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9 is a 2009 animated fantasy film/action film directed by Shane Acker and produced by Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov. The film, which expands on a short film of the same name, stars Elijah Wood, John C. Reilly, Jennifer Connelly, Crispin Glover, Martin Landau and Christopher Plummer. It is based on Acker's Academy Award-nominated 2005 short film of the same name. The screenplay for the film was written by Pamela Pettler. Casting for 9 was done by Mindy Marin, with production design by Robert St. Pierre and Fred Warter, and art direction by Christophe Vacher.


The film begins with the Scientist creating a little mechanical humanoid homunculus (called "stitchpunks" by fans and throughout this article) 9 (Elijah Wood) as he tells how humanity, in its blind pursuit of science and technology, went to its doom. He finally gives life to the doll with a talisman. Then he dies.

9 awakes, unable to speak. He takes the talisman, depositing it on the opening of his body under the closure. He opens the windows and sees a terrifying post-apocalyptic world, and someone walking. He leaves the building to see who it is. Outside, he sees several human corpses. 9 hears someone close, and then he meets 2 (Martin Landau), another, highly intelligent and inventive, stitchpunk created by the Scientist, who inserts a speaking device in 9 and becomes his friend. 2 tells 9 that there are others like themselves. 9 shows 2 the talisman, when suddenly the Cat Beast appears and attacks 2. 9 accidentally rocks the can he is hiding in, drawing the attention of the Cat Beast. The Cat Beast searches the can 9 hides in, but 2 distracts the Cat Beast allowing 9 to escape, tearing his shoulder in the process. The Cat Beast takes 2 to a towering factory in the horizon. 9 lies unconscious.

9 awakes in a church, the shelter of the rest of the stitchpunk tribe. He meets one-eyed 5 (John C. Reilly), another of the stitchpunk who fixes 9's shoulder. 1 (Christopher Plummer), the leader of the group, appears along with the much bigger and stronger 8, and tells 9 that they have hid ever since the machines won the war. Unintroduced, 6 (Crispin Glover) is seen drawing the Talisman over and over. 9 explains what happened to 2 and insists they save him, but 1 refuses to risk jeopardizing their safety. 5, on the other hand, is convinced to help 9. The two enter the factory and save 2 from the Cat Beast, which is decapitated thanks to the timely arrival of brave and nimble 7 (Jennifer Connelly). Noticing a socket shaped like the talisman, 9 inserts the talisman into it out of curiosity, only to have it open and instantly absorbs 2's soul, leaving 2 lifeless. This awakens the long-dormant Fabrication Machine, forcing 9, 5 and 7 to flee.

Seeking answers about the Fabrication Machine and the talisman, 9 is taken to meet 3 and 4, who reveal details about the machine's past, though they know nothing about the talisman. 5 tells 9 that 6 might have answers and return to the hideout, where 6 states they must "go back to the source," where the talisman's secrets can be found. However, they are caught by 8, who brings them to 1. 1 berates 9 for awakening the Fabrication Machine and argues that 9 will just lead them to more trouble. Suddenly, the hideout is attacked by the Winged Beast, a new machine created by the Fabrication Machine. Through a combined effort, the stitchpunks destroy the Winged Beast, though the hideout is burned down in the process. They seek refuge in a ruined library, but are attacked by another new machine, the Seamstress[540615], which kidnaps 7 and 8 and nearly kidnaps 1 as well, using 2's dead body as a hypnotic lure.

9 infiltrates the machine factory where he is able to save 7 and destroy the Seamstress, though he arrives too late to prevent the Fabrication Machine from absorbing 8's soul with the talisman. 9 and 7 escape while the others ignite a barrel of oil and roll it into the gas-filled factory, causing the building to explode, thus leaving the stitchpunks to presume that the Fabrication Machine was destroyed as well. As the stitchpunks celebrate by listening to "Over the Rainbow", 5 wanders off to chase an errant record. He finds that the Fabrication Machine survived the explosion and, though damaged it is still active and no longer stationary. 5 barely manages to warn the others before the machine grabs him and absorbs his soul. During the protracted chase while crossing a very unstable bridge, 6 tells 9 that they shouldn't destroy the machine because the souls of the dead stitchpunks are trapped inside the Fabrication Machine. Suddenly the Fabrication Machine reaches out from below the bridge and grabs 6. While 6 is being pulled down by the machine, he tells the other stitchpunks to go back to the source, where 9 awoke. Then the Fabrication Machine absorbs his soul leaving him lifeless, and drops him into a deep chasm. Despite this, 1, 7, 3 and 4 decide to destroy the Fabrication Machine anyway, believing the dead souls cannot be saved. 9 decides to heed 6's final words and returns to the laboratory where he first awoke and found the talisman, determining that it is "the source".

Back in the laboratory, 9 finds a holographic message from the Scientist explaining how to use the talisman, why the stitchpunks were created and that they contain parts of his life force. When the others begin their attack on the Fabrication Machine, 9 returns with a plan to take the talisman back from the machine and use it to retrieve the souls, intending to bait himself to the machine and sacrifice his soul. 1, however, ultimately makes the sacrifice instead, allowing 9 to steal back the talisman and use it to retrieve the souls of the fallen stitchpunks, thus destroying the Fabrication Machine in the process. Afterward, 9, 7, 3 and 4 set up a memorial for 1, 2, 5, 6 and 8. 9 opens the talisman and releases the souls, which rotate up the sky. A rainstorm begins with each raindrop having a part of the stitchpunk's soul (the appearance of which seem to be a bacterium in the raindrops, implying that the other stitchpunks might have been reincarnated into bacteria and that the bacteria would soon evolve into multi cellular organisms), leaving the future in the hands of 3, 4, 7 and 9 and the spark of life renewed. The film ends with 7 asking 9 what happens next, 9 replies that he's not quite sure, but he also says that "This is our world now, it's what we make of it".

