For some reason, unbeknownst and indecipherable to me, this alien/action film has been highly anticipated by the teenage portion of the population. I don’t know why…are aliens the new vampires?…because of the young, nubile hotties from each of the sexes in it?… Beats me? Whatever the reason young people have been talking up this one for a while.
Director D.J. Caruso (Eagle Eye, Disturbia) has made films with young stars before (Shia LaBeouf is his number one guy), so he knows what he has to give their audiences to keep them happy. There are six-packed guys without their shirts on, make out scenes and a hot and heavy teen romance. Check, check and check. I guess what I am trying to say is that this one was a little too paint-by-numbers for my tastes….but keep in mind I am a little older than the target audience, so I might be a little more jaded.
It just seemed like Caruso was trying to be a little too much of everything for everyone. He included jocks, aliens, technology, action, romance, comedy, nerds, sci fi, pretty girls, and hideous looking bad guys in his film. Spread himself a little too thin, if you ask me. Free life lesson alert: Get good at one thing and stick to it.
I Am Number Four is about nine young aliens, looking like humans only fitter and better looking, who have fled from their destroyed home planet and have come to Earth to hide from the destructive Mogadorians – sporting some pointy-ass teeth, who are hunting them down one by one to kill them off.
Our hero is number Four (Alex Pettyfer) and while living in Florida with his protector Henri (Timothy Olyphant) part of Four’s leg heats up and gets a scar on it. It is the third such scar on his lower leg. This lets Four know that number Three has been killed. Four is next.
Henri and Four flee to the small town of Paradise, Ohio. There Four becomes John Smith and starts attending high school with strict orders from his protector to keep his head down and blend in.
Of course you know that John is not going to be able to blend in for the simple reason that there would be no movie then. Some of John’s powers (his hands glow and he is able to move things or start car engines with them) develop over this time. What also develop are his feelings for photography nut, Sarah (Dianna Agron – from television’s Glee). His feelings for Sarah make it hard for John to focus on the task of keeping one step ahead of the Mogadorians. Henri keeps on urging him to keep his eye on the prize.
As you can see this is the typical teen movie storyline with all the complicated love and angst with a sprinkling of extraterrestrial stuff thrown in for good measure. The eternal quest of making a realistic film about the transition from childhood to adulthood. The search for the Holy Grail in filmdom. Torment, insecurity and burgeoning sexuality makes for an interesting stew for filmmakers and audiences.
A sizable portion of the audience, which was a young one, took to laughing at the cheesy dialogue at every turn. It got to a point that every time the lead actor or Timothy Olyphant opened their mouths laughter began. While I did not find the dialogue any worse than other movies of this ilk I did find myself being amused unintentionally by the film. For example, after watching the film it seemed to me like what holds true in the cheesiest of horror movies also holds true in teen alien flicks. No one has the sense enough to know better than to run into a dark forest at night or into a dark basement. C’mon! These are the most basic of rules of how to keep yourself alive when in one of these films. Never a shortage of dum dums, I guess.
What really was not done well were the climatic fight/action sequences. They were so choppily edited and featured cameras going everywhere and nowhere at once that there were points that I had to look away.
Despite the cheesiness, plot holes (didn’t even bother getting to that), bad camera work, and idiots going into dark dangerous places, I’m sure this film will make a sizable amount of money on the backs of the young folks it is targeted at.
-Becoming Number 6