Director: D.J. Caruso
Cast: Alex Pettyfer, Timothy Olyphant, Dianna Agron, Teresa Palmer, Callan McAuliffe, Kevin Durand
On paper, I Am Number Four seemed pretty interesting. So even when the mixed reviews started pouring in, I wanted to know for myself if it was any good.
The film tells the story of nine children from the planet Lorien, who are sent to earth after their race had been decimated by another alien race called Mogadorians. Each child is given a guardian during their time on earth. The Mogadorians come to earth and as we begin, we see them successfully terminate the third of these children. They have to be killed in sequence apparently.
And now, Number Four (Alex Pettyfer) is next. He and his guardian Henri (Timothy Olyphant) have been moving from town to town, keeping a low profile. They arrive in Paradise, Ohio where Number Four assumes the name John Smith and enrols himself at the local high school.
At the school he meets Sarah (Dianna Agron), a young girl who enjoys photography and is a loner just like him. They become close before long and mutually fall in love. However John gets into trouble with the school bully, who not only resents him for dating his ex, but also for hanging out with Sam (Callan McAuliffe), a kid the bully loves picking on.
But all this pales in comparison to the trouble that the Mogadorians bring when they finally track John and Henri down in Paradise.
More than one critic has compared this to the Twilight films, and after seeing this, I can concur. It's obviously catered to young adults, featuring good looking tweens and they all spout corny lines. But thankfully, unlike Twilight, the corny lines aren't so prevalent here. D.J. Caruso directs I Am Number Four, and I ought to be grateful he didn't use Shia LaBeouf for this film because it would have been a severe miscast. To his credit, he manages to make this action fantasy movie quite believable, even when it is rather flawed.
Pettyfer, who's probably known for being in Operation Stormbreaker and not much else, doesn't do too badly as the hero. As Number Four aka John, he's not only required to show tenacity and strength in the fight scenes, but also be able to act in the film's quieter, dramatic moments. He won't win an award, but he's believable enough. Olyphant provides some nice support as Henri, and he gets the lion's share of the funny dialogue. Agron, well known for playing Quinn Fabray on Glee, sadly seems more comfortable in that role than being Sarah here. She has very little chemistry with Pettyfer, which is odd considering that the both of them are dating off screen.
The first half of the film is a bit pedestrian as they spend some time establishing John's character. The fun only really kicks in when Teresa Palmer arrives to save the day in the film's final battle scene as Number Six. Palmer gets to keep her Australian accent intact for her character, who seems more dangerous than John. But her screen time is much too little unfortunately.
I Am Number Four unfortunately suffers from a few things that I feel could have been avoided. Like, for instance, the stereotypical school kids you see in stories like this. Then there's the aforementioned corny dialogue. A few scenes didn't make sense when they played out too. But the one that disappointed me the most was the way the Mogadorians are depicted on screen. Did Pittacus Lore, the writer of the book that this film is based on, describe them like that? Bald men with tattoos on their scalps, wearing trenchcoats, having gills on their faces and fish like eyes? Really? Come on. And their commander, played by Kevin Durand, speaks like he has an I.Q. of a low rate cartoon villain. I find the Mogadorians too laughable to take seriously.
In the end, I Am Number Four fell short of being memorable. It's by no means a bad film, but there's a good chance you can find something better to watch than this. (3/5)