The sci-fi film “I Am Number Four” may have received moderately negative critical reviews, but I found the movie moderately entertaining. The movie stars Alex Pettyfer (Beastly) as John Smith/Number 4/Daniel; Timothy Olyphant (TV’s “Justified”) as Henri; Dianna Agron (TV’s “Glee”) as Sarah; Teresa Palmer (The Grudge 2) as Number 6; and Callan McAuliffe (Flipped) as Sam Goode.
“I Am Number Four” is the story of a high-school teen Daniel (played by 21-year-old Alex Pettyfer) who is hiding his identity because he is actually from the planet Lorien. Daniel is forced to move and change his name to John Smith because a little of his extra-terrestrial talent is caught on film and posted on the web.
In the film’s early sequence the viewers see another teen killed in the jungle by a mysterious beast and they learn these alien children are being killed in numerical order. The first 3 teens have been hunted and killed by the Mogadorians–another and much more vicious race of aliens. John Smith is Number 4 and next on the list to be killed.
Number 4 is protected and mentored by a Warrior/Guardian, Henri, who is also from Lorien. The entire planet was wiped out by the Mogadorians except for nine children gifted with special legacies — superpowers that were designed to help them save Lorien but which now must help them save themselves.
John and Henri must evade the Mogadorians while John fights the greatest battle of all — being a new teen in love with a popular girl in a high school dominated by jocks. Sound familiar?
The film was aimed at teens, not critics, so it doesn’t matter that it is somewhat derivative of other superheroes from space, mutant or accidental origins. Yes, it is a bit heavy on action sequences and teen angst, but Disney is trying to attract the video-game generation, and action does sell movies to teens, as does teen angst.
“I Am Number Four” does commit one of my pet peeves — mature 20-somethings acting as teens, which gives real teens unrealistic models of how “normal” teens should look, talk and act. It’s hard enough being a teen — much harder when you have to compete with Alex Pettyfer (21), Dianna Agron (25), and Teresa Palmer (25) playing teens.
The action was suspenseful, the acting not bad, and the special effects were up to speed. There wasn’t any sex or nudity and little cursing, so the movie isn’t objectionable.
“I Am Number Four” released in theaters on February 18, 2011 and will release on Blu-ray, DVD, Movie Download and On-Demand May 24th from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment & Dreamworks Studios.