Alex Pettyfer plays John, aka Number Four. Although he looks like your typical high schooler, he’s actually an alien from a planet called Lorien. After an evil race of creatures called the Mogadorians destroyed their home, he, along with eight others, travelled to Earth to escape. They are the only ones of their kind left, but the Mogadorians are on their way to take them out. The catch is they must be killed in order. Unfortunately, Number Three has just been killed and Number Four is next.
That’s as basic as a story can get. And it’s close to the stupidest. It’s a narrative of such little consequence that your pre-movie concession counter snack decision will hold more weight. I Am Number Four is an incredibly shallow film with a few snazzy effects and some flashy action scenes that may cause some to defend it, but those people would be looking past the plethora of problems that persist.
If there were to ever be one, definitive example of a film with a “hip” teenage build to it,I Am Number Four would be it. It tries so hard to be, like, you know, totally rad man, but it’s washed in clichés. Slow motion explosion walk-aways, the aforementioned water sporting, hot chicks on motorcycles and one random cliff diving scene beg the teen audience to latch onto it. Just in case that doesn’t work, however, it does everything it can to be angsty, even going so far as to include a soundtrack full of bad pop songs with lyrics about being “invisible.” Adding to that is the poorly developed and overly cheesy budding relationship between Number Four and Sarah (Dianna Agron), a photography obsessed girl who sees the beauty in everything, that would make the lovesick ninnies in Twilight gag.
This too-cool-for-school-yet-still-emotionally-distraught-over-everything tween attitude is, frankly, too much to bear, but I Am Number Four fails in more ways than just in its limited scope. It’s also one of the most shoddily produced movies I’ve seen in quite some time, featuring poor pacing and writing that makes spoof movies look cohesive. At times, there is so little feeling of an actual threat that random, unnecessary interjections of the Mogadorians shopping and humoring themselves by scaring little children seep their way in, seemingly to remind us that, yes, the movie will indeed be going somewhere at some point. But the fact that it takes so long to get there is what is so objectionable. Take, for example, Henri (Timothy Olyphant), Four’s warrior guardian, whose only job is to keep the kid safe at all costs. The possibilities for experimentation are endless, but the only major security measurement he takes is to ensure no pictures of Four end up online. These Mogadorians have mastered the ability to travel across vast expanses of space, but evidently rely solely on Google to get their information.
More problems persist in the sea of vapid idiocy that is I Am Number Four. My only fear is that I didn’t do a proper job of explaining just how awful it is, though that’s a feat with which I imagine many would struggle. Some movies are so bad they transcend a proper description. This is one them.
I Am Number Four receives 0.5/5
==Written by Josh Hylton ==
==From: Josh Hylton Movies (www.joshhylton.com)==
This is a really good movie. It did not make back the sixty million it took to make it, but it seems to be doing good in it’s first week of rental release. Hopefully this is one of those films that will do very well in the rental category. I hope so, because it’s a very nice story. In the beginning, it’s fairly slow developing which gives us time to learn the back story of where John came from and at the same time, gives us the opportunity to know him and what kind of person he is. It’s a love story, high school, with the usual gang of geeks and bullies, and very much like the Twilight series with aliens instead of mythical creatures. Then in the last half, it catches on and gets really action packed as the bad guys show up and a huge showdown is inevitable. This is Twilight like as well. It’s a fresh story though, even though it’s similar. The special effects and the creatures are spectacular, and the fight scenes are awesome.
I had a lot of technical difficulties with the DVD I received from NetFlix though. I’m not sure whether it was just that one disk, or if something else was wrong, but I could not play it with WinDVD on the laptop, and my two DVD players failed. Finally I tried an old DVD burner that I have had for years, and it played, although several times I got “bad media” errors, and a couple times the DVD froze and had to be restarted to make it work again. But it was certainly worth the effort, and I am happy I was able to see it and not have to return it as unwatchable. I hope other copies of the disk do not have similar problems, as the disk itself is brand new, and looks pristine.
I certainly hope this stunning science fiction film does well in rentals, as we know of 5 of the 9 people, but still have 4 to find out about, where they are and what they are up to. And we know they have ugly bad guys coming to look for them. The ending is perfectly setup for a sequel, but it may never get made if the film does not find its legs. It would be a shame to miss the rest of the stories, for sure.
I recommend this film for anyone who is a science fiction fan, as it is a great alien adventure.
==Written by Ed Goettman ==
==From: Ed's Review Dot Com (www.edsreview.com)==
Screen Rant’s Roth Cornet reviews I Am Number Four
I Am Number Four is an amalgamation of every conceivable snare for both the male and female teenage animal. With thematic and visual references to classic teen-angst romances such as Rebel Without A Cause and the contemporary paranormal young-love phenomenon The Twilight Saga, as well as a third act infusion of the Michael Bay-brand action, I Am Number 4 shamelessly grasps for every last leaf on the young-adult movie money tree.
Using a sci-fi (rather than paranormal) template as the backdrop for the story, the film attempts to appeal to the boys and distinguish itself from the popular made-for-girls romances of the day, such as The Vampire Diaries and, of course, the aforementioned Twilight. The film does take advantage of certain romantic conceits found in the paranormal genre, however, such as the biologically-compelled faithfulness of perfectly constructed men.
