BEST MOVIES EVER MOVIE REVIEW: I AM NUMBER FOUR
‘I Am Number Four‘ feels like the pseudonym the book was authored under; it never amounts to much more than feeling like something you’ll forget you saw a day or two later. Once again Michael Bay jumps in and throws CGI into a mix that doesn’t need or want it ruining what could have been a satisfying ending into what feels like just another excuse to keep the door open for a sequel.
After all the controversy over his “A Million Little Pieces“, James Frey was smart enough to co-author ‘I Am Number Four‘ under the name Pittacus Lore lest people question his alien status or think he wanted those that believed his first book was pure nonfiction to think just maybe he was from another galaxy. I’m sure it was more to not sully this sci-fi young adult series that became popular. Frey did say in an interview though that after reading the final installment in the Harry Potter series back in 2007 that someone would have to take over the next Harry Potter bonanza franchise, and he wanted to cash in on it. Dreamworks snatched it up, but sadly, Michael Bay was the one to bring it to Stacy Snider and Steven Spielberg so they were stuck with his sticking his fingers into this pot.
What’s interesting with this bit of backstory is that Dreamworks bought the film rights to ‘I Am Number Four’ before a final draft was completed of the actual book. They wrote various versions of the script which they shared with Frey who wound up using many of their ‘suggestions’ to put into the final version of the book, so for those who think the film followed the book faithfully, it’s more that the book followed the movie version more faithfully. Interestingly enough, even the ending was Dreamworks idea which wound up becoming incorporated into the final book so having a pseudonym for this book series is smart since it sounds like many hands are in the pot creatively saving Frey more embarrassment of not having written them all himself.
I was actually interested in seeing ‘I Am Number Four’ since I’ve pretty much liked the projects Marti Noxon and Alfred Gough are part of, but this one felt more like it was programmed for so many demographics and movie product placement companies that it just felt like a compilation of superhero ideas (Smallville) and Twilight. There are some cool moments, but those are quickly outshadowed by the vanilla bland hero Alex Pettyfer, who after pulling a diva act and complaining that other people were making more on this film than he was, should be grateful to have two more films coming out this year that can hopefully redeem him. Our message to Mr. Pettyfer, when you have some great actors surrounding you like Timothy Olyphant and Glee’s Dianna Agron, they deserve more money than you for having to pick up all your slack. You almost wish they’d brought in Ryan Murphy to remind the filmmakers of what real teen angst is about, and not just creating another school where everyone is the walking cliche.
‘I Am Number Four’ opens with a teen girl yelling out that Pettyfer’s Number Four is ‘some kind of freak’, but in the vein of James Bond, it’s just that the bad aliens called Mogadorians are killing off the good aliens from the doomed planet of Lorien off, and Number Three has just been killed off. Number Four gives off a strange light from his leg when another of his kind are killed. Now the burden falls on him to become the next target. The Mogadorians are eliminating the Loriens in numerical order and sadly, for our sake, they just can’t kill off Number Four.
Timothy Olyphant, who is totally wasted in this film, plays Four’s protector disguised as his father (traces of Smallville), and after each Lorien is killed off, Four switches to another school ever on the run. I kept waiting for the classis ‘Incredile Hulk’ ending with Pettyfer tossing his thumb out for a ride, but with the updated homoerotic appeal of making sure his shirt rides up just enough for the passerby to catch his chiseled body.
Under a new identity of John Smith (John Doe might have been more appropriate), Number Four enters a new high school that even one character is forced to admit consists of clichés run amok: A male clique surrounding the school’s star quarterback (Jake Abel) bullies a geek who believes in UFOs along with the oh so original cheerleader who just wants a normal boyfriend so naturally she falls for Pettyfer. The main thing is that this gives hope to all those blandly pretty boys to know that that is what’s considered normal in Hollywood.
Four’s protector advises him to keep his blue glowing hands hidden along with his super strength so he blends in and stays under the radar. Naturally, he goes for the star quarterback’s former girlfriend raising his radar level considerably. The message is obviously clear, raise that freak flag and be proud, but it takes a less than mediocre talent like Pettyfer to be that freak. Great message to put out that you still need to be pretty to even be a freak now.
Sadly, what could have been a great story to follow gets mulled over by director (handpicked by Michael Bay) D.J. Caruso turn ‘I Am Number Four’ into a CGI VFX bonanza which winds up muddling what is a pretty cool storyline. Even in the third act where you can Michael Bay’s presence in the final showdown, the battle feels like a letdown, and I do like a good battle scene…but only when it servers the story, and not just another excuse to draw us away from a good storyline.
There are two strong storylines in the film: the high school with all the teen angst and melodrama, but also the aliens chasing down Number Four. That’s the problem for me in the fact that the two storylines never mesh and always feel separate which only makes the film feel even more disparate.
Best Movies Ever Rating: C-
I Am Number Four has a great premise, but when you have a heavy handed tech geek pulling the strings behind the scenes, it only ruined what could have been a good film for teen and adult audiences alike.
I Am Number Four Movie Premiere Best Movies Ever
Enjoy I Am Number Four with Alex Pettyfer and Best Movies Ever.