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Animated 9 doesn't quite add up 

9 This animated offering is director Shane Acker's expansion of his own Oscar-nominated short film from 2005. That version ran 12 minutes; this one clocks in at 80 minutes, shorter than most theatrical releases but still thin enough to outstay its welcome by at least a quarter-hour. Set in a post-apocalyptic period caused by a gruesome battle between humans and the machines that ended up turning against them (sorry, no Arnold Schwarzenneger cameo this time around), the plot centers around a doll-like creature (voiced by Elijah Wood) identified by the "9" on his back. 9 discovers that humanity has been eradicated and mechanical monsters roam the earth, but he has no idea of his own origins or what his future might hold. He meets other rag dolls like himself – a warrior woman (Jennifer Connelly), a kindly scientist (Martin Landau), a scheming elder (Christopher Plummer), and more – and they argue as to whether they should continue to live in hiding or confront the enemy head-on. It's easy to see why Tim Burton signed on as a producer: The staggering visual scheme is dark, dank and dangerous, and characters often meet unexpected – and undesirable – fates (as the PG-13 rating suggests, this one clearly isn't for the wee ones). But these attributes, atypical for animation, are seriously undermined by a pedestrian end-of-the-world story line and by characters with zero personality. **1/2

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