Shane Ackers Unbelievably Beautiful *9* (inspiration for the upcoming Tim Burton film of the same name)

I really pretty much stumbled onto this movie (versus heard about it the instant it hit the web mainstream and commented on it gratuitously on all of the cool forums and boards so that later on I could say something ridiculous like “Well *I* knew about this movie the instant that Tim Burton woke up from a dream and decided to make it…ha!  You’re just NOW commenting on it??  Where have you been Grumms you loser!”  (thanks for making me feel good about myself again mom)…

…and unlike many of you, had no idea about the Tim Burton movie nor the original short by Shane Acker back in 2005 (wow!).  But you know, that’s really the amazing thing about the “interweb” (thanks Babylon 5 and The Simpsons for your lexicon), where we get all of this crazy informative information shoveled down our throats daily (seriously, even *I* sometimes ask myself “How the hell did they do it back in the day before we all had the internet?!?” (and I’m older than a lot of folks), and yet there are still these great gems…these priceless finds that you come across and make you say “holy fiddleshits!”

“9” is one of those.  I first saw the trailer…uh (less than 48 hours ago…fuck you mom) and was completely galvanized (lol…I really was just going to say “inspired” but that’s so old school…I really like the way “IT GALVANIZED ME!” sounds…Fuck yeah) by not only the beautiful animation (straight out of a Salvador Dali painting) but also this incredible story of a life and death struggle (reoccurring theme), in some far off fantasy land, with wickedly evil monsters and heroes spawned from of a dream.

And then as I watched the trailer it suddenly dawned on me (well technically it only dawned on me because the trailer specifically said “when our world ended” and then showed some humans battling either giant robots or other humans and then a capsule hits the ground with some kind of poison being released killing some flowers) that this world was post apocalyptic, and rather than being a far off fantasy land, it was now our future (or an alternate future)…very, very cool. On top of that, the cast is unreal…Elijah Wood, John C. Reilly, Crispin Glover, Christopher Plummer, Martin Landau, Jennifer Connelly.  If you missed our vid of the day earlier, here is the trailer for the movie.


The plot is set in an alternate universe where a rag doll called “9” (Elijah Wood) differentiates himself from the others as the leader that they desperately need.   “1” (Christopher Plummer) is a war veteran, “2” (Martin Landau), is an inventor, “5” (John C. Reilly) is a mechanic, “6” (Crispin Glover) is an artist and visionary, and “7” (Jennifer Connelly) is a warrior.  There is nothing on “3”, “4”, and “8” so either they are still trying to secure some top actors to play these parts or these characters are just going to be fodder…either way, this movie has me hooked.  But I want MORE!

So I dug deeper…to find as much information that I possibly could about this movie called “9”…and what better place to start then really, where I start with most trailers…the music.  And after a quick search, I stumbled on “Welcome Home” by these guys:  Coheed and Cambria.


The classical guitar is awesome at the beginning but I’m not a huge fan of the sound…maybe it’ll grow on me.  It’s probably like Faith No More…the first time I heard those guys, I completely hated them, and then over time, they really became one of my favorite bands.  I bet the more I listen to Coheed and Cambria, the more I’ll like their music.

More into Coheed and Cambria (which dabbles into “our” (Geek Flavor) world), they pretty much only put out “concept” albums which are based on a series of comic books written by lead singer Claudio Sanchez called The Amory Wars, which in a very tight and hard to crack nutshell is a sci fi tale about a guy (who is the foretold savior of the universe) that has his family killed and seeks revenge against the guy that did it.  Go and check out the link above for more information.  Like I said, I’m slurping up what Coheed and Cambria is slopping down (in a good way) and waiting to see what stays and what goes.  Leaning towards…this shit is pretty original good stuff.

So after I found the music, I used that as a stepping stone to find out who this “visionary director” Shane Acker was mentioned in the trailer.  My first stop…”google images”.

Yikes! Holy crap!  He’s one of US!  This is like one of those moon, stars, planets aligned kind of things.  You have this hauntingly beautiful trailer with a seemingly amazing story, a sci fi band that only sings about comics that are about a messianic guy from space that wants revenge for the guy that killed his family, and a super dork with a VISION that all of us share…GEEK MANA HEAVEN!

And then (as is usually the pattern, I first hit “google images” then I hit IMDB) I noticed an unusual entry on Shane Acker’s filmography…Sure “9” is in post production (and it’s set to be released on 9/9/2009…yeah mom I got it), but just below it, back in 2005, was another entry…for “9”.  Holy shit!

“There is another”

So I once again scoured the web for the ORIGINAL version of “9” and I came across this…a very dark, scary (indirectly pornographic? lol…hmm…the beginning is odd) movie short…that is just as beautiful and moving as the trailer for the 2009 movie.


Apparently Shane won all kinds of awards (and deservedly so) for his piece and as usual I must have been stuck in Revenge of the Sith mode in 2005 because this never hit my radar.   According to an interview he did with Animwatch, his story is

“Inspired by the work of stop motion animation masters Jan Svankmeyer, The Brothers Quay and the Lauenstein Brothers, I sought to immerse the audience in gritty textural world inhabited by creatures composed of fabric scraps and bits of broken machinery.The fantasy artwork of Zdzislaw Beksinski and photographs of European cities destroyed in World War II inspired the scenic design.The non-verbal narrative is loosely based on the old English Poem Beowulf, and relies heavily on pantomime, combined with strong composition and staging to tell the story

At this point, it doesn’t matter, I’m really really looking forward to this film and I’ll be ready for anything else geek infused, Shane tosses out into the mainstream.

4 thoughts on “Shane Ackers Unbelievably Beautiful *9* (inspiration for the upcoming Tim Burton film of the same name)

  1. Yeah I like Coheed and Cambria but they don’t really like us down here I heard. However, they are scheduled to perform with slipknot in Feburary. I actually wanna go I like slipknot. This movie nine seems wierd man.

  2. i saw the short “9” back in early ’06, not on youtube, and it definitely didn’t have the porn audio opening. don’t know how or why that has got in there.

  3. It’s really odd when you first hear it, but it does not necessarily distract from the film. There are so many elements of it that make you say “give me more!”. Very cool.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *