Man, this movie was cool. Just watched it in Blu-Ray, very nice looking film with a great setting.

Now, someone explain that ending to me, because that don’t make a lick of sense.

Their mini-souls were trapped in the machine, got transferred to the talisman, and 9 let them out to go to heaven or wherever. Is that what you’re talking about?

Daniel Day-Lewis finally decides to make a movie about all the women in his life, and hence the big musical number with all of them on the scaffolding behind him. I thought it was pretty straightforward.


Seriously, though, it helps to watch Shane Acker’s original short. You can see the starting point for the ideas that got fleshed out and ironically made even less sense. The theatrical release was a casualty of the studio trying to turn it into a conventional narrative with celebrity voices and boss battles.


Oh that’s right, Tom had trouble understanding that French tree movie.

Oh, it’s oil!


Triffids. That’s all you need to know.

Sort of, I guess. So each of the 9 was a PIECE of the scientists soul? Not the whole thing? What would happen if they just got killed by falling from a great height, or being beheaded for example? What happened to the great machine to begin with that it was inactive yet every human was (presumably) dead? How did the beast/cat thing know what to do with the little round device (assuming he kept 2 alive for the purpose of draining the soul)? How did the scientist end up with the little device to begin with? Did he take it from the machine some how? Why did he wait so long to do that then, if it was possible?

Stuff like that, I guess I was thinking about it too deeply. It was a cool movie, but it had such potential to be amazing, Iron Giant quality almost.

Doubtful, it was released by Focus Features–who also put out Coraline–so I’m guessing the failings are those of the filmmakers rather than studio executives. I do kind of wish that this and the musical were one film though.

Alex, did you see the filmmaker’s short that I linked above? That short – which included very little conventional narrative, no overreliance on boss battles, and no room for celebrity voiceovers because it has no dialogue – and the feature film are both by Shane Acker. The difference between them is all the stuff Acker got when 9 went from being his own independent project and became a project with Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov tugging the purse strings and likely whispering in his ear, as well as getting a screenplay from the woman who wrote Monster House, which was very good, but was also very very different from what Acker did with his original short.

I don’t know, maybe you have some inside knowledge of the project or have read more about it than me. But having seen Acker’s original, and comparing it to the movie Acker released in collaboration with the Monster House writer, the guy who slaps his name on any animated movie with a vaguely Gothic theme, and the crazy Russian behind the Nightwatch/Daywatch mishmash, I get a pretty mental picture of what might have happened.


Yes, I’ve seen the original short and I’m completely fine with pretending that this patently inferior movie does not exist. It’s fine as a short, but not so fine as a feature-length. I also imagine Russian guy and Burton were more in name only than throwing their weight around.

Yeah, those guys seem really hands-off. I’m sure they wouldn’t have any influence on a first-time filmmaker fresh out of UCLA, who must have simply made the feature length film so dramatically different from the short just because.


That was what I gathered, yeah. They were each a different aspect of the scientist, who was also the person who built the machine to begin with. The scientist gave the number guys all a part of his vitae or soul or whatever, and the machine sucked that out when it caught them. Why? Who the heck knows? It’s also unknown whether the talisman was the original from the machine or the scientist had built another. Since it was missing from the machine, it seems like it was probably taken. Maybe he worked out a way to temporarily shut the machine down so he could take it back?

I think if the number guys got destroyed without the vitae vacuuming, they probably would have gone on to Skyville on their own. Since they got vacuumed, they had to be set free. Think of Ghostbusters. Why the talisman that powered the machine also had vitae channeling powers, again, who knows? Does it really matter? The world was kind of a blend of science and magic with the number guys, anyway. Why is that premise fine but the talisman itself being sciencey-magic not fine?

The movie doesn’t spell everything out for you, but I thought it was charming and the characters were neat. I definitely don’t think it deserved the derision that some people like Tom are giving it.

Just to be clear, I don’t have any problems with the movie, I really liked it quite a lot, I was just looking to see if I had mis-understood anything, and from what you say it sounds like I did not. Thanks for the clarification!

Saw this over the weekend and liked it a lot. It reminded me of the Don Bluth movies like Secret of Nimh or The Rescuers. It’s a short adventure that has a very interesting world with cool characters. Thumbs up for me.