Synopsis: John (Alex Pettyfer) is an extraordinary young man. Three like him have already been killedâ¦he is Number Four.
Release Date: February 18, 2011 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Action, Science Fiction
Number Four is of an alien race called the Lorien. He, and eight other children, were sent to earth to live after their home planet was attacked by an evil alien race called the Mogadorian. They all have special powers that can be used to fight the Mogadorian and they are needed as each of them is being hunted with the intent to kill. The reason for this all happening is unclear as the film progresses as it is more concerned with the romance between Number Four and Sarah, a regular human, than establishing a well-conceived science fiction narrative. The danger the Mogadorian present to Number Four is never forgotten but equally ignored in lieu of presenting teenage angst and the desire for a normal life for Number Four. This is an extremely unimaginative story which makes the film extremely lifeless. The movie does not appear to know whether it is a teen romance or a science fiction narrative and it never achieves either one successfully.
Adapted from the novel of the same name, I Am Number Four has one of the loosest and without answers scripts–especially one marketed as a science fiction film–I have witnessed. After an introduction to Number Three, as he is being murdered by the alien enemy, we meet Number Four (Alex Pettyfer). His otherness is personified by the marks he has on his leg and the signal they emanate when another one of the nine has died. Otherwise, Number Four looks like any corn-fed, attractive American teenager. An introductory voiceover by Number Four tells us the basic details of his life. How he must constantly move from place to place so he is not found by the enemy of his home planet. He and nine others live in hiding on Earth and each are being hunted one by one. Why? Keep asking yourself that because the script will give you not a one direct answer. It does hint at a legacy, that the nine somehow possess the necessary power to expel the evil alien’s. That their parent’s, or the elders, bestowed these powers on them along with guardians to help keep them safe. But what is the grander purpose? Better yet, why can’t we know by the end of the movie? What exactly happened on their home planet? What type of a race of aliens were they? That shiny metal box everyone protects, what is in it? Left in the dark with Number Four we never know exactly why any of this is happening and how it can be resolved.
This is supposed to be a science fiction film but it does not create an alternate world from our own, or elevate our own world into the future, in order to be considered part of the science fiction genre. Just because there are aliens walking on earth with some fancy powers does not make a movie science fiction. You have to create something, anything, that has not been done or seen before–this film does not do any of this on even a satisfactory level. Adding insult to the genre is the direct rip-off of good vs. evil coloring used. Yes, blue is good, red is bad…real creativity there during battle scenes. What can be seen in the film as a main focal point is the teenage romance between Number Four and the local girl in Paradise, Ohio, Sarah (Dianna Agron). A great majority of the film circles around Number Four’s woes at school with the popular football player, his poorly developed romance with Sarah, and his own envy of normalcy. The fact that he is being hunted by deadly alien beings who look like a warped version of a trekkie fantasy with tattoos and oddly small teeth like a fish (and they have gills too) is of very little consequence. The science nerd makes an appearance, of course, and his Dad just happens to have been a UFO nut; but he may as well have stayed smashed in a school locker because this brainiac is nothing but a sad kid who misses his dad and wants to believe aliens are real to back-up his belief that they took him. Yea, he is kind of a sad little thing but if he has a purpose in the larger scheme of the story it has yet to be revealed…just like everything else.
With all of the unanswered questions and dare I say purposeful ignoring of important elements to the story being told the movie ends with a sequel inevitable. The second book is scheduled for release in 2011 so perhaps that is where the answers are hidden. Unfortunately for those willing to sit through the entire movie it will take a great deal of persuasion, and possibly drugging, to get any of these viewers into the seats again.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): D.J. Caruso
- Producer(s): Alfred GoughMiles MillarMarti Noxon
- Screenwriter(s): Teresa Palmer (Number Six)Alex Pettyfer (Number Four)Dianna Agron (Sarah)
- Story: Timothy Olyphant (Henri)
- Cast: Kevin Durand (Mog Commander) Vince FilipponeGuillermo NavarroTom Southwell
- Cinematographer: Trevor Rabin
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s):
- Music Score:
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USA