Backed by Tim Burton, digital animator Shane Acker has expanded his Oscar-nominated short 9 into a full-length feature whose splendid visuals are dragged down by a tedious story. The short was nightmarish in its obscurity: the title character, a heavy-hipped burlap doll equipped with a zipper down its trunk and camera-like irises for eyes, races mutely around a dim, post-apocalyptic junkyard, pursued by a spindly mechanized beast with an animal skull for a head. In the feature this all becomes part of a hoary, nonsensical narrative in which a Nazi-like political party has enslaved humanity with a race of machines and a renegade scientist has created nine mechanical dolls to save the world. Elijah Wood, Christopher Plummer, John C. Reilly, Martin Landau, Crispin Glover, and Jennifer Connely supply voices for some of the numerated dolls, which remain stubbornly interchangeable. PG-13, 79 min.
Director: Shane Acker
Writer: Pamela Pettler
Producer: Timur Bekmambetov, Tim Burton and Jim Lemley
Cast: Elijah Wood, Jennifer Connelly, Martin Landau, Christopher Plummer, John C. Reilly and Crispin Glover