I have been waiting for a few weeks, to see I Am Number Four. I usually like D.J. Caruso movies, and one thing you can’t deny about Michael Bay, he does have a flair for action. But when I finally sat my but down in the soft, yet still somewhat uncomfortable movie theater chair, and began to watch the movie in IMAX, I couldn’t help think throughout the entire movie, “I should not have read the book first.”
I Am Number Four
Starring: Alex Pettyfer, Dianna Aragorn, Timothy Olyphant, and Teresa Palmer.
Synopsis: John Smith (Alex Pettyfer) and his guardian (Timothy Olyphant) have escaped to Earth after their planet Lorien, and its people destroyed. He is one of nine “aliens” who are hiding on earth from the Mogadorian’s. Each alien has to be killed in number order. Three are dead and he is number four. He hides in Paradise, Ohio where he also has to battle having a normal life, bullies, finding love, and staying alive.
Before I start with my review one interesting tidbit. I Am Number Four started production May 2010 and filmed for 3 months. The book was published August 2010. I wonder if this affected the screenplay and the movie in anyway.
It’s hard to judge the movie on its own, but I will try. The story could have been structured a bit better. I felt the movie left out a lot of key elements from the book that wouldn’t really have taken too long to explain. I know not everything in books can be adapted into a movie version, otherwise the movie would have been 4 hours long, however they could have taken a bit more time to develop the relationship between Henri, John, and Bernie Kosar. In the book, Henri trained John, he taught John about their planet and their history. He wasn’t just an overprotective guardian, like the movie portrayed him as. Henri was a father, a teacher, a brother, a friend, and one of the only of John’s kind he had a connection to.
Also Bernie Kosar, was John’s first friend, and also protector. In the book Bernie changes in front of John and I felt like that was an important element. Even when John thinks he’s alone and has to do it all on his own, he had someone else besides Henri looking out for him.
And lastly, my least favorite element the movie changed, Mark (Jake Abel), the bully/ex-boyfriend of Sarah who was jealous of her affections toward John. Mark in the book and movie were pretty similar, only in the movie, he had no redeeming qualities. And in the end ***SPOILER ALERT*** he lead the Mogadorian’s to John. In the book, Mark redeemed himself by helping John fight. He even saved his life a few times. And it was one of my favorite things. Mark realized there were bigger dangers in the world, so he stepped up, and became a man, and protected someone he thought was his enemy against an even bigger enemy.
But let’s talk about the action sequences. In true DJ Caruso/Michael Bay style, the action sequences were pretty fantastic. I felt the action throughout the film built up the right amount of tension. And the beginning teaser was chilling and haunting. The big fight sequence scene at the end was very thrilling, exiting, and a bit nail biting. I admit it, I jumped out of my seat a few times. And I have to say, Teresa Palmer (as Six) was bad ass. But then again, most Teresa’s are bad-asses.
As for the acting, well….Alex Pettyfer is a beautiful looking man, or I guess I should say boy as he is not yet 21. But other than that, he didn’t put much personality into John Smith. Ye,s the character is supposed to be flying under the radar. He’s supposed to be strong, yet mysterious, and stoic. However, that does not mean cardboard, sometimes I felt like there was no life behind Pettyfer’s eyes. He got the, “I’m being mysterious part down” but I think his character needed a little more vulnerability and a bit more likeability. We liked him because we were supposed to, not because we wanted to.
In the book John understands that he must stay alive at all costs. Even if at times it’s hard, being on the run is second nature. But in the movie, I felt as if John came across as too much of a whiny teenager. And there wasn’t enough build up between his relationship with Sarah (Dianna Aragon) . It was like they kissed and suddenly they were in love. But I guess that’s high school. Not my high school, but times they-are-a changing.
As for Henri, I was hesitant about Timothy Olyphant. I pictured Henri as older, not quite as good-looking, and a bit more weathered, but I felt Timothy played his character well. He believable as John’s guardian. I just wish we had more time for his character to develop and that the movie showed just how much Henri had sacrificed for Henri, and what his safety meant to him as well.
All in all I give this movie: 3 out of 5 stars. And I hope that if they do a sequel to this movie, they 1) wait for the book to come out first, 2) actually read the book and develop characters.
And my final, final thought, I don’t care if the movie is more kid oriented, but please, please, please, if you don’t need to, don’t make the bad-guy aliens talk. They reminded me of Voldemort wanna-bees and their dialogue was completely unnecessary.
Maybe I’m being too hard on the movie. Maybe I need to watch it again. When I watched Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, for the second time, I was able to enjoy it much more because I knew what to expect and I was waiting to see what they did, or did not leave out from the book. Maybe I should watch I Am Number Four again, but if I do, I won’t be paying $17 to watch it. Dude, IMAX is EXPENSIVE!
You can check out other reviews for I Am Number Four HERE at one of my favorite movie review sites.