9 (not to be confused with the Felliniesque ‘Nine’)

Expanded from an imaginative UCLA animation short, this film suffers from the same problem as several other Tim Burton-related projects like Corpse Bride: way too scary and nihilistic for kids, but also too childish for adults to appreciate.

The protagonists are little canvas-covered robot-dolls roaming through a ruined 1940s city, who accidentally re-awaken a huge spider-like machine which has wiped out all organic life on Earth with chemical warfare and an army of Dalek/Tripod/AT-ST battle units. It’s as though Stalin got hold of Terminator’s Skynet.

It’s not strictly steampunk (everything is based on WWII technology and there are many visual references to the Blitz), but the glimpses of backstory discovered along the way are intriguing without being too obviously spelt out.

Unfortunately this backstory is rather more interesting (and has had more effort devoted to it) than the actual plot, and ultimately this and the thin characterisation lets down the extraordinarily detailed production design. To its credit, it’s unusual to sit down and watch a kid’s film like this, and after the first twenty minutes to have no idea how it’s going to end.

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2 Responses to “9 (not to be confused with the Felliniesque ‘Nine’)”

  1. Rhinocrates Says:

    FYI, the term “Dieselpunk” gets used when computers using valves replace the Babbage-type ones.

  2. Rhinocrates Says:

    BTW, sounds like it could fit alongside City of the Lost Children

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