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I Am Number Four

A movie directed by D.J. Caruso

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"Four" is The Number For a Teen Movie Masquerading As A Fantasy-Action Film!

  • Feb 18, 2011

When I saw the names Steven Spielberg and Michael Bay as producers, I immediately lowered my expectations for director D.J. Caruso’s adaptation of the novel of the same name “I Am Number Four”. The novel was written by Jobie Hughes and James Frey (pen named as Pittacus Lore) with screenplay co-written by Miles Millar (Smallville), Alfred Gough and Marti Noxon; so yeah, you guessed it, it would only be a matter of time before the influences of “Twilight” would branch out to an action-fantasy about aliens from another planet (oh, “Red Riding Hood” is coming as another teen emo-fantasy too) to take advantage of the teen generations’ desire to have powers ever since “X-Men” took in a lot in the box-office. (Hint: “X-Men: First Class” is also coming).

Well, the bad news is “I Am Number Four” doesn’t exactly do anything inventive when it comes to movies that cater to such formulas. We’ve seen this plot developed in movies such as the TV series "Roswell", “The One”, “Push” and “Jumper”, so consider this film another one of those ‘formula films’. But the good news is, I didn’t exactly hate “I Am Number Four”. It does have enough energy to hold my attention and it shows potential in further developing the devices introduced in the film. Please remember what I said on the “I didn’t exactly hate it" part…

                     Dianna Agron as Sarah and Alex Pettyfer as John in "I Am Number Four."

                    Timothy Olyphant as Henri and Alex Pettyfer as John in ``I Am Number Four.''

Number Four (Alex Pettyfer) is an alien in hiding. He hails from the planet Lorien and has fled to Earth under the protection of a warrior self-named as Henri (Timothy Olyphant). Number Four has fled his home planet after it was savagely assaulted by the alien Mogadorians and now working his way to adolescence and developing his “Legacies“, “Four“ now named “John Smith” is now on the run after numbers one through three have been killed by the evil alien race. Trying to remain “invisible”, “Four” befriends a young woman named Sarah (Dianna Agron) while he keeps to a low-profile living the suburban lifestyle. But the Mogadorians led by their ruthless commander (Kevin Durand) are hot on his trail and would not stop for anything until all the remaining survivors of Lorien have been killed. Four is forced to take a stand aided by his school friend Sam (Callan McAuliffe) and a sexy Lorien huntress “Number Six” (Teresa Palmer) as he uses his powers to fight back…and perhaps save the planet in the process.

Let’s see, “I Am Number Four” has some good things going for it. An alien race that screams to be developed whose race's has supposed ‘legacies’ that give them extra-normal powers. I found some elements that were interesting. The Mogadorians looked like folks with an affinity for body mutilations (which would help the idea as to how they can blend in), the gills indicate they may be part sea-dwellers (which would make sense why they would want Earth) and there is a sexy female warrior who can just kick some serious butt. The planets at war had enormous potential, I wanted to learn more, the history and the relevance of the ‘numbers’ were touched upon, but being a movie that supposedly meant to introduce its characters, I understand why the script would focus on Four’s time on Earth and his relationships. Believe me, I understand…

                         Alex Pettyfer as John and Dianna Agron as Sarah in ``I Am Number Four.''

                        Dianna Agron as Sarah and Alex Pettyfer as John in ``I Am Number Four.''

                       Teresa Palmer as Number Six in ``I Am Number Four.''

It is such a shame that the potentials of its script were easily put to the side in favor of canned romance, teenage angst and all the other elements of a teen movie. There is a bully who likes to pick on a geeky UFO nerd, a hot girl who had a past with the high-school jock and is searching for identity, a step-father who doesn’t understand, a father figure who is over-protective and all the other things that make a ‘coming of age’ teen flick. I suppose “I Am Number Four” could’ve been so much better, if it didn’t resort to canned teen elements that gave me the feeling that I was watching a TV show. It is not like the film didn’t have potential, it just went to certain commercial elements to attract a certain audience. The acting was alright I suppose, though I have to say Olyphant nearly stole the show. I guess for a new ‘teen hunk’, Pettyfer does fit the bill and Agron does make for an emotional young woman; the two does succeed in forming a strange chemistry, albeit a bit too convenient. Teresa Palmer does make for a great female bad ass though, I guess you can call me shallow, but I‘ve always had a thing for women who are not afraid to fight and be a “lone wolf“. Yes, the film is pretty safe to see for kids and teens, so perhaps I wasn’t its target audience.

                       Teresa Palmer as Number Six in ``I Am Number Four.''

                      Alex Pettyfer as John in ``I Am Number Four.''

