I Am Number Four – 109m - PG-13
What do you get if you take the set of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the cast of the OC, a pre teen adventure book and mix them all together? I Am Number Four. This movie has a very narrow target audience – of which I am not a member. It seems most of the kids at my showing thought it was a really entertaining film, so points for hitting your mark. Not such a good job of trying to encompass more of the people who brought your target audience to the theater. This movie gets a solid yellow light from me.
Aliens, the Lorien, are hidden refugees on Earth trying to blend in among the local indigenous population. They are being chased by a race of aliens, called Mogadorians, that can track by sent to kill the Lorien. For some reason Mogadorians are apparently racially OCD and they can only kill the Lorien in order from one to eight. The movie starts out on a promising note. We open with the attack on Number Three and his guardian, which is an excellent hook. We move on to John (Alex Pettyfer) and his Guardian, Henri (Timothy Olyphant). They decide to leave their place of hiding after John gets a vision of Number Three’s death. They make their way to Pleasantville, err I mean Paradise, Ohio, where John falls in love with the town and wants to stop running. He enrolls in high school. He starts to have feelings for a girl,Sara(Dianna Agron), and wants to make a change in his life. The Mogadorians find him and he has to face them, he gets help from a new found friend, Sam (Callan McAuliffe), and Number Six (Teresa Palmer). Oh and there is a shape shifting pet of John’s that also helps out in the final battle.
This movie is a Sci Fi movie of the week, with a bigger budget, crossed with an afterschool special. Every step of this movie was focused on pandering to the target audience: 11 – 14 year olds. It played the same old, tired high-school-angst elements. You have the fish-out-of-water new kid, bully types beating on geek types and a burgeoning romance with the off-limits girl. There is really no depth to the story. And the Sci Fi rules of this universe are not very well explained. One thing to point out is Hollywood’s inability to actually cast teenagers as high school students. A twenty year old walking along the halls looks like a teacher or he has been held back a year, or two.
Technically there is not a lot to talk about, the film was cleanly made, no real glaring gaffs or problem shots. The movie was easy to watch and was well... performed adequately to the level of the story. There was really no one in this movie that stood out and there was nothing to really draw me into the story. They start off with a really great hook that promises a thrill ride and then tapers off to a drizzle of high school high jinks that only comes back to a climatic fight scene that was too little too late. I really see this as an idea that had huge potential but just was not developed to its fullest. D.J. Caruso has had better films in the past. Disturbia comes to mind, and Eagle Eye. Caruso needs to work harder on making the movie more appealing to a wider audience. The writing team was Alfred Gough, Miles Millar and Marti Noxon. Gough and Millar have co-written Spider Man 2, Leather weapon 4 and Shanghai Knights. Nixon worked on the Buffy and Angel TV series along with several other television credentials. You can really see the influences that Noxon brought to this film. With as much talent present I figured it would have been more dynamic. There was nothing really wrong with this movie, but there was nothing really right with it either.
This week’s questions will be from the theme of this movie. Did you ever wish you had super powers, what would they be and how would you use them if you did?