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Blu-Ray Review: Derivative, Generic ‘I Am Number Four’

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CHICAGO – Very few films have felt more made my a movie-making machine than the dull “I Am Number Four,” a film that hopes so desperately to feel like something that you’ve seen before and that you’ll like the familiarity that it never develops a personality of its own. With a dull lead, lackluster romance, goofy dialogue, and melodramatic storytelling, “I Am Number Four” disappoints in nearly every way that a movie can.

HollywoodChicago.com Blu-Ray Rating: 1.5/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 1.5/5.0

With echoes of everything from “Star Wars” to ’80s-era Spielberg to “The Twilight Saga,” “I Am Number Four” posits that the new kid in school is really an alien being hunted by another alien species. We have seen countless movies that work on the idea that the new kid at school is not what he seems. Throw in a little action, a little romance, and some sci-fi jargon and you have yourself a movie. Sorta.

I Am Number Four was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on May 24, 2011
I Am Number Four was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on May 24, 2011
Photo credit: Walt Disney Home Video

The title “I Am Number Four” refers to its central character, a Mogadorian named John (Alex Pettyfer). It turns out that aliens are after his people and they have killed numbers one, two and three. Now, John and his protector Henri (Timothy Olyphant of “Justified”) try to go deeper into hiding to protect him but they end up in the least-protected place in the world — high school.

Wouldn’t you know it, John falls for a sweet photographer named Sarah (Dianna Agron of “Glee”) and the dynamic between alien and high school girl is clearly meant to echo that of vampire and sullen teen in “Twilight.” Haven’t you always known that the dreamy boy at high school was more than he seemed?

I Am Number Four was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on May 24, 2011
I Am Number Four was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on May 24, 2011
Photo credit: Walt Disney Home Video

The high school romance and subplots about John’s protector and his subsequent protection of a bullied kid at school whose father may have known about the existence of the Mogadorians isn’t nearly as bad as when John’s powers start to develop and he shoots lights out of his hands with no clear definition of his powers. He’s a superhero with no restrictions and it makes the action of the film just ludicrous. He’s super strong and can shoot light out of his hands. And he’s sweet to beat-up kids and heartbroken teen girls. He’s like a superhero imagined by a pre-teen girl.

“I Am Number Four” is so heavy on ridiculous special effects and even more ridiculous dialogue that none of it has any impact at all. Roger Ebert brilliantly pointed out that the whole thing is so divorced from the real world that it might as well have been a cartoon. He was close. Most modern theatrical cartoons are better.

Three are dead. Who is Number Four? From director D.J. Caruso (Disturbia), producer Michael Bay (Transformers) and the writers of TV’s Smallville comes this gripping, action-packed thriller. John Smith (Alex Pettyfer) is an extraordinary teen masking his true identity to elude a deadly enemy sent to destroy him. Living with his guardian (Timothy Olyphant) in the small town he now calls home, John encounters unexpected, life-changing events - his first love (Dianna Agron, TV’s Glee), powerful new abilities and a secret connection to the others who share his incredible destiny. Complete with bloopers and more, I Am Number Four is an explosive, suspense-filled ride that will take you to the edge of your seat and beyond.

Special Features:
o Deleted Scenes
o Bloopers
o Becoming Number Six
o Digital Copy Of Feature Film

“I Am Number Four” stars Alex Pettyfer, Dianna Agron, and Timothy Olyphant. It was directed by D.J. Caruso. It was released on Blu-ray and DVD by Disney on May 24th, 2011.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

Content Director

thomasd5's picture

I Am Number Four Review

I know two sorts of people, the ones that didn’t see the movie on the Big Screen because of bad reviews and the ones that went to the cinema and liked it.
I saw the movie on the Big Screen several times since I liked it.

And perhaps it might be a good idea to watch the movie intently before writing a review since John is not from Mogador but from Lorien. His enemies are from Mogador.
And his superpowers are not unlimited at all. They are much more limited than in the novel.
In the novel he is fire resistant and has telepathic abilities which allow him to communicate with animals like his dog and his enemies monsters. He doesn’t have that in the movie.
And he can’t make himself invisible like Number Six can.

So his superpowers apart from being stronger and faster than a human are
1. Lumen, which allow him to turn his hands into spotlights and
2. Telekinesis which allows him to move or destroy things which include the deflection of rays.

So before writing a review, it might be helpful to watch the movie and focus on that.

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