REVIEW: I Am Number Four

25 05 2011

If you are willing to get over the initial corniness of the plot of “I Am Number Four,” you might find that it’s not so bad.  In fact, it’s actually quite enjoyable.  The movie is high-octane action with plenty of noise, but there’s something there that I can’t quite enumerate or describe.  It’s a movie I kept telling myself I shouldn’t like (I mean, it IS a Michael Bay-produced venture) – yet I wound up having some of the most fun I’ve had at a sci-fi movie in a long time.

The story isn’t anything spectacular: Number Four (Alex Pettyfer) is an alien on earth hiding from the Mogadorians, a hostile tribe that invaded their home planet and intends to kill the nine toddlers who escaped.  But here’s the catch – they can only be killed in sequence, and three are dead.  Masquerading as John Smith in Paradise, Ohio, Number Four tries to blend in to the high school crowd to lay low, befriending the conspiracy theorist Sam (Callan MacAuliffe) and wooing the big jock’s girl, Sarah (Dianna Agron from TV’s Glee).

On paper, it actually sounds kind of stupid.  The acting isn’t exactly spectacular, nor does it provide any profound insights into alienation or bullying in modern high schools.  (Trust me, I just finished four years of high school.)  But even though on paper, “I Am Number Four” doesn’t seem to work, on screen it actually does.  Why is that?

I think it has to be because of the energy that D.J. Caruso endows the movie.  Just like his previous helming efforts, “Disturbia” and “Eagle Eye,” there’s an electricity and excitement that bursts through the screen and infects the viewer.  He keeps the movie running at a perfectly paced clip, adeptly balancing human elements and big bangs.  Caruso takes the audience on a roller-coaster ride, that although familiar, still provides a walloping dose of fun. B+


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5 responses

27 05 2011
Joel

The “electricity and excitement” mostly pops in the second half, especially at the end. The movie was only okay for me, honestly. Alex Pettyfer’s the worst actor of his generation, and the romance stuff was seriously horrible. Kind of numbing at times, but it’s pretty cool. I’m not opposed to seeing a sequel to it.

28 05 2011
Marshall

I wouldn’t go quite that far on Pettyfer. He’s no Brando but he’s not terrible. And I think a sequel would be cool … this movie might have done better business had it been positioned outside of Hollywood’s typical reject season.

28 05 2011
Brian

I gave it a much lower grade but I wanted to go higher, I just couldn’t get past some of the downs on the roller coaster. Despite that, I’d be interested in a sequel.

28 05 2011
Joel

If you’ve ever seen “Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker” (a small, horrendous, atrocious 2006 British answer to the “Agent Cody Banks” movies), you’ll know what I meant. It was Pettyfer’s real start, but seriously, a hand puppet could have been more emotive.

His performance in “I Am Number Four” isn’t much better. They should have cast Shia LaBeouf.

29 05 2011
Marshall

I read all the books and really didn’t ever have any desire to see the movie. Glad to know I can expunge it from my bucket list.

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