• A Review Page For Those Movies You Watch At Home!

    Couch Potato Movie Reviews is, obviously, a blog that exclusively reviews movies. What makes this blog different is the fact that all of the films we are reviewing are all movies that are available on home movie rental companies such as Redbox, Netflix, Blockbuster, and your quickly disappearing neighborhood rental store. This blog is designed to take a more detailed look at those movies that either were sent straight to DVD, received a very limited release in the theaters, or were distributed through the art house or film festival circuit. We will also review those big Hollywood films, but only after they are available for home viewing.

    All the reviews are written by fans of the great art of film making rather than some newspaper reviewer or stuffy film student. We don’t know everything about film but we do know what we like, and we are more than happy to share our opinions with you. What you do with those opinions are totally up to you, although comments are welcome and encouraged.

    Each film review has a one to five star rating at the end of the critique. Here is what those star ratings mean for you couch potatoes:

    * * * * * : Five stars: go and buy this one, don’t just rent it!

    * * * * : Four stars: put this at the top of your rental list.

    * * * : Three stars: average, not bad just not great either.

    * * : Two stars: only rent if you have to see everything.

    * : One star: don’t waste your time with this.

9

TITLE: 9

YEAR: 2009

GENRE: Animation and Science Fiction

It is a common practice with film makers to take an often used and occasional tired storyline and package the same blueprint into a format that is unique. This is especially common among animation products as the creators of animated films believe that they can take a common storyline and hide the fact that the story is a re-hash by using an animation format. One of the more beautiful examples of this form of stealing an old idea would be the Tim Burton-produced film 9, which does have a stunning and creative look yet is hackneyed and run of the mill in the storytelling department.

The Scientist (voiced by Allen Oppenheimer) creates the fabrication machine, a form of artificial intelligence designed to build other machines for the sole purpose of waging war. When the machine turns against the dictator who buys the machine from the Scientist a major war happens that wipes humanity off the face of the Earth. The last creation of the Scientist was nine human-like rag dolls that uses a talisman to bring the dolls to life. After the war, doll #9 (Elijah Wood) awakens to discover the devastation and ventures out to find more of its kind. Doll #9 does find the eight creations before him including overbearing traditionalist leader doll #1 (Christopher Plummer), warrior rebel and loner doll #7 (Jennifer Connelly), and kindly inventor doll #2 (Martin Landau). As the machines created to eradicate humanity still roam the Earth and the dolls are executed one by one by the assassins, it is up to #9 to rally the dolls to defend themselves from the marauding terrors.

There are some great elements to 9, but overall the film is not too exciting and has a “seen it a hundred times before” approach to the storyline. On the positive, the animation is stunning and tremendously creative looking. Unlike most post-apocalyptic productions, 9 delivers the goods in showing the viewer a depressing and hopeless world where the good guys have been all but vanquished and the few survivors live a life is quiet desperation. Once one takes away the superb animation the storyline is the usual standard survivalist production and has been done hundreds of times in the past, and unfortunately much better in terms of the writing and screenplay. The voice acting is nothing special although Connelly does do an admirable job as an adventurous warrior itching for action. Most of the film is beyond dark and definitely adult in nature, but the ending is a bit abstract that offers a happy ending of sorts although the message of new life will go over the n=head of most viewers.

This film was based on a short film called (surprise) 9 from the director Shane Acker. The film 9 did have some amazing potential, but once the viewer gets beyond the visual eye candy the story just seems to be some thing done many time sin the past in films such as The Terminator and The Last Man On Earth. The animation is visually stunning, but the rest of 9 lacks creativity and attitude that unfortunately is only for the animation purists that do not care about a quality storyline.

* * 1/2

–Mark

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