I Am Number Four tells the tale of Number 4/John Smith, the fourth of nine alien children who were forced to flee their home planet of Lorien, after it was brutally ravaged by the evil (and wretchedly unattractive) Mogadorians. Herein lies the film’s first moral lesson to the youth of the world: Bad folks = ugly, good folks = Abercrombie & Fitch, no guess work required.
The “Mogs” must kill each of the nine children in numerical order (for arbitrary reasons) before the children can manifest their “legacies” (super-powers) and utilize them to stop the Mogs’ attempt take over the Earth (also for arbitrary reasons). You would think the Mogs would be reveling in their recent conquer of Lorien, but no.
Number Four/John Smith played by Alex Pettyfer -- truly one of the most gorgeous young men the British Isles have ever produced -- has chosen this moment to claim his independence from his mentor/protector Henri, played by Timothy Olyphant. The threat of immanent death, the destruction of a second planet, and failing to fulfill the promise of his destiny, is seemingly not enough motivation for John to discourage a cute girl from taking his photo (repeatedly) and posting it on her website for all the world (and the Mogadorians) to see.
The shutter-bug in question is a recent member of the outsiders portion of the high-school populace. Sarah, played by Glee’s Dianna Agron, is no ordinary nerd, however. No, she is the coveted cheerleader-turned-hispter-artist, who is too deep for the superficiality of high school (kind of like her character on Glee) . She even comes equipped with an array of 35 mm cameras with which to shoot her damning portraits, a knit cap to demonstrate her superior sense of suburban-bohem, and perfect beauty – lest we forget what is really important (please refer to Number 4′s lesson one for the youth).
Sarah has a hangover from her days with the “in” crowd, in the form of an over-zealous ex-boyfriend. Guess which sport he plays? Hint, it’s not figure skating. Leaving no cliche unmolested it’s football. Of course he and his gang of stereotypical Midwest gombas harass the school geek, who our gallant Number Four (shockingly) takes it upon himself to defend.
Sam (Callan McAuliffe), the geek in question, is relentlessly teased due to his father’s belief in, and discovery of, the Lorien alien species. Four quickly becomes best friends with Sam the geek and falls in love with Sarah the sexually serene via the magic of the movie-montage, as well as Four’s previously-mentioned biological imperative to love only one woman forever. Apparently it is not enough to fall in love anymore -- now a love story must guarantee the happily-ever-after via the genetic imprisonment of the boy. Apparently this is the bone being thrown to young adult girls, who might otherwise be worried about following their hearts into alien Armageddon.
For the boys, there is a second gorgeous blond female character -- a hot girl who kicks mad “Mog” butt and straddles a motorcycle (yep). Six, played by the sizzling Teresa Palmer (Lorien either did not create unattractive people, or did not allow them survive their global Apocalypse), has been on the trail of Four and the “Mogs” in an attempt to bring the fight to the villains. Fortunately Six arrives just in time for the most exiting portion of the film, a genuinely well-construed and entertaining end action sequence in which, in true teen fantasy style, the High-School is wrecked, and entire football field is destroyed. Cue the end credits.
Despite the ludicrously manipulative story structure, the young actors deliver fine performances. They are committed to their roles and are perhaps the only people involved in the production (other than director DJ Caruso) who are sincere about their investment in the project. The film is well-made in the sense of being well shot, with mostly well-done effects work and strong action sequences, as mentioned.
The real issue with I Am Number Four is that it so obviously reads as pandering. Movies are incredibly hard to make, and in general there is a lot that can be forgiven in the face of what a film is offering: a simple good-time, a laugh, and/or a daring approach that others are not taking. Some would claim that I Am Number Four was not made for adults as a way to explain and excuse its flaws. Yet, the film’s greatest weakness is indeed its overt and insincere grab at its young adult target demographic.
Given the opportunity to create a coming-of-age story (of a sort), the filmmakers did not choose to make a Stand By Me, an E.T., or even a unique and engaging alien-romance such as Starman (which the filmmakers clearly reference). No, there is no passion in this project, no heart, and little-to-no sincere investment in the story on the part of the creators. There is merely a financially-motivated attempt to spoon-feed regurgitated ideas from poorly constructed sources to an impressionable audience these filmmakers owe more to.
Producers Steven Spielberg and Michael Bay hired Smallville writing partners Alfred Gough and Miles Millar to work on the script, in tandem with I Am Number Four book series authors Jobie Hughes and controversial A Million Little Pieces author James Frey, writing under the pen name Pittacus Lore. (Side note: Pittacus Lore is a character who plays a significant role in the book series, but is not seen in the film.) In other words, screenwriters Gough and Millar worked in concurrence with Hughes and Frey in order to construct a unified version of the book and the film, with each informing the other, rather than adapting the film from a book which was created organically, with story in mind first and foremost.
It is natural, in any business, to in some ways model or emulate what has been a successful formula for others. This film, however, feels a bit like a group of investors got together and opened a “MacDougals” chain in the hopes that at least some portion of the population would either mistake it for McDonalds, or wouldn’t care that it was a knock-off, so long as they received their high-fat, high-salt, food-product infusion. The original lacks nutrition at best, and is harmful at worst; the copy lacks nutrition, imagination, and integrity.
Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of this film’s formula is that it is likely going to work. Box office projections indicate that I Am Number Four will win as the highest-grossing film in its opening weekend -- a feat that will promise us much more of the same hollow and derivative cinema in the years to come.
==Written by Ross Miller==
==From: Movie World (www.movie-world.moonfruit.com)==
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