Movie Review: Can “I Am Number Four” Live Up to the Hype?

This is a late addition to the review pile for I Am Number Four which came out this past Friday, February 19th.  Rather than give you one of my normal, opening day movie reviews I thought I would change it up a bit, having heard some buzz about certain issues with the movie.  I really liked the trailers for I Am Number Four.  They were well done, and intriguing enough that I wanted to see and review the movie.

Before I Am Number Four came out, there was already buzz about its star, Alex Pettyfer.  This is his first big movie, other than Beastly which is due to be in theatres March 4.  There was an article in the Hollywood Reporter about Pettyfer’s ego and behind-the-scenes antics, which raised some eyebrows.  Pettyfer plays the main character, John, who is an alien refugee from a planet called Lorien, which was destroyed by the Mogadorians.  He is Number 4 of nine children who escaped to Earth, each with a guardian.  These nine each have a special power(s) called a Legacy.  John discovers his powers during the period of the movie.  He is also aware when previous children have died.  He has three scars on his leg, all from when the first three died.  Pettyfer does a decent job portraying John.  He falters during one emotional scene that made me think that maybe they just put some eye drops in his eyes before the take because he did not look like he was crying at all.

I would not say that Pettyfer’s acting was bad because the root of the problem was the script.  There were some really cheesy lines that should not have been used because the audience laughed at several places in the movie where it is not meant to be funny.  One such instance was John’s guardian, Henri (Timothy Olyphant), explaining to John that Loriens do not love like humans.  They love forever.  That line probably could have worked if the line was put into a different scene.  There was another scene in the movie that did not make any sense.  After John discovers that the Mogadorians have found him, he runs with his love interest, Sarah (Dianna Agron), to the high school, where they decide to develop a roll of film.  Because when you are being chased by your enemies who want to kill you, taking the time to develop a roll of film sounds like a great way to spend some precious time.  It was laughable.

The stars of the movie, in my opinion, were not Alex Pettyfer and Dianna Agron, but Callan McAuliffe and Teresa Palmer.  McAuliffe plays the high school punching bag, Sam, whose dad disappeared after going on a trek to find aliens.  Sam is small and often bullied and made fun of, but he becomes a friend and ally to John after Sam discovers that John is an alien.  Sam is often the comic relief of the movie.  McAuliffe played Sam perfectly, and I looked forward to his appearance on the screen.  Teresa Palmer plays Number 6, and she is bad ass.  She has some great powers, rides a red Ducati, and is keeping tabs on Number 4.  She comes to the rescue in a big way towards the end of the movie.  My only question about Number 6 is why does she have an Australian accent?  I know Teresa Palmer is Australian, but if all the Loriens came from the same place, why don’t they all have the same manner of speaking?

I Am Number Four really picks up about 2/3 of the way through the movie.  It was slow getting to that point, but if you like some cool alien action, you will like the action scenes.  Both the Loriens and the Mogadorians possess the alien equivalent of hunting dogs, which make their appearance during the action scenes.

The film has drawn some press for possibly being the next Twilight.  Everything that is a young adult book that becomes a movie is coined as the next Twilight.  The only things that are similar to Twilight are the weak script with corny lines, Teresa Palmer looking similar to Kristen Stewart, and the excellent soundtrack.  The movie opens with Kings of Leon and ends with Civil Twilight.  The relationship between John and Sarah is not interesting or enviable enough to draw the hordes of teens to the movie.

The film finishes with an open ending which is begging for a sequel.  I guess whether production is green lit for one depends on how I Am Number Four does at the box office.  I would go and see the sequel only to see more action and see how the story turns out.  The movie did not meet my expectations, but I was pleasantly surprised by the level of action, a couple of the actors, and the excellent soundtrack.

I give I Am Number Four 3 “Kick-Ass Number 6” out of 5.

by Sarah Ksiazek

About Sarah Ksiazek

Sarah is a Zookeeper extraordinaire who writes, edits, and is the resident trailer addict for Lost in Reviews. Do not underestimate her snobbery when it comes to trailers. She also owns/runs The Host Movie News which is a fan site for The Host movie adaptation.

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