Shane Acker’s computer-animated feature 9 (2009) stitches several well-worn themes into a unique commentary on agency and afterlife.
9 is set in a post-apocalyptic dystopia where a world war between humans and machines has left the earth decimated and dreary. The “stitchpunks” (1 through 9) and “The Beast” (a dog-like machine-thing) are the only signs of life, until 9 inadvertently awakens a maniacal mechanical monster. Each of the numbers seem to have his or her own way to deal with the dangers of the world they find themselves in, but cooperation seems to be the only way to avert imminent doom. 1 (Christopher Plummer) rules the reluctant with fear and the brute strength of 8 (Fred Tatasciore), 6 (the inimitable Crispin Glover, pictured above) is the “crazy” seer, 2 (Martin Landau) is the industrious explorer, 5 (John C. Reilly) is the fearful follower, 3 and 4 (who are voiceless) are the researching, collecting archivists, 7 (Jennifer Connelly) is the warrior, and 9 (Elijah Wood) is the level-headed logician with a heart to boot.
Without giving anymore away (see below for that), I just wanted to give props to Acker and company for taking what could have been cliché and making it fun and fresh.
Here’s Shane Acker’s original short film, 9 (2005) [runtime: 10:38]: