I Am Number Four

I Am Number Four

Starring Alex Pettyfer, Timothy Olyphant, and Teresa Palmer
Directed by D.J. Caruso (Eagle Eye)
Rated PG-13 for intense sequence of violence and action, and for language
Appropriate for ages 13+

    John Smith (Pettyfer) is one of several young people sent to Earth to seek safety from Alien invaders.  But when the first three are killed, John and his protector (Olyphant) must move to a small Ohio town to escape certain destruction.  While there John falls in love for the first time and also discovers his unique powers, which may or may not help defend him from the assassins.

    Part of me really wants to like this film.  After all, unlike most of the tent pole pictures out there – its somewhat original in plot and has a big look and feel to it.  The young actors are talented and dynamic enough and Olyphant is fun to watch as the father figure.  I even want to like the aliens who are truly a dastardly bunch with nasty weapons and even nastier pets. 

    But then after thinking about the whole thing, I realized that there is so much to dislike about this film.  First off is the flat dialog which does nothing to help the story.  And while the plot feels original, the way they carry out the plot is as cliched and copycatted as you can get.  Stealing from Twilight, Spiderman, Terminator and others, the film doesn’t deliver on its original promises it makes in the opening act.  I know we are supposed to say that “teenagers do stupid things and that rational thought doesn’t enter their heads at times,” but why would a teenager from another planet with a group of interstellar assassins hot on his trail act in such a fashion.  His actions defy logic and really pinpoint the flaws in the script. 

    And as for Olyphant, he proves once again that he can shine even in the worst of films.  While this is not the most horrible film he could star in, it is also not a place for his talents to be put to the test. 

    But what I found most insulting was the whole “franchise” feel to the movie.  The third act gives a tidy ending to this particular story, but then stands up and declares that there are sequels are on the way.  A smart film would have ended where the audience didn’t feel like they were in some studio’s master plan to make millions and millions of dollars.

    So while I think that the demographic this film was intended for will not see past some of this sloppy filmmaking and might actually enjoy the picture, it will most like never break out and become a huge box office smash.  C+