Shane Acker’s ’9′ snags audience with its ‘stitch punk’ aesthetic

July 25, 2009 | 3:59 a.m.
Shane Acker's 9
A still image from the upcoming animated movie “9.” Credit: Focus Features.

Ever since Shane Acker showed his short film in 2005 at Siggraph, winning the computer graphics conference’s Best in Show award, buzz has been quietly building within the animation community about the upcoming full-length version coproduced by Tim Burton.

Today, Acker and Burton shared a clip with an audience intrigued by its “stitch punk” aesthetics, similar to Sony’s Little Big Planet game for the PlayStation 3 but much darker. The movie from Focus Features is about a small band of nine rag dolls in a post-Apocalyptic world who are hunted by mechanical monsters intent on feeding off their souls.

The movie is voiced by Jennifer Connelly and Elijah Wood, who plays a protagonist thrust into a mission larger than himself in order to save the world from menacing forces (Hmm, where have we seen Wood doing this before?) It’s curious hearing the dolls speak since the original short film had no spoken dialogue. Acker had conveyed a full range of emotion using animations and music.

Wood discussed his character, named “9,” in a panel discussion with Burton and Connelly:

He is the innocent coming into a world in which he faced with a quest. In 9, there is so much he has to figure out. He throws a wrench into a society that is already established. It’s a fear-based hierarchy. He comes into the world innocent, wanting to understand who he is. What are these machines? How do we get to the bottom of things? He asks the questions everyone is afraid to.

The answers will be revealed soon enough when the movie hits theaters on, you guessed it, 9/9/09.

– Alex Pham

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