I Am Number Four

2011-03-28 11:16
 
I Am Number Four
What it's about:

John Smith (played by Alex Pettyfer) is a fugitive alien in human form being pursued by the Mogadorians, a race who invaded his home planet Lorien. Under the protection of his warrior keeper Henri (Timothy Olyphant), John assumes the identity of a teenager - but his number is up.

What we thought:

At worst, I Am Number Four can be accused of attempting to be the new Twilight. It's based on a mildly popular young adult fantasy novel of the same name by Pittacus Lore (a sequel, The Power of Six, is expected to be published later this year) and is concerned with a dire battle between good and evil with an intense romance at its core.

So while all the hero elements are familiar, I Am Number Four is (thankfully) not nearly as joyless or up itself as Stephenie Meyer's tale of vampires and werewolves - it's just far less ambitious. We first meet John Smith (the common name is intentional) as a cocky, fun-loving, typical teen living in Florida, but destiny comes calling when his legs light up and video footage of the incident make it onto the web. So John and his long-suffering guardian Henri are forced to move yet again - this time to a small Ohio town.

Turns out that John is one of nine powerful children sent to Earth by the leaders of his planet to escape the invading Mogadorians and hopefully return to free their people. Each child is identified by a number (no guesses what John's is) and for some, unexplained reason, they each have to be killed in numerical sequence. With the first three dead, it's John's turn to discover his gift and fight back.

In Alex Pettyfer's John we have a typical teen hero - chiselled, strapping, handicapped by an attitude and disdain for authority that will likely come in handy when the time comes. Other than the fact that his superpower should prove useful during a power outage, there isn't much to distinguish John from just about any other teenager. He mopes, he rages at nothing and doesn't show much promise as a hero. Even less intriguing is his love-at-first-sight connection with Sarah (played by Glee's Dianna Agron, with whom Pettyfer enjoyed a brief, real-life fling), a sappy local girl who loves taking photographs and was once a bad girl. Oh, how much more interesting this movie would have been had she stayed that way.

But fear not, there's a badass chick following John too - Number Six (Aussie actress Teresa Palmer). She's so hardcore she rides a motorbike, calmly walks away from huge explosions without flinching and packs a mean roundhouse kick. She does help kick the movie into a higher gear though, heralding a rush of epic battle scenes and tighter pace just as the schmaltzy, painfully tedious romance threatened to cause widespread hara-kiri.

By the time Number Six makes her appearance, it becomes hard to tell I Am Number Four from the wealth of science fiction it's been cribbed from. It plays like a patchwork of elements from The Terminator and Spider-Man, Superman and even Doctor Who, carelessly put together with little regard for character or suspense. Why should we even care about John, his home planet or the other surviving Lorien children? From the evidence presented here, John doesn't even seem like a particularly nice person to begin with.

The only actor who seems to be making an effort is Timothy Olyphant whose silent sighs and commanding screen presence makes his scenes a highlight in a sea of mediocrity. Everyone else, so bland in their fashion catalogue prettiness, do little to even grab your attention. That function has been left to the too-on-the-nose alternative rock soundtrack, blasting current hits from bands like Kings of Leon, The Temper Trap and even South Africa's Civil Twilight.

So while I Am Number Four may consider itself in line to the throne soon to be vacated by The Twilight Saga and - shudder to think - Harry Potter, it's closer in spirit to an MTV production - disposable, soulless and only mildly fun. That sequel is threatening somewhere on the horizon, though it's hard to tell why they should even bother.


It may consider itself in line to the throne soon to be vacated by The Twilight Saga and Harry Potter, but it's closer in spirit to an MTV production.
Read more on:    alex pettyfer  |  dianna agron  |  review  |  movies

Sam 2011/03/28 10:04 AM
Another load of nonsence from my favorite Shaheema! I remember your top 10 worst movie selection also being a load of bull! This was an awesome "popcorn" movie, I did not excpect anyting more and will definitely add it to my DVD collection!
JK 2011/03/28 10:27 AM
  • Rating:
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
Ha! How is 'popcorn movie' somehow a defence for mediocre films? I go to the movies to be entertained, not to eat popcorn! This had some fun parts but was most irritating. even Twilight's better!
Eric 2011/03/28 11:06 AM
  • Rating:
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
I actually agree with Sam. Watched the movie last night. Was pretty entertaining stuff, with pretty cool effects. The story isn't way out, which kind of makes it possible to relate to if you're a fan of superhero movies :P
Des 2011/03/28 3:29 PM
  • Rating:
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
I went and watched the movie as i was too late for the starting time my intended "watch". I found it quite relaxing and entertaining, albeit a bit predicatable. A good movie for the boys to go watch.
Doh 2011/03/28 4:16 PM
  • Rating:
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
This movie deserved at least 3.5/5 for pure entertainment. I have read some of Shameheema's reviews and they are almost always in contradiction with what general viewers think of a movie. Find something else to review please.
Anon 2011/03/28 7:36 PM
  • Rating:
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
the movie was okay...
Lydon 2011/03/28 11:27 PM
  • Rating:
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
I loved it.
jack 2011/03/31 5:54 AM
  • Rating:
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
this is one of the best movie ever.
Mags 2011/04/06 3:25 PM
  • Rating:
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
A very enjoyable movie. I'd go see it again.
NEXT ON CHANNELX
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.