I Am Number Four – Review

‘I Am Number Four’ preview held at the BFI London IMAX – Friday 18th February 2011

*Warning – This review contains some spoilers*

Synopsis 

Three are dead. He is Number Four.

John Smith (Alex Pettyfer), is one of nine children of Lorien, sent to Earth to escape the ruthless Mogadorians that had laid waste to their home world and are now seeking out and killing the final 9 survivors. Three have been killed already. John is number four.  

After the death of the number Three, John and his guardian Henri (Timothy Olyphant) move to the small town of Paradise, Ohio to hide and start fresh. While here John makes new friends, new enemies, meets his first love, Sarah (Dianna Agron) and discovers his new ‘legacies’, extraordinary powers that he will need to survive when the Mogadorians eventually find him

Aided by his friend Sam and fellow survivor Number Six (Teresa Palmer), John must battle the Mogodorians, not only for his own survival but for the survival of Earth

Summary

As my wife put it, I Am Number Four is an old-fashioned film. Not is a bad, outdated way. I Am Number Four is reminiscent of some of the great event movies of the early eighties like Ghostbusters or Gremlins. A film that both adults and children can enjoy with a mix of action, romance and most surprisingly, in a time where film makers seem to think that blowing your budget on CGI makes great cinema (Skyline, I’m looking directly at you, you crazy nonsense of a film without an ending) it has an actual story

In fact it’s not until the last 20 minutes or so that the action (and effects) ramp up as John and Number 6’s powers come into play in an exciting, school levelling, highly kinetic battle with the Mogadorians

Comparisons to (the eye-gougingly painful) Twilight series are inevitable but here Pettyfer as John Smith, a brooding teen-with-a-secret is much more believable than sulky Edward Cullen and Glee’s Dianna Agron as social misfit Sarah is infinitely more likeable than perpetual gloom merchant Bella.

Of course, I Am Number Four isn’t without its faults or clichés. At one point (*spoiler* just before his inevitable death) Henri tells John “You don’t know how powerful you are..” Really? Ok, tell you what Henri, as we’re on the run from enemies that will stop at nothing to see us dead, so how about you tell me? This is no time to be enigmatic! Jeez!

The Mogadorians come across like moustache twirling cartoon villains at times and there are a few minor plot holes, plus a CGI sidekick that feels like it’s there for kid-appeal.

Despite this, I Am Number Four feels like the beginning of what could be an excellent series, with enough loose ends left dangling to leave you wanting more and to find out the fate of the remaining Lorien survivors

After the turgid Harry Potter stunk up the sci-fi/fantasy genre just before Christmas, I Am Number Four is a breath of fresh air but my concern is that it may be all to quickly forgotten once the upcoming glut of better know Superhero movies appear

Score 7/10 – An excellent school holiday movie for kids and adults alike that deserves your attention

‘I am Number Four’ is released on in the UK on Wednesday 23rd February 2011

 

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