Four has powers that have developed from glowing hands and some form of telekinesis. It is nice but truthfully it wasn’t something I haven’t seen before. The effects and the fight sequences were aplenty, the direction keeps things moving with a display of powers, ray guns, teen encounters to keep things interesting and energetic as Caruso promises a climactic encounter between our combatants. I guess it does have some good points since there are two big monsters, a “Chimera” and a cute dog. The action scenes can be decent, but it just lacked a little emotional content/impact to make things more engaging and effective. I also thought the villain was a cookie-cutter snarling alien that we’ve seen many times. I suppose I felt that it was a bit watered-down compared to my standards, but as someone may say, perhaps it was meant as a teen action flick. If so, the action proved to be satisfying.

I guess “I Am Number Four” is an introduction of things to come, and if I know Bay and Spielberg, they probably planned (I am guessing) this as a trilogy with “I Am Number Five” or maybe "Number Six" in the horizon. The film wasn’t horrible but definitely NOT something that can't be missed. I didn’t hate it, but I cannot give it a recommended rating. It got a little too angst-ridden that it misses all the good things in the script. To its credit, the direction maintains a fast pace to hide its many flaws. The ending promises a sequel, so I guess we are supposed to hear from these guys again, it can have a better sequel if it gets rid of the angst (I probably can predict where this one is going too).

RENTAL [2 ½ Out of 5 Stars]

Poster art for "I Am Number Four."  Poster art for "I Am Number Four."


