Devil’s DVD Advocacy: I Am Number Four
Alex Pettyfer stars as Number Four, one of nine aliens sent to earth as children when their homeworld of Loren was destroyed by the invading evil Mogadorians, and kept hidden by their Guardians until the time that their Legacys (superpowers) manifest and they are able to protect their new home planet from the Mogadorian hordes. Naturally the Mogadorians (or Mogs) want to stop this happening, but some mysterious reason prevents the evil nasty aliens from simply killing the young Loren warriors as they please. I don’t remember it properly being explained in the movie, though a little bit of web-based research into the book on which the movie is based revealed that it is to do with a “charm”. Instead, they must be hunted down and killed in numerical order. We get to see Number Three’s demise at the start of the movie, in what is a rather well-filmed and creepy jungle chase scene, so, after having to flee their home after an alien symbol appears in a burst of light on Four’s calf in front of onlookers, Four and his Guardian, Henri, (Timothy Ollyphant) know he is next on the list.
In spite of this looming threat, Henri, who’s idea of protecting Four from harm seems to focus on doing nothing other then deleting his photo whenever it appears on the internet, allows the young future super alien warrior to attend their new town’s high school, wander around at all hours of the night, and, even after saying that if Four doesn’t check in every hour then he will come find him, does nothing when his young charge ignores his phone calls.
It’s while Four is off mixing with the stereotypical teens of his new high school, getting bullied by jocks for being the new kid and becoming friends with Sam (Callan McAuliffe) and Sarah (Dianna Agron), that the high school drama kicks in. It is also, for me at least, when the movie starts to lag. Though the acting is adequate from all involved, the terrible dialogue and standard trendy music begins to drag down what is at times quite an entertaining section.
While the movie trundled along with protracted scenes of teenage angst and brief inserts reminding us that the Mogadorians are closing in on Four, all I wanted to see was the action promised to me by the movie’s trailers. And when that action kicked in, I was not disappointed.
Scenes of cars flipping through the air and rampaging alien monsters are handled with the flair seen in D.J Caruso’s previous teen-oriented action film Eagle Eye, and in no time at all I was thoroughly enjoying myself. The arrival of Number Six (Teresa Palmer) adds to the fun, as the pair of alien teenagers kick Mogadorian rear in a whirlwind of CGI effects and explosions, with Six in particular supplying the slice of cocky superhero attitude that I felt was missing up until that point.
When the dust had settled at the end of the movie, and the obligatory open ending laid out in hope of the movie being a franchise starter, I couldn’t help but feel that I am Number Four does an adequate job.
Sure, the plot is rather simple and predictable fare, all the teen angst bringing to mind such sci-fi teen tv as Smallville and Roswell, but the movie doesn’t really suffer majorly for it. It’s a sci-fi action movie aimed primarily at teenagers of the you tube and I-phone generation. If you are expecting anything else then you are probably going in to watch the wrong movie.
So, as a movie of the teen genre, I give it a Pitchfork Rating of three.