9: Socialism on the Silver Screen?

When I saw the trailer for 9, I was so impressed with the animation that I headed straight to the late show on opening night. I expected it to be easy on the eyes, but I didn’t expect the political undertones—especially in a kids’ flick.

Tim Burton’s new release tells the story of nine rag dolls facing an army of beast machines in a world in which the human race has died off. The characters struggle against a power-hungry capitalist system, but find that sacrifice and a sense of community are what they need to defeat “The Great Machine.”

I don’t mind seeing an immoral government in a kids’ movie, but I have to wonder: Is Hollywood trying to warn children about the risks—the greed, the want, the environmental destruction—of a capitalist society?

It’s heavy stuff. I thought the progress-at-all-cost message was clear, but I’d think most kids would look right past that for the action-packed scenes and adventure.

9 paints a dark picture of society, but kids will learn that, even in the worst of times, there’s room for individuality. They’ll learn that the pursuit of happiness is always worthwhile. They’ll learn, like I did, that great things are possible when people are courageous and care about each other.

Even though 9 is visually impressive, I’m pretty sure I won’t be taking my 5-year-old daughter to see it now—or even when she’s older. She’s a sensitive gal who wouldn’t enjoy seeing characters in constant danger and she wouldn’t enjoy seeing some of them die. The film’s rated PG-13, and it’s for a good reason.

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