Cast and characters

  • Elijah Wood as 9, the last creation of the scientist. 9 is the sincere, good-hearted, and honest stitchpunk who carries the Scientist's true humanity qualities: bravery and courage. He is the last to be woken up, because the Scientist died during the process to give him life. It's possible that both 9 and 7 has romantic affections/feelings with each other ever since 9 met her but because of the Fabrication Machine and its creations, they were unable to show it until the end of the film.
  • Fred Tatasciore as 8, who came into being for the purpose of protecting the rag dolls from the evil machine uprising. He wields a meat cleaver and half a scissor. The none-too-bright muscle and enforcer of the group, 8 was created to help the others physically survive the dangerous, post-apocalyptic world. He is the second to die.
  • Jennifer Connelly as 7. A brave and self-sufficient warrior, 7 is the group's sole female. A fiercely independent adventuress, she has been out patrolling the wasteland. To survive, she has adapted, finding the bones of a deceased bird and crafting her signature skull helmet. It's possible that both 9 and 7 has romantic affections/feelings with each other ever since 9 met her but because of the Fabrication Machine and its creations, they were unable to show it until the end of the film.
  • Crispin Glover as 6. He repeatedly tells the group to go back to the source but the others are confused and decide to ignore him. His hands are made with pen nibs, he is striped and has one eye bigger than the other. There is a key around his neck which he protects with his life, no one knows what it unlocks. 9 is the only one in the group that believed in him. He is the fourth to die.
  • John C. Reilly as 5, who is a caring, nurturing, one-eyed engineer – the loyal, big-hearted "common man" who always tries to play the peacemaker. He is also an apprentice of 2, with whom he shares a special bond. He lost his left eye during the war of the machines, but says "Having one eye helps me concentrate on one thing at a time". He is the healer of the group. He is the third to die.
  • 3 and 4 are the scholarly twins who voraciously catalog everything they can see and find, recording and building a database of the world that surrounds them and the history that led up to their creation. Unlike the other Stitchpunks, 3 and 4 are unable to speak, so they communicate to each other by flashing lights from their eyes and using them as film projectors.
  • Martin Landau as 2, the scientist's second creation. 2 is a kindly but now frail inventor and explorer who embodies the Scientist's strong creative spirit he is fearless. An inquisitive personality. He is the first to die.
  • Christopher Plummer as 1, is the Scientist's first creation. As the elder, he is the self-declared leader of the group. He ostensibly sent 2 out to scout but he really sent him out to die. He is the fifth and last to die.
  • Alan Oppenheimer as The Scientist, a former toy maker who created the stitchpunks and also invented the B.R.A.I.N. Each of the stitchpunks is a component of the Scientist's soul. He used the talisman to transfer his soul out and supply each with life. At the beginning of the film, one of the first things 9 comes across is the Scientist's lifeless body sprawled on the floor.


9 was produced in part by Tim Burton, Timur Bekmambetov and Jim Lemley, and released on September 9, 2009. Animation began in Luxembourgmarker at Attitude Studio, but subsequently moved to Starz Animation in Torontomarker, Canada. The film was released by Focus Features.
Shane Acker directed the film and wrote the story. Pamela Pettler and Ben Gluck wrote the script.


On December 25, 2008, a trailer was released on Apple.commarker, featuring The Knife's "The Captain" and Coheed and Cambria's "Welcome Home".

In the trailer there were several machines up against the stitchpunk group: the Cat Beast, an ape-like ambush predator that appeared in the short film of the same title; The Winged Beast, a raptor-like with movable blades of various types in its mouth; the Seamstress, a hypnotic serpent; Mech Walkers, large two-legged machines armed with a machine gun and poison gas missiles which can kill in a matter of seconds; the Fabrication Machine, a cyclopic, spider-like machine with many multi-jointed arms; and Seeker, several flying zeppelin machines with searchlights. Later trailers also reveal the existence of several small ant-like machines.

Part of the film's marketing strategy was its release date of September 9, 2009 ("9/9/09").

9 is the second animated feature film to be released by Focus Features, the first being Coraline, based on the book by Neil Gaiman. The trailer for 9 preceded the film Coraline when it was shown in theaters and released on DVD.

A second trailer for 9 first appeared on G4's Attack of the Show. It is an extensive trailer which includes a bit of the background story behind the existence of the stitchpunks.

In April 2009, the film's "Scientist" began making journal entries on a Facebook page called "9 Scientist". Daily thoughts and images of his inventions are updated frequently. The "9 Scientist" Facebook page seemingly references events leading up to the release of the film.

Most recently, a new viral campaign promotional website for 9 has been launched. It sheds some light upon the background of the 9 world.

DVD release date

9 will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on December 29, 2009.


The song used in the trailers for the movie, called "Welcome Home", is written by alternative rock band Coheed and Cambria.



9 has received mixed to positive reviews from critics, with its visuals being the most highly praised aspect. Based on 150 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an overall "Rotten" approval rating of 56% from critics, with the Top Critics ranking it slightly higher, giving it a "Fresh" rating of 65% and the film having an average score of 6/10. On Metacritic, it currently holds a score of 60 out of 100 indicating mixed or average reviews. The general sentiment by critics is that the film is "long on imaginative design but less substantial in narrative." Variety s Todd McCarthy says "In the end, the picture's impact derives mostly from its design and assured execution."

Box office

On opening day, the film made #1 with $3,115,775. Its opening weekend landed it at #2 behind I Can Do Bad All By Myself with approximately $10,856,000 and $15,264,000 for its 5-day opening. As of November 29, 2009, the film has grossed US$41,859,395 worldwide.

See also


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