I Am Number Four

(2011)

Genres: Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller

Review: I Am Number Four

Transcript for Review: I Am Number Four

CHRISTY LEMIRE:
An alien seems to be an American teenager in I AM NUMBER FOUR.  We’ve got a lot of big movies this week, plus a few we’re catching up on.  I’m Christy Lemire of the Associate Press.

IGNATIY VISHNEVETSKY:
And I’m Ignatiy Vishnevetsky of mubi.com.  The hero of I AM NUMBER FOUR explains in the opening narration that he is an alien from another planet hiding out on earth for an undefined but constantly repeated reason:  He must hide or else he’ll be killed by an evil group of aliens called Mogadorians.

CLIP from I AM NUMBER FOUR

IGNATIY:
That’s Alex Pettyfer playing Alien Number Four.  The previous three aliens are already dead.  Number Four lives under the protection of a warrior from his home planet played by Timothy Olyphant.  The two pretend to be father and son.

CLIP from I AM NUMBER FOUR

IGNATIY:
Number Four disguises himself as an ordinary high school student, but sometimes his alien powers get in the way.

CLIP from I AM NUMBER FOUR

IGNATIY:

He falls for a local girl, an aspiring photographer played by Dianna Agron.  I AM NUMBER FOUR was produced by Michael Bay, but it’s neither as perverse, nor as visually outrageous as the films he actually directs.  In everything from plot, to acting, to special effects, it’s completely generic.  Every element of the film is borrowed from somewhere else, and not one of those borrowed elements is filmed with enough energy to make it interesting.

CHRISTY:
And you mention Michael Bay here; I feel a lot of Steven Spielberg influence here as well.  D.J. Caruso, who directed this, also did DISTURBIA, and that was sort of a Spielbergian take on REAR WINDOW. This is like a Spielbergian take on an early Spielberg movie where you have the combination of the aliens and the high school.  You trying to have this crazy, other-worldly setting in a very realistic, grounded situation like high school with the bullies and the outcast – Number Four and his geeky little buddy, his only friend in the school – I mean that stuff kind of works, but it’s traditional and not too –

IGNATIY:
I think the geeky buddy is the really – the Spielbergian element in here.

CHRISTY:
Yeah.

IGNATIY
But, I think, for the most part, it’s just so unremarkable that, you know, there’s really nothing that I can say that’s really specific to this film.

CHRISTY:
We have Dianna Agron, who is lovely and incredibly photogenic, and then you also have Teresa Palmer, who is another alien, who is an alien warrior princess, and the two of them look so much alike that they’re almost interchangeable to me, here.

IGNATIY:
Yeah, well that creates this, kind of, odd subtext to the film, but maybe then we’re reading a little bit too much into it.

CHRISTY:
Right.  Is she his sister?  Is he dating this chick who looks like his sister?  It’s very confusing.  And all the shoot-outs with all the aliens – so bland.

IGNATIY:
Which are very conveniently set in very dark places so that you can’t really tell the quality of the special effects.

CHRISTY:
Right!  At night!

IGNATIY:
They only ever seem to fight at night.

CHRISTY:
It’s exciting – if only it were.