John is a kid with powers – not super powers – alien powers, the kind the only come from visitors from another planet. Caught in a war of worlds, John has been sent to Earth to hide. Three like him have been killed, he is Number Four.
I AM NUMBER FOUR
Release Year: 2011
Director: D.J. Caruso
Writers: Alfred Gough, MIles Millar, and Marti Noxon
Based on a novel by James Frey and Jobie Hughes
John: Alex Pettyfer
Henri: Timothy Olyphant
Number 6: Teresa Palmer
Sarah: Dianna Agron
Sam: Callan McAuliffe
At first glance, I Am Number Four sounds like a perfect movie for the generation of fans who long for teenage romance stories that have a touch of the supernatural tied to them. The Mogadorians are bent on killing every member of John and Henri’s race, and they’ve come to Earth to hunt down the remaining children so they may emerge supreme. Genocide and child murder sounds like a winner, and really the hide and seek aspect of the movie while the central character discovers and hones his powers, all while falling for the really cute blonde girl in his school is a pretty solid concept.
It is a good story, but it is a terrible movie. Instead of a major motion picture, I Am Number Four comes off as the two hour premiere for a brand new CW series. If there were a TV Tropes entry for what makes a good CW series, this one has them all
- Teenage Drama – check
- Stunt casting with a major star who dies at the end, thus removing future commitment for any sequel that might get made – check
- Strong and good looking lead – check
- Kind of wimpy sidekick, who will need constant saving in the future – check
- Strong, silent, hot girl who is a kick-ass warrior – check
- Stunt casting with hot up and coming starlet who is making the move from television to film, yet is also written out at the end to keep her options open – check
- Writers Gough and Miller, famous for Smallville, and who know what makes teen action dramas work – check
- Pretty lighting and cinematography reminiscent of Smallville and One Tree Hill – check
The list goes on and on, but you get the idea…
The lighting and cinematography are really good, and with D.J. Caruso at the lead, the movie does have some really good special effects and action moments. On the downside, the two actors I was most interested in seeing (Olyphant and Agron) are a bit stiff in their performance, and if this movie turns into a franchise (it made enough money in the initial release to justify it) both are completely written out by the end of the movie.
The villains are one dimensional in their creation and execution, and because the actors playing the Mogadorians cheese it up, there is never a moment where the viewer feels worried or scared for the heroes.
BOTTOM LINE: YOU’VE BEEN WARNED
If you sit down to watch I Am Number Four and you look at it from a failed TV pilot perspective, you’ll probably get a kick out of the movie. If you are going in to see a sci-fi thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat, then you are going to be really disappointed. Ultimately, I Am Number Four has a great set-up and a good premise, but ultimately falls on its face. Some nice special effects, and a cinematic look earn I Am Number Four 1 out of 5 Stars.