Nov 16, 2014

Review: 9 (2005)

I saw 9, the feature length animated film that is, quite a few years ago. Without a doubt, its biggest strength is its rich, visual details and animation. In that sense it's a good film with a really well constructed and unique world. It's also quite gloomy to say the least.

What I missed those years ago is that 9 is based off of a short film that was created by the director of 9, Shane Acker. Apparently he made this film as his UCLA animation thesis project. Acker made the most of his four and a half years of work by doing the film festival rounds. His hard work didn't go unnoticed because he managed to get Tim Burton's attention as well as a nomination for best animated short film at the Academy Awards.


Genre: animation, short, fantasy
Directed by: Shane Acker
Produced by: Shane Acker
Written by: Shane Acker
Music by: Earganic
Running time: 11 minutes
Production company: UCLA Animation Workshop
Distributed by: N/A
Country: United States
Language: N/A
Budget: N/A
Box office: N/A

IMDb entry

Starring: N/A



In a lonely, post-apocalyptic world, a rag doll with the number 9 stamped on its back lives on. Signs of past civilization exist and 9 scavenges for things that might be useful. Rag doll 9 isn't alone however. It's being hunted by a fearsome mechani-cat beast that's looking to devour its soul.


9 really shows the level of effort that Shane Acker put in. The animation is very nice, it's very smooth and the overall design is very unique as well. The world that 9 inhabits feels desolate, barren of life and just really really gloomy. The fact that there's no dialogue just strengthens the mood this short is going for. The use of sound is also very well done though with lots of wind, squeaky metal and creaky wood.

The design of the rag doll is pretty interesting, but what's most impressive is that it can convey emotion so well. The mechanical monster with the cat skull is pretty cool and makes the animation even more impressive because of its complex design. The action involving 9 trying to evade this beast is well executed and pretty exciting as well. That's especially so for the action sequence near the end of the film.

Despite having no dialogue and a weird rag doll character, 9 draws you in. Acker's story does a great job at making you understand the world 9 lives, but still leaving lots of mystery and unanswered questions. The animation and sound deserve a lot of praise too which makes 9 is an easy and good way to spend 10 and a half minutes of your time.



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