| Gifted animator Shane Acker is a creative visionary in the science fiction realm. He has expanded has 2005 Oscar-nominated short of the same title into a feature length film. His amazing potential was recognized by acclaimed filmmakers Tim Burton (“Corpse Bride” and “The Nightmare Before Christmas”) and Timur Bekmambetov (“Wanted”), who agreed to sign on as producers.
Their names and the clever opening date of 9/9/09 have given the movie a marketing boost.
The story takes us to a post-apocalyptic world where a group of rag doll puppets play hide-and-seek with an array of predatory mechanical monsters. This is primarily adult-oriented fare with monotonously repetitive battles, chases and rescues taking up a running time of 79 minutes.
The arresting visuals of the imaginative creatures and the desolate landscape of junkyard ruins, striking sound effects and a rousing orchestral score are the movie’s strengths.
The basic survival story makes very little sense and never amounts to much. These creatures have bodies of zipped-up fabric and blinking binocular lenses for eyes. The numbers on their back convey their name, identity and distinctive characteristics. They do way too much talking. They are constantly describing their precarious predicament.
The movie borrows heavily from other better movies including “The Wizard of Oz” and “Pinocchio.” It could serve as a companion piece to last summer’s animated Oscar winner “WALL-E.”
The movie’s major shortcoming is that it is lacking in emotion and empathy for these strange 8-inch “stitch punk” creations. By the end of the movie, we really don’t care who they are or why they exist.
The superb voice talent includes Elijah Wood, Jennifer Connelly, John C. Reilly, Christopher Plummer, Martin Landau and Crispin Glover.
This movie is too serious, intense and frightening for younger children and could induce nightmares.
This marks a promising beginning for Acker, who has a bright future in cinema. He just needs to polish his storytelling skills and keep the explanatory dialogue to a minimum.
Keith Cohen "The Movie Guy"