A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Despite its often-bleak tone and some conflict among the characters, the movie's overwhelming messages are about banding together to battle evil, not leaving anyone behind, redemption, and self sacrifice for the greater good. As in the Terminator movies, there's a clear caution about giving too much power to machines/technology. There's also a spiritual undertone to some parts of the movie, especially in regards to how the main characters came to be.
Positive Role Models
The character 9 is resourceful, selfless, and brave from the start. He inspires the rest of his kind to band together and fight against the machines. The 7 character, who is female, is a fierce, independent warrior. Leader 1 is initially resistant to change, curiosity, and risk, but he sees the error of his ways in the end.
Violence & Scariness
Several scenes of frightening machines attacking and, in several cases, killing the main character's friends. Although the battles are between ragdoll-like creatures and robots instead of humans and aren't gory, they can be quite intense and scary. There are also disturbing images of a machine being beheaded, characters having their life force sucked out of them, explosions, and other moments of intense, suspenseful peril. Dead human bodies are shown briefly, including a mother and child, and flashbacks and newsreel footage show an intense battle between people and rampaging machines. Weapons include spears and, in the flashback sequences, guns and chemical bombs.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this dark, futuristic Tim Burton-produced fantasy may be animated, but it's not meant for younger kids. Violence and scary scenes are prevalent throughout the film, with the main characters frequently battling killer robotic machines -- which are merciless as they pursue (and, in several cases, kill) their ragdoll-like prey in frightening ways. The robots also make alarming noises and often pop up out of the blue. Dead human bodies are shown briefly, but there's no gore. On the up side, despite the movie's ominous tone and frequent peril and violence, there's no language, drinking, consumerism, or sexual content. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Acker is a gifted filmmaker: The movie's visuals are breathtakingly crafted. Everything in a scene -- from the buttons and zippers on the ragdoll creatures' bodies to the stained-glass window in a deserted cathedral -- is amazingly detailed. The pacing is also just right. At only 79 minutes, the suspense is crisply edited, with a couple of moments earning audible gasps from the audience. Based on style alone, this is a brilliant, five-star film.
But story-wise, Acker falls a bit short. The plot is minimalist, and all of the characters -- aged and jaded leader 1 (Christopher Plummer), fiercely brave 7 (Jennifer Connelly), sweet but scared 5 (John C. Reilly), introverted artist 6 (Crispin Glover), and mute librarian twins 3 and 4 -- deserve more depth. We see 9 from his "birth," but the rest of the gang isn't nearly as strongly sewn together. Still, plot shortcomings aside, 9 is a must-see for its impressive, inventive animation.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.