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June 06, 2011
We agree yet again...it wasnt great but ive seen worse. And number 6 really did save the entire film without her and the aswome transforming dog it would have been a flop. Its set up to be a sequel if not more though so i hope they step it up if another one is made. And as for the snarling alien badguys they look like sith from starwars on steroids.
February 20, 2011
LOL... you & your woman!
February 20, 2011
why of course, my friend. ;)
February 19, 2011
Glad you thought of "Push & Jumper" as well, I thought I was going crazy. Those two are all I could see when witnessing the trailers.
February 20, 2011
No you weren't. This one feels more like "Jumper" as with the romance angle. I liked "Push" though, I thought it was pretty decent.
February 19, 2011
I couldn't stand the previews of this, so it would be nearly impossible for me to sit through this. It looks like a weird combination of the movie "Jumper" and the TV series "Roswell" and I wasn't a fan of either.
February 19, 2011
That is a pretty good point. The problem is, it has a nifty concept, it had several aces going for it....but it didn't play on the good spots and stoops to 'teen love' to immerse the viewer. Maybe I just wasn't its intended viewer....
March 14, 2011
...and the director of this movie is supposed to direct "Preacher"?!
March 14, 2011
Um, yeah... : (
March 14, 2011
oh, Michael Bay and Rattner wants to do "Y The Last Man" adaptation...
March 14, 2011
I heard that they wanted to, but weren't able. Ratner was pretty much dismissed by the folks at DC last I knew.
February 19, 2011
Great review - Diana Agron had time to do this as well as Glee?!
February 19, 2011
yep. Apparently she did. such a busy woman....
February 18, 2011
Excellent review as always, I like the premise of this film and form the trailer it looks like a great looking movie but I am getting my "It looks great but it is in actuality a terrible movie vibe" from this film. But who knows I might like it I mean I loved "Tron Legacy" and that holes up the wazoo.  And actually the writers of the novel "I Am Number Four" are planning to write five more books in the series  the sequel to the book  "I Am Number Four"  "The Power of Six" releases September of this year.
February 18, 2011
thanks for the read, my friend. This started out well enough, and honestly I didn't hate it and I found some parts with enormous potential, but they were left in the sidelines. It was just dragged down with such stereotypical elements that were...or can be so uninspired. Give it a look one day but do not expect too much. Hey, Lopez, you have HBO? you have to see "The Sunset Limited"...I reviewed it! awesome simple movie!
February 18, 2011
Films like this are but truthfully I think the director, producers and writers were seriously trying to hard to blend the enormous appeal of the bland Twilight franchise with the high voltage action of Michael Bay and I will say this in his favor he does have a great look and eye for action and that is pretty much where his talent ends. And trust me these days I never really expect much from films like this. And no sadly I don't but I have heard good things about that little film It looks interesting.
February 19, 2011
Yeah, Bay can be a decent one when teamed with Bruckheimer. I agree with your observations, he can be a great action director. I've been trying to spread the word on Sunset Limited", I saw it three times now it gets better each time.
February 19, 2011
I will make it a priority to see it . Also I have to spread the word of a film I just saw recently its called "Vanishing on 7th Street" its a post- apocalyptic psychological horror thriller from Brad Anderson(director of "Session 9" and "Trassiberian") it is about a group of people who have mysteriously survived a strange phenomenon that has caused almost everyone to simply vanish into thin air. Now it seems the darkness has come to life and it threatens to try and engulf the survivors. The story was inspired by a historical mystery you recently mentioned to me the disappearance of the colonist at Roanoke.
February 19, 2011
that sounds interesting and it sounds like my kind of movie. There's a trailer I saw last night and it also looked promising. Honestly I am also eagerly awaiting " Black Death"...
February 19, 2011
I saw the trailer for that but I truly am trying to stay away from films like that as of lately, but I'll admit it looks like it has potential to be a very eerie supernatural horror thriller plus I am a huge fan of  Sean Bean .
February 19, 2011
Vanishing on 7th Street does seem intriguing from your descriptions. You know when it is about to be released?
February 19, 2011
It releases in theaters today and trust me it is intriguing it is one of the most inventive and chilling horror films I have seen in awhile plus it has one of the best movie villains.. darkness.
February 19, 2011
darn. it is not playing yet in my area...I did put in a "demand it" request for it to play in SF.
More I Am Number Four reviews
review by . February 19, 2011
'I Am Number Four' directed by D. J. Caruso (Disturbia) is a scifi/action/teen-love story based on the best selling novel of the same name.      Alex Pettyfer portrays John Smith (Number Four). John is your basic teenage alien from the planet, Lorien. He's being hunted by the super evil Mogadorians. The villainous Mogadorians are eliminating the nine Loriens that are hiding on earth in numerical order.      When the film opens, Lorien Number …
review by . June 18, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
* out of ****     "I Am Number Four" exists on a very sad and bleak side of cinema where everything is all wrong. The film is a hammy, excessive CGI extravaganza that cares little about characters or story and decides to focus more on special effects, death scenes, battle scenes, stunts, and making loads of money off of the product. The ones behind the production seem to know what teens want out of a movie made for teens, and every last detail is crammed into the package to the …
review by . February 24, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
“I Am Number Four”? More like “I Am Number Snore”! Who didn’t see that joke coming? February is known for being the trademark “hit or miss” season for the movie industry, historically giving us duds like Jumper while also knocking it out of the park with some new classics like Martin Scorsese’s brilliant “Shutter Island”. It was this time last year that Shutter Island was released and that the film did impress me so much, which only makes …
review by . March 11, 2011
I have always heard that imitation is the highest form of flattery.  Well I guess that means that I Am Number Four is a film meant to flatter all things science fiction and fantasy, or at least that is the impression.  Granted the concept of the story is very interesting and has great potential, the images and story that is given to the audience are less than flattering.      I Am Number Four tells the story of aliens from the planet Lorien who arrive on Earth after …
review by . February 20, 2011
I Am Number Four is based on a young-adult novel that spent six weeks on the children's chapter of The New York Times Best Seller list. It is also the first part of a six book series. No wonder this book was snagged up to make a movie, I imagine all the producers heard was ka-ching. And with producer Michael Bay on board how could this not be a hit.      The movie is about a teenage outsider named John Smith, how outside, well he's from space. He and his eight other …
review by . February 19, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         With just a little less violence and a complete removal of the foul language, I Am Number Four would be adequate material for a Saturday morning action series, like Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. It clearly has the same sensibilities: Plot, character, theme, and significance don’t matter as long as something marketable is being shown to a mass audience. This is an astonishingly stupid movie, and the filmmakers must have known it, for there’s …
review by . March 09, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Watchout Exterminator, Number Four Is Coming For You.
When you get a chance you should definitely check out this movie "I Am Number Four", my wife and I saw this last week and we enjoyed it immensely, This is rated PG-13 and will last for 1 hour and 50 minutes. It is a science fiction, action, and a real thriller. If you liked the "Exterminator" and "Final Destination" movies  the you will love this one. This turns out to be a love story  mixed in with thrilling science fiction and a whole lot of action. This …
review by . June 11, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
12A - 109mins - Action/Sci-Fi/Thriller - 23rd February 2011   Part teen drama, part sci-fi and part coming of age is how I would best describe this one and I don't think that amalgamation came together as well as it could have, which if I'm being honest would not have been very good anyway.   I Am Number Four is about a boy called John (Alex Pettyfer). He is no ordinary boy but an alien that has found himself on planet Earth with his guardian, Henri (Timothy Olyphant) who helps …
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About this movie


Nine infant aliens, who closely resemble humans, flee their home planet, Lorien, to hide on Earth. An invading species, the Mogadorians, have destroyed their planet, and followed them to Earth to hunt them down. Each of the nine aliens is given a guardian and will develop superhuman powers as they become adults. They are each assigned a number. These last children of Lorien can only be killed in the sequence of their numbers.[2] Numbers One, Two, and Three have been killed so far.

Number Four (Alex Pettyfer), also named John Smith, moves to Paradise, Ohio, disguised as an American high school student.[3] He makes a friend, Sarah Hart (Dianna Agron), a sweet Midwestern girl who is a photographer. After being on the run his whole life, Number Four falls in love and now has something to stand up and fight for.[2]

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Director: D.J. Caruso
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Release Date: 18 February 2011 (USA)
Screen Writer: Alfred Gough, Miles Millar
Studio: Dreamworks PIctures
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