DVD: I Am Number Four

I Am Number Four
(Dreamworks Pictures)

Buy it at Amazon!

Let me start out by saying that I have not read the book this film is based on so I can’t make a book to movie comparison but as a movie alone I can say I Am Number Four left something to be desired. The film centers around teenager, John Smith, (played by Alex Pettyfer) who looks human but is actually part of an alien race of nine teenagers bestowed with otherworldly super powers. Guarded by his “father” (Timothy Olyphant in a rather subdued performance), John moves from town to town, changing his identity to elude the Mogadorians—another race of aliens determined to kill anyone from John’s home planet of Lorien, particularly the nine gifted teens. Ironically enough, the Mogadorians look almost identical to Pettyfer’s character in his previous film, Beastly, with a touch of Voldemort.

Lorien’s super powered nine can only be killed in order and Number Three has just been taken out. Being Number Four, John is next on the list so he takes refuge in a small town with his guardian but is quickly tracked down by the Mogadorians when John starts mingling with other teenagers. Luckily for him, Number Six (Teresa Palmer) has also tracked him down and comes to his aid. That’s when the fireworks start.

I Am Number Four, directed by D.J. Caruso (Disturbia, Eagle Eye) and produced by Michael Bay (Transformers) has potential to be a decent sci-fi/action franchise for a younger audience (the second book is due out August, 2011) and looks fantastic but it lacks the originality needed to really pull in a large fanbase. The effects are there but there isn’t much going on we haven’t already seen in countless super hero movies—levitating cars, otherwise impossible acrobatics, teleportation fight sequences, characters walking away unscathed from a massive explosion in slow motion with as much cool as they can muster, glowing Iron Man-like hands that release Iron Man-like powers, the school bully with the heart of gold who turns over a new leaf and the attractive, super powered girl with the unconvincing (and unnecessary) bad attitude who looks like she just walked out of a music video.

Being an origin story, I Am Number Four is fairly weak but now that the story is set, perhaps that will allow the second film to focus on the strongest aspect of the first movie—the action and special effects. A more intense and deeper story line would be welcome too but based on the acting of I Am Number Four they’re better off sticking to explosions.

The DVD is very light on special features with only some bloopers and a short documentary focusing on Teresa Palmer’s “Number Six” character and what went into creating some of her scenes for the film. The Blu Ray disc also contains some deleted scenes. This is a bit unusual for a movie, not only produced by one of the biggest studios in Hollywood but also such an effects laden offering. I smell a special edition boxed set with loads of additional extras should the sequel(s) do well at the box office.

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