"you forget to remember to be afraid."

think kind thoughts for me this morning; i’m caught in the justice system of boston, massachusetts.

no, i didn’t finally snap and do away with the ever-loud upstairs neighbors or rip the throat from the nth undergrad to bump into me on the t. i got summoned to jury duty and, even as you read this, will be sitting in the dorchester courthouse fervently hoping that all cases on the docket decide to settle without need of me.
just a quickie post this morning, then, to recommend that if you haven’t seen the shane acker, tim burton, and timur bekmambetov production 9 — came out last summer after the debut of district 9 and, i think, suffered from “similarity of title syndrome” — you really might want to think about it.
personally, tim burton’s name was enough to sell me; adding bekmambetov was like adding frosting to an already tasty cupcake; acker was an unknown to me, but i’ll be sure to keep an eye out for more of his stuff in the future.
that said, there isn’t anything in 9 you probably won’t be familiar with. as you probably know from the preview that was freely slung about late in the summer of 2009, the story focuses on 9 rag dolls trying to find out what they can do and what they’re supposed to do in the middle of a post-apocalyptic, post-human world. the story relies on familiar themes: there’s a journey the characters must take, an innocent hero who has to learn, an evil power that must be bested, friends who have to be rescued in order for the journey to continue, etc., etc. so, from a certain point of view, there isn’t anything new here. in fact, if you were feeling in an unkind mood, you could pretty much sit and tear 9 apart frame by frame and label what it takes from terminator, blade runner, 28 days later, mad max, star wars, 2001, and so on. (there also seemed to be a healthy dose of the online comic serial freakangels in there — it was almost impossible for anna and me to stop identifying the characters in 9 as the freakangels! “so if he’s kirk and she’s kk…”)
if you were feeling unkind, though, you’d be denying yourself a really good movie — and possibly ruining it for whoever else was in the room at the same time. while there isn’t anything new here, the old is recycled in a thoroughly charming, enjoyable, and surprisingly touching way. the voice performances — including elijah wood, jennifer connolly, and martin landau — are great and the animation is beautiful to watch. i’m continually amazed at the ability of talented animators — and animation directors/writers/etc. — to summon nuanced, delicate performances out of things that don’t exist anywhere but on a computer hard drive.