9: Sci-fi Animation with a Christian Worldview
- 9 is a visually striking, exciting animated science fiction fable with a positive Christian, redemptive worldview. Some intense action violence and scary metal monsters are too intense for younger children and other sensitive viewers.
The movie begins with an unseen man sewing up a small cloth doll he has created. The man gives the creature eyes while he laments that the foolishness of human beings has destroyed the world. He gives the doll a number 9, which he writes on its back.
Some time later, 9 wakes up to find the man dead on the floor. Silently, he goes out to explore the world, which he finds has been destroyed in some great war. On his way out, 9 picks up a strange wooden button with bizarre writing on triangular sections.
As 9 surveys the wreckage, he runs into #2, a kindly but frail inventor. 2 fixes 9’s voicebox, but a metal creature captures 2 and takes him away to some inactive factory smokestacks in the distance.
9 meets a tribe of seven other creatures led by #1, a domineering war veteran who uses muscle-bound #8 to force the tribe to hide out in a Christian church with a beautiful stained-glass window featuring Jesus. 9 wants to go rescue 2, but 1 orders him not to do it. 9 goes anyway, accompanied by #5, the group’s stalwart and friendly engineer.
Spoiler alert! 9 and his new friend finally reach the inactive factory. They find #2 still alive, but the surviving metal creature attacks them. #7, a brave and self-sufficient warrior, comes to their rescue. Together, they destroy the monster and discover the reason why civilization has been destroyed. It seems that a scientist had created the first real thinking machine, but a dictator took the scientist’s invention and made machines for war and oppression. Eventually, the intelligent machines waged war on the humans and civilization was destroyed, but so were most of the machines.
Regrettably, 9 sees that the strange button he took fits into the wrecked machinery in the dead smokestack factory. His curiosity gets the better of him. He plugs the button into the machinery. This awakens the mechanical monster behind the creation of the machines in the dead factory. After killing 2, the metal monster barely misses killing 9, 5 and 7.
The reawakened metal beast starts creating smaller machines to go after the cloth doll creatures. Everyone’s life is now in real danger. 9 believes, however, that the button has a secret that could lead to the revived metal monster’s destruction. He decides that the room where he woke up has the answers.
The Theology of 9
9 is a thrilling story of courage, sacrifice and redemption. Two reverent shots of Jesus in the stained glass window help give this redemptive story a Christian spin. The movie attacks, however, the religious legalism of the group’s leader, #1, who often talks about enforcing rules but who eventually performs a sacrificial act at an important point and also shows some rare compassion.
The movie also has some references to the soul that include a theologically bizarre concept. That concept is that the soul can be divided into smaller souls. The other references to the soul seem positive. In perhaps the most positive reference, a character says that the metal machines are evil and imperfect because they lack a soul.
Any Offensive Content?
9 takes place in a dark world with scary, violent metal monsters that will frighten younger children or other sensitive viewers. In contrast to these monsters, the animated cloth creatures are gentle by nature. Best of all, perhaps, the movie contains no foul language or crude content.
Creatively speaking, this movie looks like nothing else you’ve ever seen, especially from a major motion picture. The production design is totally unique. It is great to see some strong redemptive content, including overt references to Jesus, attached to such an original, skillful, creative, and inspiring production.
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NOTE from Dr. Ted Baehr, publisher of Movieguide
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