"The apocalypse has definitely worked its way into kiddie fare," said Claudia Puig in USA Today. Shane Acker's new animated sci-fi fantasy 9 (watch the trailer), in which "humanity has been obliterated" and only "a ragtag group of doll-like characters" remains, is "a bleak tale for a young audience." But considering the "success of last year's masterful WALL·E," don't be surprised to see a whole "subgenre of animated family films set in a devastated landscape."
The animated 9 is certainly "a long way from Madagascar 2," said Peter Hartlaub in the San Francisco Chronicle, and "taking your very small child to this movie is only a slightly better idea than a trip to The Final Destination." But although "children still watching Tigger videos should stay away, older kids will enjoy the bloodless action and awesomeness infused into nearly every frame."
"Any optimism in 9, which is bound to try the fortitude of meeker children," said Wesley Morris in The Boston Globe, "feels hard-won." But that's its strength. Kids’ movies like Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs seem content "with turning apocalypse into a Happy Meal—it's a synthetically tidy, somewhat insincere entertainment." That's not the case with 9—and that's why it's unforgettable.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
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