I Am Number Four

7 Apr

Title: I Am Number Four
Year:
2011
Director:
D.J. Caruso
Writers: Alfred Gough, Miles Millar, Marti Noxon, based on the novel written by Jobie Hughes and James Frey as Pittacus Lore
Starring:
Alex Pettyfer, Timothy Olyphant, Dianna Agron, Kevin Durand, Teresa Palmer, Callan McAuliffe, Jake Abel
MPAA Rating:
PG-13, intense sequences of violence and action, and for language
Runtime:
109 min
Major Awards:

IMDb Rating:
6.5
Rotten Tomatoes:
30%

I Am Number Four was heaps better than I expected it would be. I thought it would be a completely senseless science fiction-y teen adventure, because what else can you expect when a film lists Michael Bay as a producer on it? But instead we got a very solid film. I mean, the story is nothing that’s impressively original, and once the year is all said and done with we won’t really be remembering this one, but still, for what it was, I thought it was really solid.

And it was made quite enjoyable, I think, because of the actors in it. Alex Pettyfer takes on the leading role, his second stab at starting a sci-fi franchise aimed at teens after he starred in 2006’s Stormbreaker. And even if this one doesn’t get a greenlight for a sequel, which is certainly not a given by any standards, the guy is likable enough, and seems to now be finally making his mark in Hollywood, having upcoming roles in Beastly (which has already been released but I haven’t seen yet) and the October release Now, which I have high expectations for.

Mr. Pettyfer is cool in the leading role, I mean, I wasn’t impressed by his acting chops or anything, but he has the presence to carry a film of this sort, so at least there’s that. But the rest of the cast is made up of some pretty cool faces, especially those of Dianna Agron and Timothy Olyphant. Ms. Agron is of course best known for her role in Glee, but this, her first big role since breaking out in the series (she had smaller appearances last year in both Burlesque and The Romantics), has her going in a direction I think fits her quite well. As for Mr. Olyphant, he just has a knack for elevating everything he’s in, he’s consistently unbelievable in Justified week after week, and he brings something really cool to the table here, too.

So yes, count me amongst the ones who liked I Am Number Four a fair bit. Yes, even if you take away from it whatever sort of mythology it has, and even the one it does have isn’t that neat to begin with, all you’ll be left with is your typical high schooler movie. But it worked for me because of the actors who I thought did a fine job, and because D.J. Caruso is a very capable director and here, much like he did when he directed Disturbia, he shows he really knows how to build up some really cool atmosphere, and the job he does with the action scenes in I Am Number Four is pretty darn rad.

No matter what people tell you, this isn’t Twilight. Not because the Twilight films are bad, because they have been getting better and better and the last one was pretty good, but because it just isn’t. I mean, it has a lot of the same element, teenage angst prime among them, and the romance and yeah, the comparisons are fair enough, but this one isn’t as pined down on the angst and the romance, as it pays more attention to the action stuff in it, which I found truly amazing.

But in any case, to keep comparing the two, Mr. Pettyfer is the Robert Pattinson of this one, with the British passport and everything, and Ms. Agron is a sweeter version of Kristen Stewart’s Bella Swan. And of course there’s the difference that Mr. Pettyfer’s character, John, is not a vampire but rather just a guy from another planet.

Because, you see, he’s a refugee from this other planet. Much like a couple handful of other guys who are all looked after by some sort of guardian, which is the role Mr. Olyphant’s character plays to John. And as refugees they are ever on the run, as they are picked off one by one by those who want them dead. The film opens with Number Three in peril and, as you’ll remember from the title of the film you’re watching, the main guy here is Number Four, so he’s number will be called sooner rather than later.

This is good stuff because a lot happens here, a lot of action and a lot of love, and the pace this one has feels really awesome, and when you consider the screenplay is intelligent considering the sort of film this is, you’ll realize this one’s quite a good film.

Yes, there’s love here, and there’s Teresa Palmer who’s awesome as Number Six and is great at providing a lot of the sexiness you’ll see here, but there are a helluva lot of really nifty action pieces, and they’re noisy as hell, which is no wonder considering who’s the producer, but they’re also really really well done, and shot gorgeously by Guillermo Navarro, who’s work has had our jaws dropping in stuff like the Hellboy franchise and Pan’s Labyrinth, the latter of which won him an Oscar.

I Am Number Four is a film I’ll recommend, even to those convinced it’s just more good-looking young actors jumping on the Twilight bandwagon. Because it’s not. Ms. Agron’s character isn’t as conflicted as Bella Swan, which gives turn to less opportunities for her to shine (though she’s still great) but does give way to a really cool amount of action. The first half is slower and sweeter, but trust me that once you get over that you’ll be rewarded with a tremendous final half that will actually leave you hoping this one gets its sequel.

Grade: B

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: