I went into I AM NUMBER FOUR with low expectations. I had seen a few of the trailers for the film here and there, but had no other information to go on. All I knew going into the film were these facts: D.J. Caruso, director of Disturbia is behind the camera. Check. Hot Australian chick from THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE and BEDTIME STORIES is a badass chick. Check. Timothy Olyphant has a role. Check.
For those not familiar, I AM NUMBER FOUR was first a Young Adult novel written by an author named Pitticus Lore (obviously a pseudonym).
Now for my actual first impression after finishing the film…
I LOVED IT! Some of the best action sequences I’ve seen in any film, let alone book adaptations, or films for teenagers. At a PG-13, it did quite well with using every set piece imaginable and keeping things crisp, fun and explosive heavy!
Extraordinary teen John Smith (Alex Pettyfer) is a fugitive on the run from ruthless enemies sent to destroy him. Changing his identity, moving from town to town with his guardian Henri (Timothy Olyphant), John is always the new kid with no ties to his past. In the small Ohio town he now calls home, John encounters unexpected, life-changing events-his first love (Diana Agron), powerful new abilities and a connection to the others who share his incredible destiny. Summary by Walt Disney Pictures.
Basic plot: An alien planet is destroyed and only a certain number of inhabitants are alive and well, living on earth. Another race hell-bent on destroying them all are searching for each living alien and destroying them one-by-one. They’ve killed 1, 2, 3 and now we follow number 4 as he tries to survive, with a little help from number 6.
PERFORMANCES (STANDOUTS, FLOPS, THOSE TO REMEMBER)
I actually really enjoyed all the performances in this film. Alex Pettyfer of BEASTLY fame did a great job as leading man. As his love interest, currently popular GLEE cast member Diana Agron brought just the right amount of “girl next door” charm and innocence, providing a sweet connection to the lead character.
Other notable mentions are Teresa Palmer playing the badass, shoot first, take names later Number 6 who comes in to help with extra fire power. She looked good, she fought well, and she rode a Ducati. What more could you ask for?
Finally, Timothy Olyphant provided some solid work as always as Number 4’s handler and father figure. I also want to make a quick mention of “go to bad guy” of the last few years, young actor, Jake Abel. He plays the ex-boyfriend of Diana Agron’s character and Antagonist to Number 4 John Smith. I don’t know if he’s sick of playing the mean guy all the time, but, he’s good at it. So I won’t complain.
DID THE FILM DELIVER THE GOODS?:
I think the film delivered the goods. When a person can go into a film with no expectations, perhaps even low expectations and come out with a big smile on their face, I would say it did it’s job. The directing is top-notch from D.J. Caruso who I think redeems himself from his missteps in the recent film EAGLE EYE. He does really well with teen angst, and high school relationships as we saw in DISTURBIA. To see him back in this territory is a welcomed return.
The only criticism I would have of this film would be the Mogadorian’s. They are the race of people trying to kill all the “Number’s.” Outfitted with shaved heads, tattoo’s, fish scales by their noses and sharp teeth, they blur the line between crazy and intimidating, and comic relief. I didn’t really care for the make-up job, or some of their lines and how they were used, but perhaps a second watch will change that.
SPECIAL FEATURES, EXTRAS, THE WHOLE KIT & KABOODLE:
I was disappointed in the amount of extras on this film. I WANTED MORE! I wanted to hear D.J. Caruso talk about directing more. All we get is:
Deleted Scenes: They really didn’t need to show us any of these, they don’t help the film.
Becoming Number Six: This is a short, behind the scenes segment following Teresa Palmer as she does stunts for the film. I liked this feature a lot, just wished it was longer and included all of the cast and more stunts.
Blooper reel: Somewhat funny, but not enough to really sustain my interest.
FEATURE RUN TIME: 109 Minutes
ASPECT RATION: 1.85:1 High Def *The Blu-Ray had a nice transfer
SOUND: Dolby DTS Surround in English. Subtitled in English, French and Spanish
MOVIE: 7.5 out of 10 DVD: 6 out of 10
Neal Fischer is an independent film critic and filmmaker in Chicago.