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My thoughts after seeing 9…

This is going to have MAJOR spoilers, including my thoughts on a new ending, so don't read if you don't want to know.

9 was awesome, for sure. Make no mistake. The visuals were stunning, and the world was amazing and beautiful. The characters were AWESOME. The thing that made them great was that each one had a purpose, but on their own they had no purpose, only once they came together did they have a real purpose...

But this was the problem in the end, 2 of the characters DIDN'T have a purpose. 1 and 2 didn't have a purpose, in fact, I learned more about them reading the wikipedia page than watching the movie, which isn't true of other characters. This was the flaw of the story; the buildup was great, and the action was INCREDIBLE, and then the story left you unfulfilled. 1 and 2 were poorly executed, and the ending was abrupt and lame. Come on: Everyone stays dead, but their spirits create microbial rain that repopulates life? Bullshit.

We need to talk about the relationship between 1, 2, and the scientist. To do this, you need to examine the part of the scientist's soul, the sense of purpose, each of the others have. 3 and 4 are the academics, the catalogers, the librarians, the foundation of their knowledge. This has a purpose in my new ending. 5 is the protege of 2, in theory, so you can say both were the builders, engineers, and healers, yet 5 had less of a sense of adventure, and with a more developed 2 could have filled out the part of the scientist's personality that was the student as much as 2 was the teacher which would have been a GREAT angle. 6 was clearly the artist and dreamer. 7 was the fighter, and the part of the scientist that leaps before thinking. 8 was the defender, the one who wanted to protect, and if 1's personality was more flushed out, we could have maybe understood what part of 1 8 was compelled to protect; think one part of the scientist's personality defending another, more important, deeper part. Finally 9 was the leader, the visionary, the one with the power to bring them together.

So who were 1 and 2? 2 was like 5, but more adventurous. I talked about it above and how the teacher/student stuff would have been interesting. Nonetheless, it's a moot point, he was in the movie for LITERALLY 4 minutes then he died and that's the end. Totally worthless, and from the trailer you almost got the sense he'd have a fatherly relationship with 9. Also, from the press stuff, you thought the conflict between 1 and 2 would be more prominent, almost like 2 would lead 9 to challenge 1, saying he himself would be unable. Which brings us to 1. What was 1's purpose? According to the Wiki page, "1, the oldest of the stitchpunks and their self-proclaimed leader of the tribe. He is clever and sly, but also domineering, irritable, quick-tempered and slow, if not unwilling, to trust 9. The Scientist described 1 as struggling out of his hands after his creation, and being stubborn and defiant." WTF is that, some kind of "he is the bad side of the scientist?" He's a crappy leader, an ass, and provides no help to the group except from keeping them away from everyone and thus alive. Only when 9 shows up does he occasionally deviate from his ways, with the barrel of oil and the cape. There's so much obvious depth to him that was left out I can't type it fast enough: He was the first of the characters who were to be tasked with saving humanity, his drive to protect them all would make sense except he lets like 4 of the ones there die (they weren't dead but he thought they were) and he did nothing to save humanity. Pointless! What was his purpose?

Finally, in the end, there's the fact that 5 of them die. This was a poor ending. First, the technology is THERE AND DEMONSTRATED to put parts of a soul into a stitchpunk. Second, we know they were all trapped inside the talisman. The decision to leave them all dead only to float into rain squanders several opportunities: the chance to give it a "happy ending" where they're all alive again, and the chance to let them work together in one more big display to drive the point home that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

Which brings me to my alternate ending. Start at the point where 1 sacrifices himself and 9 gets the talisman. Here's what should have happened: With the BRAIN dead and nothing left alive but the punks, they should have taken the talisman and ventured out to repair their comrades. Cut to a scene where some time has passed, they've collected the bodies in the scientist's lab, repaired them (leaving much visible damage) POSSIBLY using the twins' knowledge to put them back together as they'd have scanned everything in there. They set up the talisman and everything and BOOM everyone is back. Cut to 7 doing a "what do we do now?" as she's the fighter, but has no purpose now that there's no real enemies. Here's where 1 and 2 can shine: 1 understands the purpose, when the scientist created him he was the first when the scientist had just begun saving humanity and 1's purpose is to have the tools to revive humanity if all else fails. It sets up the fact that he made himself the de-facto leader and that his goal was to protect all the other punks knowing they were needed to save humanity, choosing to hide rather than fight. It helps to explain 8 as well; if the punks started to get damaged the scientist would make a punk to protect 1, seeing as how 1 would be the key to reviving humanity. 1 finds some sort of contraption built by the scientist that's purpose is to revive humanity somehow, but it's broken. Cue 2, who has been compulsively collecting parts based on 6's earlier prophecies (makes sense, 2 being an engineering type, 6 being the one with more knowledge about what is needed). A better writer could make more details of this scene, but start to picture them all working together to put together some sort of device, you have a chance to see 2 and 1 work together and have 9 smooth out their relationship. Finally, the device is built again, and 1 begins to operate it. Throw in some drama and intrigue: an arm on the device almost breaks as a cable snaps and 8 quickly uses his strength to hold it together; they need a wire quick and 2 remembers finding some way up on a shelf and 7 hops from object to object to go get it; The device isn't working and 6 draws something showing it needs sunlight or something and 5 quickly fashions a mirror to shine some down. Point is, BIG DRAMATIC WORKING TOGETHER. Finally, the machine almost works, and 1 orders them all to put their faces into slots, and it sucks the green soul out and the machine succeeds; It causes time travel back, or it revives the scientist, or it operates an embryo machine to make babies, or brings someone out of stasis, I don't know, some kind of plot device where the result is a group of human beings are walking around. The point is, ALL the stitchpunks are dead, not a select group, and instead of stupid rain microbes, actual humanity is saved. A real writer fills in the details.

I know much of the decision to keep the ending how it was with the little cemetery scene was motivated by keeping in line with the short; this can still happen by having the revived human burying them all and having their green souls rise up and walk around, like they did in the short (where they did NOT ascend into the clouds). Also, part of me fears that the reason they let 4 stitchpunks live is to set up a sequel, which SHOULD NOT happen. ALL OF THEM NEED TO DIE.

So there's my ending. It fleshes out the characters, provides a more satisfying ending what with humanity being revived, it closes the story of the 9, it provides a cathartic action scene at the end, and we see that 1 wasn't a crazy old fart, he actually had a purpose (other than reluctantly helping the group, being ornery, and then suddenly sacrificing himself). Shane Acker, Tim Burton, make this an alternate ending on the DVD!

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