BY CHARLY SHELTON
For those of you who have seen the Terminator films and thought, “I would really like to see burlap covered, six-inch tall critters fighting that machine,” this is your movie. In a post apocalyptic future, after the machines have turned on humanity and all but exterminated the humans, nine heroes rise from the dust. This film follows the ninth one (voiced by Elijah Wood). Like the eight before him, he has been given the spark of life. Made of nothing more than metal joints, wooden hands, burlap scraps, and broken machinery pieces but alive nonetheless, he is thrust into a world left dead. The last human has just died, and all that is left of the world is one surviving machine beast and the other eight burlap critters. But the eight are divided. One faction, led by number 1 (voiced by Christopher Plummer) hides in a church. Fear rules their lives. Every time the beast comes near, they hide in their church. That is until 9 comes. 2 (voiced by Martin Landau) has been taken by the beast, and the ever inquisitive and brave 9 wants to mount a rescue. He enlists the help of 5 (voiced by John C. Reilly) against the wishes of 1. Along the way, they find 7 (voiced by Jennifer Connelly) who had abandoned the group to fight the beast and find some answers to what happened. They embark on a quest to destroy the beast and its master and save all that’s left of humanity which is them.
This is a dark film. It looks like a kids’ movie, but it’s not. It’s rated PG-13. Surprisingly scary. The main machine is rather terrifying and all the other creatures that swarm out are very unique, as would be expected from Tim Burton, who produced the film. But the most shocking thing is the religious allegory. It was very tastefully done. At no point does it slap you in the face like most modern allegory films, but the nuances are just subtle enough to be understood. The basic idea is that the one side of the critter clan looks for answers and is very scientific minded, the point when 9 begins his life. But the other side relies solely on faith and hides in a church whenever the beast comes near, where 1 is leader. And, of course, being red and black in structure and theme, and living in fire and smoke, the machines are the Devil and Hell. But the message of the film is that neither faith alone nor strong headed science will bring out the truth. Only through investigation and understanding can you find the answers that will lead you to the Divine and destroy Evil.
I was blown away. After the film is done, and thinking back on all that had happened, there are so many connections that ties the whole film to that message, and faith in general. There may be several strong Christian allegories, Jesus and his death among them, and the overall message is not secular. It is one of faith, and of Good vs. Evil, no matter what name you give it. This movie will come and go. It may be lost in the ever flowing river of cinematic rabble that passes through the theaters. But it will be underestimated. This is now one of my favorite films because it has a great message for all people in all times, and because it was so tastefully done. See this movie – you won’t be disappointed.
Rated PG-13, this movie is good for all people to see, except for children who may be scared. Directed by Shane Acker, I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars.