A couple of years ago, when I first saw the movie 9, I thought I perceived in it a new kind of dramatic structure. Having just watched it, I see now that I was wrong. The film is structured as a number of clear sequences—seven or so (I haven’t studied the film). And as such, it is a pretty typical story structure. The only notable thing about it is that, as usual for animated features, it is much more tightly structured than most films.
Regardless of all this, it is a wonderful film—the kind of story that I am naturally attracted to. And it is beautiful to look out. There is more creativity in every frame than there is in whole Hollywood films. Take, for example, the funeral of 2 where the others send his body off on a boat in a body of water. Before he is sent off, however, the others put a coin over his eyes. That’s really wonderful: sort of Norse, sort of Greek.
What is wonderful about this film is the way that it uses archetypes. It has the Intellectual, the Hero, the Inventor. My favorite (as always) is the Mystic. There is an unfortunate unwritten rule that says the Mystic has to die at the end of the second act. See, for example, Lord of the Flies. But while watching the film, I had a sad thought. These stories are filled with interesting types of people, but in real life, most people are just slight variation on the Follower. And that especially applies to our so called leaders, who have all the originality of a Benny Hill rerun (with all due respect to the man).
I know that I’m coming off as elitist here. But I don’t think I am in fact elitist. There is just something about any society (and ours most especially) that kills individuality and therefore life. It makes most men of my age far too interested in professional sports and not at all interested in movie musicals from the 1950s. But that in itself would be okay if all that specialization of interest led to a deep appreciation. But it doesn’t. I think the vast majority of baseball fans have no more understanding (and often less) than I do. And that’s just sad.
No wonder I want to hang out with animated dolls like 6 and 2 and 7 and 5 and 9. They are all so alive.
For the record: I really like baseball. It’s about the only professional sport I enjoy watching. But even still, I would rather watch the minor leagues.