Friday, September 18, 2009

Burton-Acker's 9 as a mythology

From the previous post, you can gather that '9' wasn't exactly my favorite animated film (that title still goes to The Emperor's New Groove). However, I have to acknowledge its strengths... it was moody and visually/thematically consistent, and there was something very visceral and compelling about how commited it was to its mythology.

After all, this mythology is truly unique. This is a film that takes place in a truly doomed world... even Mad Max and Al Gore saw hope at the end of the tunnel, assuming the world could be saved in some unforseen sequel. 9 has no such hope. In this strange future, humans are literally extinct, and it's left up to one small group of automatons, formed from one man's soul, to take revenge on the machines, and then to sit tight for as long as possible, until they crumble into dust.

Why do I call this a mythology? In a sense, it contains all the essential biblical elements: an explanation of the beginning of the world, given to the prophet (9 himself) by the lost creator; a provision of moral responsibility, in the form of a commitment to preserve the human soul; and an implicit understanding that the world will be ending before too long, so you just have to bide time until everything dissolves into dust.

I would like to take this opportunity to translate 9's mythology into the language of a biblical text. I'm very sorry for these little animated rag-dolls, having to live in such a tragic post-human world. I really hope we don't consign any poor second-generation creature to this fate when we actually do find ourselves dying out.

Jesse's brief bible of 9:

There was once a single mind in the universe, containing all the thought that would ever exist. In its infinite awareness of the universe it was inhabiting, this mind became a creator, and created many wonderful things. However, it was lonely, and presumed that because it had all the thought that would ever be, it was qualified to create something barely thinkable: it decided to create another mind, equal to itself. Thus, the first mind created a second mind, its brother in the universe.

However, this new mind was not born in loneliness, so it did not see First Mind as an indispensible companion -- it saw him as a competitor for the thought that the universe contained. Knowing it had created an equal, and realizing it had created its counterpart, a destroyer, the first mind protected its infinite content in the only way it could: it fragmented itself into its fundamental components, destroying itself and denying its brother the ability to compete with it.

These components became a new race of 9, left in a world made hostile by the conflict between two great forces of thought. As the sole creative components of an empty universe, containing the fragments of its total conceptual substance, they took up the role of staving off the destruction of the world as long as possible -- a destruction that their own father had initiated by creating a brother who was to become a rival. A destruction that, however valiant the efforts of the 9, would ultimately be inevitable.

Okay, that was fun. I hope it brings a new angle to the movie, or at the very least, somebody out there finds it amusing.


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