tek's rating:

9 (PG-13)
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This came out in 2009, but I didn't see it until 2013. It's based on a 2005 short film of the same title, which I watched just before watching this, as a bonus feature on the DVD. The original was... well, it looked cool, but I didn't have much idea of what was going on. Basically, there's a sort of burlap ragdoll (with the number "9" on its back), which has to outwit a mechanical monster, after that monster basically kills another ragdoll, "5." (Apparently, the ragdolls are called, at least in fandom, "stitchpunks," which I think would be a good name for the genre of this film- both the short and the feature.) I guess I liked the short, but I don't really have anything in particular to say about it. The feature film, of course, greatly expands on the story- and it helps that it actually has dialog, unlike the short. I should also say this is the sort of CGI movie that almost looks like stop-motion animation (which I'd lump together with stop-motion movies that almost look like CGI). And it's weird-cool in a very Tim Burton way, so it's no surprise that he's a producer on the feature... though I'm not sure that means anything more than that he helped with financing and lent his name to the project.

Anyway, in the movie, 9 wakes up in a room with apparently no idea who or what he is. He finds a mysterious object, which he seems to instinctively realize is important, so he takes it with him. He ventures out to explore the world, and it's basically a postapocalyptic wasteland, full of the decaying ruins of our world. He soon meets another stitchpunk, 2, who tinkers with 9 a bit to give him the ability to speak. (I had thought maybe 9 wouldn't do any speaking in the movie, and I thought that could be interesting, but I was glad that it didn't turn out to be the case. Still, the fact that he couldn't speak at first was, I felt, a neat little nod to the original short film.) 2 is immediately interested in the object 9 had with him, and said someone was always drawing it. We don't find out til later what he meant by that.

A mechanical beast shows up, and captures 2. 9 is subsequently found by yet another stitchpunk, 5, who takes him back to his people. They're lead by a stitchpunk named 1, who is solely concerned with keeping them all safe from the beast. Which basically means, staying in hiding. 1 does not like 9 or all his questions. But 9 convinces 5 that the two of them should go out and search for 2. When they do, they end up finding 7 (who is vaguely female, and a total badass warrior). She takes them to 3 and 4, who don't talk, but I guess have been doing research into the past, pre-apocalypse. (1 and the others had thought 3, 4, and 7 were all dead.) Humans and machines had fought a war against each other, which is what led to the state the world is currently in. And um, 9 unwittingly wakes up the machine that had controlled all the other machines, and it begins making more machines now. And it can absorb souls. So that's going to be a big problem for all the stitchpunks.

And, uh... there was a goonish stitchpunk named 8, who was 1's enforcer, I guess. And a stitchpunk named 6, who was kind of a crazy prophet, the one 2 had said drew the thing 9 had found. And all the stitchpunks have to work together to survive/defeat the machines. And I don't really want to say any more about the plot. But it was reasonably interesting and cool-looking. And it had a good voice cast. Um, and I guess it wasn't as awesome as I'd hoped, but... not bad.

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