to see a movie set in a post-apocalyptic world following the exploits of hand-sized, sentient burlap dolls, facing an evil machine?  Maybe the same people that listen to a progressive rock band whose albums tell a very complex and original sci-fi story?  Yeah, maybe.
  7. I’m glad to see Crispin Glover doing stuff these days (since I’m such a big fan of Back to the Future), but that man seriously creeps me out.  It’s like he takes the stereotype of “weird theater major” to a whole new level.
  8. Someone, somewhere, is going to describe this movie as “Toy Story meets The Matrix.”  I think that would (or will) cheapen the creativity here, so I will not be happy when I see that.
  9. My final word on this movie is that it was wasted.  All of the potential is there, but it was trimmed too much and finished in a hurry.
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