All right, perhaps that is a bit dramatic, but it is no less true.
The story of 9 takes place in an alternate version of our world. A machine was created and represented a great achievement in the realm of technology, but it was commandeered for military use and a war ensued. The war apparently wiped out humanity; however, before the end, the inventor of the great machine gives the spark of life to a series of nine rag dolls.
The movie picks up with 9 (Elijah Wood) waking up in the scientist's lab. He looks around, goes outside, and eventually comes across another being like himself, 2 (Martin Landau). This is when we discover that they are being hunted by a big mechanical creature. After the attack, 9 is left by himself and eventually finds himself in the presence of 1 (Christopher Plummer), the aged leader of the rag doll troupe.
9 begins to start trouble by wanting to go find 2 and find out the truth behind their existence and what happened to the rest of the world. 1 will have none of it. He makes the rules and he keeps them safe, and apparently feels that knowledge is the enemy. This conflict leads to their leaving their sanctum and discovering the truth about themselves.
The sad thing about this is that the story is not very well developed nor are the characters handled very well. Each has their specific role to play, and I understand that, it makes sense, but they are not given anything beyond that.
The movie is short. It does not even reach the 80-minute mark, including credits. I believe this is a reason that the story fails to take off. It definitely needs more time to unfold and grow. You can't tell me that this is all there is, there has to be more to explore, more to tell, more story to unfold.