"It's funny how the colors of the real world only seem really real when you viddy them on the screen."

Friday, December 23, 2011

With Nine You Get Spoilers

I saw 9 last night with my two teenagers. I left the little one at home despite her protests. In the first five minutes I was glad she wasn't there for this particular cartoon. There were some great monsters. It was, in brief, enraging because it's so close to brilliance.

Spoiler Warning

The first hint that this movie has strong religious overtones is that the safe place our heroes use to hide in is a church. Nevertheless...

It's 1939 and war has broken out, but it turns out differently than we might remember. An intelligent nuclear driven machine was created for good but used for bad. Standard. Just like in The Matrix, the machine took over and killed all the people. But the inventor of the machine realized the problem is he didn't give the machine a soul. The atheists in the group might say "a conscience" or "the capacity for ethical determinations." So he makes nine little machines that look humanish and finds a way to impart a portion of his soul in each. He dies making the last of them, 9, because his soul gets completely used up.

What I loved about the film is the idea that each of these nine creatures is part of the inventor. Among others, there's a superego who's obsessed with safety at all costs, little curious dudes, a brutish stoner, an intellect, and a woman - his anima. As a hermeneutical allegory, it was really cool. But that concept falls apart at the end and a few times before.

A few of the creatures get sucked up by the monster machine. They called out from the machine because they were trapped inside. But the machine doesn't ever sway its course. If the inventor was right, that it lack soul, then sucking up the creatures should have altered the machine's agenda - making it goofier after one, and smarter after another, etc. And the solution would be for the others to allow themselves to get sucked up to add to the kindness of the beast. But they don't.

Instead they find a way to kill the machine, and get the dude out. But they come out like souls and fly up to heaven. "Now you're finally free!" Barf. Somehow they should have all stuck themselves together to re-make one full person. But they don't. It ends with 9 and the female and the two little dudes together: a nuclear family reminiscent of the Teletubbies. And they comment that they've got the place to themselves. But what the hell will they do stuck there together? How long before they realize hell is other sentient beings?

It was all still very entertaining to watch. It's just unfortunate that it didn't go all the way - well, that it didn't go in the direction I was hoping. God is such an easy out.

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