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Movie Review: I Am Number Four

February 18, 2011

I Am Number Four – A Touchstone Pictures’ Release

Release Date: February 18th

Rated PG for intense sequences of sci-fi violence, language may offend

Running time: 105 minutes


D.J. Caruso (dir.)


Alfred Gough (screenplay)

Miles Millar (screenplay)

Marti Noxon (screenplay)


Based on the novel by James Frey & Jobie Hughes, written under the pen name of Pittacus Lore


Trevor Rabin (music)


Alex Pettyfer as John

Timothy Olyphant as Henri

Teresa Palmer as Number 6

Dianna Agron as Sarah

Callan McAuliffe as Sam

Kevin Durand as Mogadorian Commander

Jake Abel as Mark

Jeff Hochendoner as Sherriff James

Patrick Sebes as Kevin


©DreamWorks II Distribution Co., LLC.  All Rights Reserved.

John (Alex Pettyfer) and Sarah (Dianna Agron) share a quiet momentin DreamWorks Pictures’ suspense thriller I Am Number Four.


Our reviews below:


I Am Number Four Review By John C.

** (out of 4)

I Am Number Four takes scenes of relentless and surprisingly dark sci-fi violence, and mashes it up with a thin and cliché high school subplot.  In other words, it’s a film geared directly towards the teenagers who enjoyed the source novel by James Frey & Jobie Hughes, which was written under the combined pen name of Pittacus Lore.


After his home planet of Lorien is destroyed, teenager John Smith (Alex Pettyfer) takes refuge in a small Ohio town with his assigned guardian, Henri (Timothy Olyphant).  Being the fourth of only nine special survivors that must be killed in order, John is constantly on the run from the evil Mogadorians.  But when he experiences love for the first time with Sarah (Dianna Agron) and finds a friend in the sci-fi obsessed Sam (Callan McAuliffe), his ties to Earth become stronger than ever before.


Director D.J. Caruso and producer Michael Bay do an alright job of building the suspense, but there were points when I found myself resistant to the relentless pace and strong sci-fi volence.  The Mogadorians provide a few strangely disturbing scenes of implied deaths, but too often the dialogue of the cheesy villains only serves to deliver presumably unintentional humour.


Alex Pettyfer makes for a fine lead and all the actors do the best they can with the material, but they ultimately don’t get much to work with in terms of character development.  Dianna Agron (who I watch weekly on Glee) is good in a side role, but she can’t bring her thinly written character above just serving as the love interest.


There’s rarely a dull moment and fans of the books are sure to get their money’s worth, but there’s nothing particularly memorable here to lift I Am Number Four above the level of just okay.


I Am Number Four Review By Erin V.

**1/2 (out of 4)

Number Four, or ‘John’ (Alex Pettyfer) is an alien hidden on earth with eight others after his world was destroyed by a vicious alien race called the Mogadorians.  Despite his protector Henri’s (Timothy Olyphant) request that he keep a low profile, John just has to go to high school, date the ex-cheerleader, and get her ex after him as well.  This catches the attention of the Mogadorian assassins – strange guys to watch in action.  They are a real mix, sometimes ridiculous to watch with their look and dialogue, but at other times offing people in pretty creepy ways.


The whole thing leads up to a battle between the aliens, complete with a giant creatures fighting.  The film seems to be trying to be both a high school and action movie, and while it will be enjoyed by the teen market I’m sure, it’s not one I’d go out of my way to see.


I Am Number Four is based on a book series (which I haven’t read and after seeing the movie don’t feel any real drive to).  To be honest, I can’t really say I enjoyed watching this one all that much.


I Am Number Four Review By Nicole

**1/2 (out of 4)

Based on the series by Pittacus Lore (James Frey), I Am Number Four follows a teenage extraterrestial on the run from his enemies.  After a group of evil aliens, the Mogadorian, attack the planet Lorien, only nine Lorienians escape and take refuge on Earth.  The Mogadorians manage to kill three of them, and now they are looking for Number Four (Alex Pettyfer), who is on the run disguised as a regular high schooler.


