9Focus Features

“We had such potential. Such promise. But we squandered our gifts, our intelligence. Our blind pursuit of technology only sped us quicker to our doom. Our world is ending. But life must go on.”

I remember back when I first saw the trailer for 9 on the internet. It was a dark, twisted-looking computer animated taste of what looked like a post-apocalyptic movie that involved living dolls and was produced by Tim Burton. In other words, my kinda flick. Of course, personal finances being the way they are, I patiently waited until 9 was released on DVD. By the time I did, I really didn’t know what to expect.

Based on the award-winning short film the director made in 2005, 9 tells the tale of a rag doll that awakens to a post-apocalyptic world in the future. Seems that the machines have gained sentience (it’s always the machines, isn’t it?), and launched a war with all humanity. However, one scientist created these rag dolls and given them numbers…and a secret means of fighting the machines and redeeming mankind, before he too was killed. On his quest to find out his destiny, 9 finds others of his kind, along with being hunted down by steampunk nightmares created by the machines to stop them.

9 is one heck of a dark and twisted sci-fi fantasy, filled with dark and disturbing settings and scenes, stuff that genuinely creeped me out on more than one occasion. The story, for the most part, kept me interested. Decent action, great animation, and good dialog between the doll-thingies. The ending kind of lost me a bit, as it suggested that the dolls had souls that floated up to…I don’t know, doll heaven? when they died. Which, as we all know, is impossible, as DOLLS ARE SOULLESS MINIONS OF THE DARK ONE. But, that’s really more for my therapist than here.

Overall, 9 was a good, creepy and dark sci-fi fantasy ride that, while not really reinventing the post-apocalyptic genre, did give the story a good hard spin.