“I don’t want to be original. I want to be invisible.” Henri, when asked why he couldn’t pick a more original alias than “John Smith.”
Aliens walk among us, or at least the nine Mogadorians from the planet Lorian. The nine travel the earth with their guardians attempting to evade the bounty hunters dispatched to kill them - in numerical order. Now the title makes sense. As each targeted Mogadorian is killed, the next victim is mysteriously scarred with a spiral-shaped burn. I am Four
opens with the demise of Number Three. Suddenly, the camera cuts to Four (Alex Pettyfer) as we witness the burns as he is frolicking with a girl in the ocean.
With the demise of Three, Four and his guardian Henri (Timothy Olyphant) are on the run again so they head to Paradise, Ohio. Upon their arrival, Four is given the unimaginative name of “John Smith” as a new identity. Though the instructions are to “lay low”, Four does everything but. He inherits a stray dog and gets a new girl, Sarah (Dianna Agron, from Glee). As the high school jock, he develops an unlikely friendship with Sam (Callan McAuliffe), a high school alien-conspiracy theorist. There is also the tried and true story of the girl who has a jealous ex-boyfriend that John must contend with. Mix all of this up with the fact that he is just learning the extent of his sci-fi powers and John’s (a.k.a. Four), antics draw the life-threatening attention of the very aliens they are desperately trying to avoid.
Great movie moments:
I am Four
has glimpses of edgy moments, especially the fighting scenes during the last 15 minutes or so of the movie. In fact, that is where most of the action happens.
Sam (McAuliffe) is refreshing, yet clichéd, as John’s sidekick as they race to escape the aliens and attempt to discover what happened to Sam’s father (yes, that would be yet another coincidental storyline).
Despite the fact that the actors are older in real life, teenagers will appreciate all the good looks and well-toned bodies romping around on the screen.
Not so great movie moments:
I am Four
often falls back on a first person, storytelling narrative which makes it difficult to identify or connect with the other characters. This lack of depth makes the story extremely one-dimensional despite the fact that there are several embedded story lines.
Much of I am Four
is clichéd…the football hero/bully, the Sci-Fi nerd, the hunky guy and the pretty girl, “new boyfriend fights old boyfriend situation” etc… It is a teenage flick disguised as a Sci-fi movie.
The special effects are really low-budget. Watching John’s telekinetic powers, is a cross between the early Superman and Spiderman movies. Flipping through the air, while his palms turn into bright spotlights when he gets angry, is unimaginative and boring when you think of the special effects available today.
Don’t even get me started on the appearance of the bad guy aliens and their large, prehistoric-looking pets.
There are so many details/lines introduced in the movie, there are often more questions than answers. Why are aliens on earth in the first place? What is so special about these nine? Why does the movie introduce us to Four and Six, and briefly Three, but not Five?
Overall, I give I am Four
a 2 out of 5 stars, if for nothing else, just trying to keep track of the numbers. Teenage girls will be thrilled with the blond-haired, well-built Four, despite the fact that the storyline is limited.
PG-13 – Teenagers kissing, Four is shirtless a couple of times. Alien violence.
Want to watch? Check out I Am Number Four
I watched this movie during Watch-a-thon week and have not been compensated for this review.