I Am Number Four

I AM NUMBER FOUR By Gary "I am Number Three and a Half" Murray Starring Alex Pettyfer, Timothy Olyphant, Teresa Palmer and Dianna Agron Written by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar & Marti Noxon Directed by D.J. Caruso Running time 110 min MPAA Rating PG-13 Selig Film Rating Cable Ah, the science fiction flick. Ever since Melies pointed his lens to a Trip to the Moon, filmmakers have crafted tales of space ships and weird creatures. While some like Forbidden Planet and ET are classic bits of movie history, many more have been relegated to the old style 'B' picture notation. I am Number Four falls in the latter category. The story starts with promise. It is a dark and stormy night and a young man is awoken from sleep. A monster attacks and kills an older man. Then the chase through the woods in on which doesn't end well for our young person. So much for the set-up. We find through exposition that a group of aliens from the planet Lorien have been hidden on Earth. Though each has a guardian, the ones to be protected are the nine. They are the last of their species and the nine all have special powers that have not been fully activated. An invading species, the Mogadorian, have rid the galaxy of the Loriens except for all those hidden on Earth. The Mogadorian are hunting down Lorien, one by one and actor Alex Pettyfer is Number Four. After running away from the Mogadorian in Florida, Number Four and his guardian Henri (Timothy Olyphant) move to Paradise, Ohio. Number Four takes on the nom de plume of John Smith and tries to blend into high school. Blend as he tries, he can't keep his eyes of Sara (Dianna Agron), a teen photographer who should be in-front of the camera. As he begins to befriend about her, he finds out that she has a tough football playing ex-boyfriend who doesn't take to kindly with a stranger 'messing with his woman'. He also meets a science geek kid who has a missing father. It seems that the father was convinced that UFO's were here and living among the human population. The story of I am Number Four is of a young ET falling in star-crossed love with his Juliet. If one were to pitch this film in Hollywood, you'd just call it Alien Twilight. Director D. J. Caruso has made some interesting films with Disturbia and Eagle Eye. Here he delivers much of the same. There are some great second unit work, with massive explosions and CGI beasts roaming. It just takes a very long time to get there. After the cool death sequence of Number 3 and the opening in Florida (lifted from Jaws), we get brought down in the muck of teen angst. With all the moon-eyed stares and subtle glances, I am Number Four starts to feel like a Disney version of a soap opera. To quote Elvis "A little less conversation/ a little more action please". One has to give special notes to the special effects crew and especially the make-up artists. The Mogadorian are a cross between bad-ass bikers and extras from The Matrix. With side-gills next to the nose, they somehow come across as super menacing without being comic. The Mogadorian travel across the country looking for Number Four with a trailer that has something big and scary inside. It is a fun group of bad guys Alex Pettyfer delivers an interesting performance as Number Four. At times he just seems in awe of his super-powers as he grows from a boy to a man. All of his super-powers come from his glowing hands, which come alight while he is in school. Those film academics will write reams of papers on the Id aspects of coming-of-age within the character and make reference to the baseness of having magic come from his hands, but people of that ilk always seem to over analyze things. Alex does deal with both the action and romance aspect of the character without looking too silly. The same cannot be said for Dianna Agron. Though she is great on the TV show Glee, she doesn't deliver much with the character of Sara. At times she comes across as distracted, as if she is just waiting to deliver her lines so he can get off camera and do something else. There is no meat in her reading of the part, no burn in delivering the lines. Much better was Teresa Palmer as Number Six. He has the ability to move so quickly that she is almost a ghost. Flying through the air, she's a kick-ass Lorien lady who takes no prisoners and leaves nothing but destruction in her wake. The film needed much more of her throwing punches and fighting bad guys. One has to seriously doubt that Twilight magic will happen with I am Number Four, the cast and the elements are just not the same. But, just to make sure, this film is so set-up to be the opening volley of a series of sequels. Only the box office will determine that fate.

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