In 2006 writer/director Shane Acker was nominated for an Academy Award in the animated short film category. The short ran nearly eleven minutes and was called 9. It was about a rag doll who is being hunted by this mechanical cat creature that is also responsible for the death of his friends. Free of dialogue, it successfully grabs you, drawing you in to see, to wonder what is going to happen. It really is a fascinating short that gives s a glimpse into this other world. Now, three years later it has been expanded into a feature film with an assist from Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov, both serving as producers.
I had not seen the short until after seeing the feature, so I did not know how good the source was until after the disappointment. Yes, you read that right. I saw the film, I walked out, and I felt terribly unfulfilled. I generally try to keep my expectations under control, but it doesn't always work. This is especially true since I consider myself a cinematic optimist. There has to be something good about every movie. Well, perhaps not, but it does not keep me from hoping.
9 is one of those movies that I had high hopes for. The trailers looked absolutely fascinating. We got images of a post-apocalyptic landscape, buildings nothing more than burned-out husks, the blue skies have been muted from dirt and debris that has been kicked into the atmosphere, the only "living" things are clockwork rag dolls, and they have some other mechanical monstrosity hunting them. The look, the feel, the potential, it was enough to make a person giddy with apocalyptic joy. Then I saw the film and saw a large chunk of my hopes and dreams fall off the cliff into the rough waves below, where they cracked up on the rocks and spilled into the drink.