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"9" is another post-apocalyptic tale, only this time with no human survivors "? just nine little humanoid thingies made out of gloves and bits of burlap. These critters are besieged by a machine that was invented by a human scientist with more intelligence than smarts "? this same machine was responsible for the destruction of civilization. None of the nine have names, only numbers.

None of them can reproduce, so there's no chance of them becoming the dominant life-form.

When one of them is captured by the machine, most of the others, following the lead of 1, write the loss off as irreversible. Only the recently sentient 9 wants to organize a rescue. And that's the plot.

Of course, the rescue effort is made and the suspense, such as it is, comes from wondering which of the thingies will survive. Since they can't reproduce and so even this simulated life will soon pass away, except as a lesson in existentialism, there isn't much point to any of this.

Produced by Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov ("Wanted"), plus six others, this animated techno-Goth film is a visual treat, although it makes the Earth of "Wall-E " look like the Garden of Allah by comparison. It's the first full-length directing credit for Shane Acker and features the voices of Elijah Wood, Christopher Plummer, Jennifer Connolly, Martin Landau, Crispin Glover and John C. Reilly.

Lovely to look at, boring to hear, easy to forget, "9" is less than the sum of its parts. I'd call it "4


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