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I Am Number Four

A movie directed by D.J. Caruso

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But My Movie is like Number Two

  • Feb 19, 2011
Rating:
+2
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 a noticeable lack of effort with each passing scene; what begins as a bland and baffling science fiction thriller eventually devolves into a mind-numbing laser-blast light show, complete with phony-looking alien creatures, blurred choreography, and dialogue that wouldn’t pass muster in a second-rate comic book.

 
The premise, as best I understand it, is that nine members of a humanoid alien species fled to Earth after their planet was destroyed. Their enemies – hairless creatures with tattooed heads, pointy teeth, and gills around their noses – have been hunting them down in sequential order, and thus far, three have been killed. And so we meet Number Four (Alex Pettyfer), a teenager who, because of his very existence, must always be on the move. He’s looked after by his mentor, Henri (Timothy Olyphant), who assumes the identity of his father and sees to it that no pictures or videos of him wind up on the internet. After fleeing from a Florida beach community, they arrive in Paradise, Ohio, where Number Four will adopt the absurd alias John Smith and pose as a high school student.

                                             

                                               
Three inevitable things happen at Paradise High School. First, Number Four befriends the socially shunned science nerd, Sam (Callan McAuliffe), whose father just happened to believe in alien life and in all likelihood was abducted. Second, he makes an enemy out of the football jock, Mark (Jake Abel), whose father is a police officer. Third, he falls in love with Mark’s girlfriend, Sarah (Dianna Agron), who like photography and, like all angst-riddled teenage girls, has the unfortunate ability to see the locals for who they really are. Were it not for the fact that Number Four is an alien, these characters could have been transplanted from any number of after school teenage dramas, where the message is to follow your dreams and listen to your heart.
 
As Number Four rebels against Henri, special powers begin to emerge, including the ability to turn the palms of his hands into flashlights. He can also manipulate objects by creating invisible energy fields, which also emit from his hands. Sarah remains unaware, but Sam has caught a glimpse, which essentially forces him into becoming an ally. Meanwhile, the enemy aliens, known as the Mogadorians, are onto Number Four’s scent; the leader, known only as Commander (Kevin Durand), seems to be the only one of the group that can speak English, although his range is mostly limited to cheesy puns. He and his posse travel by truck, and they use a semi to transport monstrous beasts that are apparently keen on turkey.

                                             

                                               
The specifics of the war between Number Four’s kind and the Mogadorians are left a little obscure, and it seems the more the film tries to explain, the less sense it makes. There’s something inherently wrong with death, destruction, and exile being described but not actually shown; Henri tells Number Four plenty about his parents and their world, but without a visual aid, it comes off as little more than a man talking. There’s no way to process what he’s saying. Couldn’t there have been a flashback sequence, or a dream, or a resurfaced memory? The best we’re given is an ornate metal box that Number Four isn’t supposed to open until the time is right. It remains unopened, which suggests the possibility of sequel. This itself suggests extreme confidence – or, more likely, desperation. On the basis of this film, the chances of a sequel being made are about the same as Richard Dawkins converting to Christianity.
 
We eventually meet another alien, the sexy Number Six (Teresa Palmer), first seen enacting one of the most tiresome of action movie clichés: Walking away from an explosion in slow motion (somewhat enlivened by her ability to generate force fields that protect her from fire). This is, we soon discover, a framing device; when she reappears near the end, she initiates a full-blown shootout spectacle – the kind you don’t see in action movies but in comic book adaptations. She’s supplied with some of the film’s worst dialogue, including a remark about Red Bull so painfully unfunny that it’s downright embarrassing. The title is I Am Number Four, but the film is really more like number two.

                                                  

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February 19, 2011
Yeah, Nando wanted to see this today and I'm wasn't sure I wanted to, now I really don't think I want to! It seems that much more could've been done to make this a worthy watch. Thanks for sharing, Chris- great write-up!
February 19, 2011
Oh, that's putting it mildly. If they wanted to make a Saturday morning action series, they should have just made a Saturday morning action series. The fact that anyone thought this could be taken seriously is mind boggling.
 
February 19, 2011
Good review. I really must see this, despite the less than stellar reviews. Is this based on a book?
February 19, 2011
Yes it is. The book is credited to Pittacus Lore, but that's just a pen name for Jobie Hughes and James Frey. Yes, that James Frey. 
 
1
More I Am Number Four reviews
review by . February 18, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Number
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 …
review by . February 19, 2011
Two Jews On I AM NUMBER FOUR
'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
posted in Picktainment
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 . 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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Chris Pandolfi ()
Ranked #6
Growing up a shy kid in a quiet suburb of Los Angeles, Chris Pandolfi knows all about the imagination. Pretend games were always the most fun for him, especially on the school playground; he and his … more
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About this movie

Wiki



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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Details

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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