Nine Lives online movie review - The Purrfect Summer Movie
In case there is any doubt, there are cats, real ones, in Nine Lives not zombies/vampires/ax-wielding psychopaths (choose one) that come alive every nine years to terrorize a village/teens/family (choose one) with blood and gore abound.
So unless you at least like cats a little, you may not like Nine Lives. But I can tell you that the kids in the audience I was in--loved it. And so did the adults who came to the movie with me. (Yeah, OK, I admit we like cats.) And I think in the end that may be all that matters. What saddens me are the many critics, and wannabe critics who are trashing, and I mean trashing, this film. Now that they have had their opinions and comments, everyone has a right to MY opinions and comments. Here are a few...
I grew up going to see Disney live action family comedy/fantasy films such as The Shaggy Dog (to which this film is similar), The Absent Minded Professor, Son of Flubber, the Love Bug films and so on. (I think the great theatre actress Helen Hayes was in a Love Bug.) Were these Oscar caliber films? No, they were made to be good family entertainment. Did Oscar award winning actors appear in them...you bet your life they did. If in doubt, check IMDb for the casts of Disney live action films made in the 50's 60's and 70's.
I liked the characters in the film, their connections to each other, and the love shown throughout the film. (Note: I am not mentioning Kevin Spacey, Christopher Walken, Jennifer Garner et al. here, because I saw them as characters not actors. One of the criticisms of the film is that some critics could not believe a certain actor(s) would make this kind of film or play that kind of part. That is not a criticism. Actors play all kinds of characters. It's their job. So I look at how well they played the characters. Were the characters believable? I admit there is some broad character acting. This is not uncommon, however, in a fantasy/comedy, especially one playing to a kid audience. So taking this into consideration?were they believable for a comedy/fantasy film? Yes. Back to what I liked about the characters--I loved that the daughter clearly loved BOTH her mother and her neglectful father. I loved that the ex wife and wife, both very different people, were friends. I loved that the older step brother loved his younger step sister, loved his father and was loyal to him despite the rude things his father said to him. I loved that family love remained constant, although wavering at times, even when the head of the family had a difficult time sharing his love with them. In a cynical world, this kind of family love does not exist, but we can hope for it.
Third, I liked the story. Nine Lives is a comedy but it is also a fantasy. I think this is what some of the critics forget. Fantasy requires that we believe things that may not be possible or logical. If we believe all the things Harry Potter and his friends did, why can't we believe a man could change places with a cat to learn a lesson. (By the way, one of the professors in Harry Potter could change into a cat?and she was an Academy Award/Emmy winner.) I do think the business story about the tallest building was weak, but I think that may matter more to adults than kids. (And, who knows it might be the kind of thing that might matter to someone like, say...Mr. Trump.) This part of the story gave an opportunity for the villain(s)to be established, and again for the son to show his loyalty and love for his father and his father's ultimate love for him.
Fourth, and this is a personal/technical thing...it was not animated, except for CG effects. I love animated films. Some of my favorite films are animated. In fact there was 15 minutes of nothing but animated film previews before this film started. I felt it was nice to see actual humans...and cats...for a change. Thankfully, too, the cat's mouth is not animated to look like it's talking. There is no Academy Award to-be-nominated song, although I did like "Three Cool Cats".
So I can't trash this film. It made me laugh. It made me feel good. The underlying message is simple, love your family...if you are human, you only live once so do it right. And if this message is cliché, it can't be said enough, especially in these times. So, if just this is enough motivation for you or you and your kids to see it...Don't paws, go!
PS: By the way, real cats are not allowed in the movie theatre. They will need to wait for the DVD. But I hear that stuffed toy cats are welcome.