I AM NUMBER FOUR
I Am Number Four, is the latest offering aimed towards the tween group, starring Alex Pettyfer, Timothy Olyphant, Teresa Palmer & Dianna Agron. It is directed by D.J Caruso, whose other outings include Eagle Eye & Disturbia. It is also notably produced by Michael Bay (I will come back to this).
The concept is simple enough. An alien race called ‘Lorien’ have been destroyed and the last nine surviving children have been harbored on Earth. Each has a guardian to “protect” them, I use protect very loosely here as they seem to die pretty fast. They are in every way like humans, except when they reach a certain age they gain superhuman abilities which vary, called “Legacies” (superhuman periods). They are hiding from another alien race, the Mogadorians, who are hell bent on destroying them. Essentially the Mogadorians are 7ft tall, human-like Vulcans who can take shotgun shells to the face.
The soundtrack for the first half of the film felt as if the producer had left his hipster ipod on shuffle, with snippets of every current band filling in 4 min intervals. Kings of Leon, The XX, Temper Trap…etc all in the space of 20 mins. Soon after though he realizes things get dramatic and throws in an actual score. This is the first hint of Michael Bay influence.
Alex Pettyfer plays the ambiguous “John Smith”, who the film’s producers are probably aiming to be the new Robert Pattinson. Upon realizing he has powers, he goes for a superhuman run through the woods. I understand that we’re meant to be seeing acrobatic prowess, but I think spasmodic flips would be a better suited description.
There is a hilarious moment, after having made forged documents to get in to a local High School, and having said to his guardian he knows how to blend in. Pettyfer, then waltzes in and puts his hooded top up. The only person in a crowd of kids, on a sunny day to do so. This garnered a laugh from the audience.
Dianna Agron is mousy and timid as Sarah, and pretty much is a by product of the film. Teresa Plamer on the other hand acts like a rebel, as ‘number six’. Obviously because she wears leather and has such throwaway lines as “red bull is for pussies”, which I can only assume is directly from Michael Bay’s quote book. I found her Australian accent to be rather jarring, as there was no bearing that she had been brought up any differently.
There is a rather odd character, which is just there for the sake of an action sequence. I’d like to coin the meme, “shape-shifting dog can shape-shift”. As that was literally all it did! At two points, for no reason or explanation. Also unexplained is why they had to use some sort of jewelled dagger to kill the mogadorians, I can only assume this is in some way a vampiric style staking. Every alien who dies in this film turns in to dust, regardless.
The ultimate Michael Bay moment is a massive explosion, pretty much everything is decimated leaving only the the buildings doors undamaged, even though the windows get blown out. Conveniently though, this keeps the characters alive. An honorable mention must go to ‘Slow-motion-cool-explosion-walk’, whilst the characters talked in real-time.
One thing that did stand out in the film though was the production value of the ‘haunted hayride’. It looked unbelievely high for a small town. I’d hate to think what the return on it would be. As evidently no one else, apart from the main two characters, decided to use it.
I Am Number Four is ultimately forgettable and could pass as a high production tv film, an episode of Buffy or a companion to Roswell. It is clearly aimed towards the Twilight genre of fans who care more about the looks of a character rather than any decent plot, so by this count it should probably do ok at box office.
movie rating: 1.5/5