13 mar. 2011

My Review: I am Number Four (5/10)

¨You can go wherever you want. See whatever you want to but, um, a place is only as good as the people you know in it.¨

D.J. Caruso isn`t one of my favorite directors, although I did enjoy Disturbia quite a bit, but that`s probably his only film I actually liked. His latest film, I am Number Four, was actually a lot better than I expected. I really had very low hopes for this movie after watching the trailer, but I was surprised that it wasn`t as terrible as I thought it would be. It was entertaining at some points and I enjoyed the performance from the young lead actors, but I was disappointed with the second half of the film that tried too hard to establish the franchise for the future instead of giving this movie a little more closure. I´m guessing that thanks to the open ending I am Number Four will end up incomplete along with the likes of Jumper and The Golden Compass since the film didn`t do very well in the box office to be able to build a big enough fan base for the sequels. It’s actually pretty sad because the beginning of the film looked very promising, but it suddenly became too big and ended up being messy. The film is based on the novel written by Jobie Hughes and James Frey, and the screenplay was adapted by Alfred Gough, Miles Milar, and Marti Noxon (the team that brought us several TV series like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Smallville, and the Spider Man 2 film). I`m not familiar with the novel so I can`t say how faithful the screenplay is to the novel, but I can say that the screenplay isn`t one of the strong points of the film.

In I am Number Four Alex Pettyfer (who recently starred opposite Vanessa Hudgens in Beastly, but is better known for his lead role as Alex Rider in Stormbreaker) plays an alien who was only one of the nine survivors from his planet after a group of Mogadorians destroyed all life there. These nine children have escaped and are hiding on Earth among humans because they look like ordinary human beings despite having supernatural powers. Each child has a guardian who looks out for them. The movie begins with the murder of alien number three. Alex is number four; so he is next since the Mogadorians (led by the Commander played by Kevin Durand) have to kill them in numerical order for some reason (which is never explained). Number Four`s cover has been blown, so his guardian, Henri (Timothy Olyphant: Hitman, The Crazies) decides to give him a new identity as John Smith and move to a small town in Ohio called Paradise. Here, John decides to attend a local High School and continue his life as normal keeping a low profile while hiding from the Mogadorians who are looking for him. He tells everyone in school that he just moved in from New Mexico with his dad (Henri). He will have to adapt to the bullies in school, although he makes friends with a nerd named Sam (Callan McAuliffe) and falls in love with Sarah (Dianna Agron of Glee fame), another student who has a passion for photography. As the Mogadorians close in on John he is not willing on running away again since he is really in love with Sarah so he decides to stay in Paradise.

Teresa Palmer (Sorcerer`s Apprentice and Bedtime Stories) also has an important role in this film, although she appears more near the end and was probably supposed to be a co-lead character in the next films of the franchise. This Sci-Fi thriller begins very well setting up interesting characters, but halfway through the movie the plot becomes messy and the final fight scenes are far from memorable. The movie ends up being very cliché and follows the same formula almost every teen action film does these days. The plot is familiar (you have the bullies from school, the romantic triangle after the hot blonde who used to date jocks ends up being sweet and nice, the hero discovering his new found powers, the ¨I will love you forever¨ speech, and so on). I am Number Four is not a bad movie, it had me entertained for the most part, but it just misses the mark at the end by trying to be larger than it actually is. It won`t be on one of my worst movies lists, but it is just an average film that I will have forgotten all about after a week. The most memorable thing about this movie for me will be the performances from Alex Pettyfer and Dianna Agron. Too bad the film didn`t have a final resolution because I don`t think they will be making a sequel after the poor box office results.

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