What does it mean to be normal? Two parents? A home? Ties to a past? That’s not the case with the Sci-Fi film I Am Number Four, now on DVD, which follows a young man with none of that as part of his daily life. He’s an open book, which leads to some very familiar results.
I Am Number Four follows John Smith (Alex Pettyfer) who travels from town to town with his guardian Henri (Timothy Olyphant) and is required to keep a low profile. The reason that John leads such a nomadic life isn’t a conventional one. John is one of nine alien children who escaped their planet and came to Earth with a greater purpose in mind. Henri is more than a guardian to John, because he has sworn to protect him no matter what. Dangerous creatures have followed the nine alien children to Earth to kill them in numerical order. Three have already been killed and John is the next one on the list. Henri and John left their latest home after John had accidentally displayed his powers in public. The pair move to Paradise, Ohio in an effort to hide. Unfortunately, John doesn’t want to do that and demands to go to school. On his first day, he befriends Sam (Callan McAulliffe) who was unexpectedly tied to John. This new friendship causes him some extra attention from the school bully who John put in his place on more than one occasion. John also developed a strong connection with aspiring photographer Sarah (Dianna Agron) who could potentially be the love of his life. Sadly, John’s new love isn’t strong enough to keep Sarah in the dark when the creatures after John are close to getting him. A surprising ally in Number Six (Teresa Palmer) ready to confront their assassins no matter what the outcome. Will they survive long enough to find the other four aliens?
Ultimately, I Am Number Four isn’t the beginning of a new film franchise because it never really had a chance due to a faulty story, which seemed to follow the textbook of most Sci-Fi films before it. The audience pretty much knew that the hero would manage to prevail even though the odds were against them. A David versus Goliath of sorts with a lot of special effects thrown in for good measure. The story seemed to focus way too much on the cliche romance between John and Sarah than the upcoming battle itself where the heart of the film should’ve truly been. Four had too multiple plots going that it distracted the audience from truly enjoying the movie. The film’s biggest casualties were Pettyfer and Agron who were basically required to swoon and mope around until their first kiss. Agron could’ve channeled her Glee character to give her character some much needed grit. Luckily, another season of Glee is coming to make that happen. Pettyfer worked best in his scenes with father figure Olyphant and surrogate brother McAulliffe. Even though the plot stretched logic, the audience couldn’t help but feel sorry for John when he had to say goodbye to a loved one. The movie would’ve fared better it focused more on John coming of age and understanding his powers instead of his chemistry free teenage romance. Despite Four‘s flaws, it’s something that can be used as the perfect cure during bad weather.
Verdict: A very guilty pleasure for Sci-Fi fans not quite ready for Blade Runner.
Movie Score: 1.5 out of 5 stars
Movie Rating: PG-13
1 Star (Mediocre)
2 Stars (Averagely Entertaining)
3 Stars (Decent Enough to Pass Muster)
4 Stars (Near Perfect)
5 Stars (Gold Standard)