Always on the move, Number Four never makes friends and always remains anonymous under psuedonyms.  This time, “John Smith” falls for Sarah (Glee’s Dianna Agron) and befriends Sam (Callan McAuliffe), a geeky boy who is fascinated by UFOs.  Together they battle the Mogadorians who want to take things over.


Having never read the books, I found the characters to be underdeveloped.  The special effects are fine, but nothing original.  What this film lacks is an emotional hold, except for one moment that got cheers from the audience.  The movie ends in a way that will directly lead to a sequel.


I Am Number Four, although nothing special, will entertain the 12-18 year old crowd, but won’t be popular outside that demographic.


I Am Number Four Review By Maureen

**1/2 (out of 4)

No doubt fans of the sci-fi novel I Am Number Four by James Frey (Pittacus Lore) will be anxious to see how the story translates onto the big screen.  For those of us not familiar with the story the movie version comes across as dark in terms of action and violence but light on interesting dialogue and plot explanation.


The story revolves around an alien from the planet Lorien, Number Four living in disguise on Earth as high school senior, John Smith (Alex Pettyfer).  Aliens number one through three have already been killed on Earth by the evil (and ugly) Mogadorians (Mogs) and they now have their sights set on number four.  After tracking him down, they’ll move on to numbers five through nine unless the powerful Loriens can stop them.


Number Four, John Smith, tries to blend in an Ohio town living with his guardian and protector, Henri (Timothy Olyphant).  John’s cover is compromised when he gets involved with local pretty girl and photographer, Sarah (Glee’s Dianna Agron) and starts to hang around the school science geek and UFO believer, Sam (Callan McAuliffe).  Things get violent with the Mogs and John discovers his supernatural powers and special abilities.


There is a certain degree of tension and suspense built into the story.  However there doesn’t seem to be a good balance between the rather banal high school scenes and the amped-up violence of the fight scenes involving the Mogs.  I Am Number Four really isn’t suitable for the 12 and under crowd.  The movie hits a higher point with the arrival of Lorien Number Six (Teresa Palmer) and leads right into what looks like a sequel in the making.  With the next book due in September, this wouldn’t be a surprise.


Fans of the book or those who enjoy any sci-fi action stories told for the teenage demographic will want to see this movie.


I Am Number Four Review By Tony

**1/2 (out of 4)

John Smith (Alex Pettyfer) is Number Four of nine young survivors with complementary special powers hiding out on Earth with their guardians. The Mogadorians (Mogs) who took over their home planet have sent death squads to Earth to hunt them down and kill them in sequence. As the film opens, Number Three and his guardian are killed, and John’s guardian Henri (Timothy Olyphant) takes him from Florida to a new safe house in Paradise, OH. Despite Henri’s warnings to keep a low profile, John seeks a social life in the local high school, where he at once befriends the pretty Sarah (Dianna Agron) and antagonizes her ex, the school bully Mark (Jake Abel), while confirming the suspicions of the school geek Sam, who has alien secrets of his own. Just as he is developing the special light and force field from his palms, John is attacked along with Sarah and Sam, and fights off the Mogs with the help of Number Six (Teresa Palmer), setting us up for sequels with the missing numbers.

Based on a series of alien action books for teens, I Am Number Four is reasonably good for its target audience, and quite watchable for the rest of us, though it seems to take itself too seriously. As expected from producer Michael Bay, lots of things get blowed up real good, though at a more human scale than in his Transformers franchise, and there is just a hint of his horror films in the Mogs. In fact the Mogs, particularly their leader (Kevin Durand) provide some of the scarce humour in this film, perhaps unintentionally, such as when mass quantities of food are fed into their rocking trailer. Though not the best of its genre, I Am Number Four will not disappoint the fans.


Consensus: Although there’s rarely a dull moment in I Am Number Four and fans of the source novel are sure to enjoy it, the relentless sci-fi violence and lack of proper character development leave few memorable moments for the rest of us. **1/2 (Out of 4)

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