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Arts & Culture

Tim Burton at Comic-Con: "9" is Visually Stunning

Still from Shane Acker's "9"
Still from Shane Acker's "9"

This is Tim Burton's first appearance at Comic-Con since he's become Tim Burton. When he was just a student at CalArts and not yet famous, he came down to San Diego for Comic-Con and it scarred him. He tells MTV News: “I’ll never forget this, and it’s probably why I haven’t been back since, because it was so terrifying. They had a slideshow for the original ‘Superman,’ and in the middle of it some fan gets up and just very angrily goes, ‘Superman would not change into his costume on the ledge of a building! You are destroying the mythology of Superman!’ And he got up and walked out, followed by other people. That scared the s–t out of me! So I haven’t been back since then.”

Burton found a kinder, gentler audience for the new animated film "9", which he produced (along with Timur Bekmambetov, director of "Wanted"). The film is about a group of 9 little creatures who battle an army of machines that has destroyed the world. It's actually directed by Shane Acker, who made a short film of the same title, which was nominated for an Academy Award. In addition to Burton and Acker, the panel included Timur Bekmambetov, Jennifer Connelly and Elijah Wood, the latter two did voice work for the film.

Burton seemed a little overwhelmed at the panel, or at least not used to holding court with such a large fan base. He got lots of questions about how to break into the business and he graciously encouraged folks to follow their passions. Acker was quite poised for a man sitting in front of 6,400 fans. He talked about wanting to mimic the stop-motion aesthetic for the look of the film. And then they showed footage that was not only action packed, but really beautiful. These 9 characters are so interesting to look at and full of expression, despite having minimal facial features. Their eyes are just steampunk-esque goggles, but in the footage I saw, they manage to express fear, sadness and awe.


"9" opens in theaters nationwide on September 9th. Check out the trailer.

Tim Burton's 9