Love them or loathe them, you can blame the talented wizards at Pixar for the never-ending onslaught of 3-D animated films featuring googly eyed critters. Ever since it made bank with 1995’s Toy Story
, Pixar has been unstoppable: A Bug’s Life, Finding Nemo, Ratatouille, The Incredibles, Cars, Wall-E, Up
and many more. Its simple formula for success (put said googly eyed 3-D critters in zany adventures) was duplicated by other studios, giving us Shrek
, Ice Age
and a dozen other clones. This is great news for easily amused kids, but adults who don't want to spend any more time in Romper Room usually find them too juvenile.
Then along came 9
, not to be confused with District 9
or Rob Marshall’s Nine
. The animated 9
is a PG-13 (gasp!) existential tale about a group of little ragdoll humanoid creatures who are trying to survive a post-apocalyptic world where all the humans are dead and some evil, soul-sucking Fabrication Machine has taken over. Produced by Tim Burton, 9
is director Shane Acker’s expansion of his Oscar-nominated 2005 short film of the same name and features the voices of Elijah Wood, John C. Reilly, Jennifer Connelly, Christopher Plummer, Crispin Glover, Martin Landau and more. It’s dark and contains some scary images that will frighten the wee ones, but 9
’s heart is in the right place and it remains one of the only newer 3-D animated films that doesn’t pander to the preschool set.
Universal just announced that it is releasing 9
on DVD and Blu-ray on December 29. Both versions will contain commentary by Acker and others, "9: The Long and the Short of It," "On Tour with Shane Acker," "The Look of 9
, as well as the original short film. If you're amazed by modern computer animation but get frustrated with overly sentimental and junior offerings by Pixar and its wannabes, Blu-ray Bob can think of more than nine reasons to spend some time with the resilient little characters in 9.