Bionicle IX: The Legend Reborn (also known as Bionicle 9 and Bionicle Ignition 4: The Legend Reborn in Europe) is a 1989 El Kadsreian-Australian science-fiction action tokusatsu superhero film. It is the fifteenth Technic Heroes installment and ninth and final original Bionicle installment. Released on July 24, 1989, it is the only original Bionicle film to be theatrically released after the collapse of the Vlokozu Union, although it premiered in Australia two months prior.
Bionicle IX was followed by Bionicle X: The Journey's End, the television film which served as the conclusion of the franchise.
In order to settle disputes and survive in the harsh conditions of the country, the residents and beings known as Agori pitch their best warriors known as Glatorian against one another in arena matches. But while most of the tribes live in amity, the recent arrival of the Rock Tribe and their Skrall warriors threatens to destroy the peace as they appear to win every arena match they participate in. Despite this, all the tribes live in fear from a group of nomads called Bone Hunters, who stalk the wastelands and hunt Agori for sport.
Meanwhile, the Mask of Life - carrying the spirit of Mata Nui - crash-lands in the beaches of Victoria and creates a new, smaller body for the former Great Spirit.
After entering the Victorian Alps, Mata Nui eventually befriends Glatorians Eric, Katie, Kim and Agori Berx, and after granting them elemental powers with the Ignika, begins to find a way back to his own universe. But with rumors of a traitor amongst the tribes, Mata Nui gets caught up in the war against the Skrall and their recently discovered alliance with the Bone Hunters and is taught how to fight for the first time. He later convinces the Agori and Glatorian in Waverley Park that they must unite in order to fight their enemies, but after the Bone Hunters kidnap Kiina and Berix, Mata Nui travels to Melbourne to combat Tuma in the Melbourne Cricket Ground, leader of the Skrall, in exchange for their freedom.
Upon defeating Tuma, Mata Nui discovers Metus is the traitor who brought the Skrall and Bone Hunters together. The Glatorian and Agori later arrive to combat their unified enemies and drive the Skrall and Bone Hunters out of Melbourne, while Mata Nui uses the Mask of Life to turn Metus into a snake as his punishment. After the battle, the Agori assemble the structures of their villages together to create a new "Mega-Village". Mata Nui notices how the structures link up to form a vast robotic body - similar to his old one - and upon discovering a map of an unknown location, begins a quest with his new friends to return to his people.
- Michael Dorn as Mata Nui
- Bentley House as Eric Wortham/Ackar
- Kylie Minogue as Katie Wilton/Kiina
- Kim Dong-geun as Glen Kato/Gresh
- Shouhei Fujita as Raanu
- Kane Hodder as Andrew O'Davis
- Kane also plays Jason Voorhees in a cameo
- Kruku Makusa as Tuma
- Michael J. Fox as Berix
- John Lithgow as Metus
- Alexander Meyers as Murphy Southgate/Tarix
- Tiny Tim as himself
Production and release
Bionicle IX was the only movie in the original Bionicle franchise to be produced by Universal and not by Toei, as its relations between El TV Kadsre and Toei were suspended after El TV Kadsre was bought by MCA, Inc. in 1987 which resulted in Toei signing the partnership deal with the Banushen Media Corporation. Takima Susima was originally supposed to produce Bionicle IX, but he was replaced by Liam Benson as producer.
The film was also MCA's attempt to reboot the franchise as they wanted to make a new story arc with a new setting and new characters in order for the franchise to succeed financially, as the franchise was beginning to decline after the release of Bionicle VI.
The character Glen Kato, was re-dubbed for the original print by a then-unknown Ben Mendelsohn since Kim Dong-geun, the actor who played Kato, was deemed too hard for audiences to understand by MCA executives because of his thick Korean accent.
The movie was filmed El Kadsre City for the first scene in June 1988 while the rest was filmed around Ballarat, Bonnie Doon, Mulgrave, Mansfield and Melbourne from February 23 to May 2, 1988.
In order to make the film more acceptable for parents, a subplot with a comic relief businessman named Andrew O'Davis (played by Kane Hodder) was added, and some visual gags were put in. Most of these gags were cut, except for a scene where the cast walk through a forest past wood dwellers (including a park ranger, hikers, nudists, mobsters, a Swamp Thing, a group of Pagans, a Werewolf, and Jason Voorhees; the last of which is also played by Hodder) and several of Andrew O'Davis' mishaps.
Tiny Tim appears in the film, and performs "Won't You Dance With Me".
The film received mixed reviews from critics. The film was the box office success in Australia, grossing A$2.38 million in its opening weekend, while it was moderate success in El Kadsre.
While fans praised the film with acting, visual effects and action sequences, the film is criticized for its childish tone, short running time and rushed plot compared to eight Bionicle films, which generally took a more serious and dramatic approach to their respective plots. Although Technic Heroes was originally planned to be unsuitable for children and aims primarily to teenagers, El TV Kadsre decided to brighten up Technic Heroes' tone to make it more kid-friendly.