Monday, July 25, 2011

Critic Not Sure Why He Likes "I Am Number Four"

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 63 (of 2011) by Leroy Douresseaux

I Am Number Four (2011)
Running time: 110 minutes (1 hour, 50 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and for language
WRITERS: Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, and Marti Noxon (based on the novel by Jobie Hughes and James Frey writing as Pittacus Lore)
PRODUCER: Michael Bay
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Guillermo Navarro
EDITORS: Vince Filippone and Jim Page
COMPOSER: Trevor Rabin

SCI-FI/FANTASY/ACTION/DRAMA with elements of romance

Starring: Alex Pettyfer, Timothy Olyphant, Teresa Palmer, Dianna Argon, Callan McAuliffe, Kevin Durand, Jake Abel, and Jeff Hochendoner

I Am Number Four is a science fiction teen drama released earlier this year, distributed by Walt Disney Pictures and produced by DreamWorks. The film is based upon the bestselling novel of the same name and follows an alien teenager living on Earth and hiding from another alien race bent on killing him and others like him.

I Am Number Four is a movie meant to appeal to the young audiences that love the Twilight movies. I Am Number Four is not as good as any of the Twilight films, but it is a better than average action fantasy that has familiar, but likeable characters.

Early in the film, we meet an extraordinary teen going by the name Daniel Jones. He was born on the planet, Lorien, and like eight other children from this planet, he has special powers and is part of a group known as the Garde. He and the other eight children had to leave Lorien in order to escape an invading race, the Mogadorians. Daniel lives in hiding on Earth with a Warrior/Guardian named Henri (Timothy Olyphant).

Circumstances force Henri to take his young charge to a new home in Paradise, Ohio. Once there, Henri changes Daniel’s name to John Smith (Alex Pettyfer). Although he is supposed to stay quiet and not get noticed, John falls for amateur photographer and fellow high school student, Sarah Hart (Dianna Argon), and he befriends a UFO conspiracy theorist, Sam Goode (Callan McAuliffe). John also draws the ire of local football stud, Mark James (Jack Abel), who once dated Sarah and bullies Sam.

John’s high school drama becomes complicated when he begins to make connections with people who share his destiny and when the Mogadorians get closer to finding him. The Mogadorians must kill members of the Garde in a particular sequence, and they’ve already killed the first three. John Smith is Number Four.

Hackneyed plot, clunky pacing, clichéd characters, and an overall story that seems familiar: that is how I can describe I Am Number Four. Still, I liked it. For the comparisons it may draw to Twilight, I Am Number Four belongs more to the boy-savior genre and is closer to the Harry Potter franchise. I also found the movie to be longer than it needed to be. Not only are the characters clichés, but the actors act as if they are determined to deliver clichéd characters.

Still, for some reason, however, I liked this movie. Perhaps, it is the action movie pyrotechnics, which make alien characters here seem like quasi- superheroes and super villains. Maybe, it is the screen charisma and natural charm that Alex Pettyfer exudes. I liked I Am Number Four, and can’t really tell you, dear reader, why. My enjoyment is why I give this mediocre to sometimes barely above-average film this particular grade.

6 of 10

Friday, July 22, 2011

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