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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
OK the effects were great, the action was impressive....I mean
visually, the movie was pretty good.
And I'll even say the acting was done well. The characters were charming, the pace was slow at times, but not dead boring slow.
My only problem was, how many times are we going to see the exact same story. I mean this was your typical teen drama....new kid..shady past... weird and wants to stay to himself, but there's always some cute chick who he risks everything for.
There's always bullies who hate that he's got the attention of the cute chick, so they always end up having a conflict. I mean 90% of this movie was your typical high school drama teen movie. And the "discovering" of his powers was like the alien version of spiderman.
I mean it's the same ole same ole....you explore and try to harness your new powers beating up bullies and jumping around where no one can see you until a super strong villain pops up you have to fight in the climax.
I mean as far as an overall success the positive things I mentioned originally (great effects, charming characters, impressive action) can for the most part salvage the movie. But if you're a fan of the genre, don't expect anything new. 3 1/2 outta 5 stars...
This is not a bad film. It's just not that great. The story feels a bit
weak and there are so many plot holes it takes away part of the
enjoyment. I also found myself un interested in the characters, apart
from the dog, but who doesn't love a cute dog? It just seemed to be
cliché after cliché after cliché. I have to remind myself I didn't go
to watch shawshank redemption 2 or a William Shakespeare film
adaptation. Instead I watched 90 odd minutes of blah. Good special
effects and action sequences plus the added bonus of eye candy were
just enough to save it. Just.
If you go to see "I am number four" I suggest you leave your brain at home then sit back and enjoy the pretty lights and moving pictures. Don't expect much and you might actually enjoy it.
Do you know that old movie rule that you subconsciously decide whether
you're going to enjoy a film or not within the first ten minutes? Well,
it wasn't true this time, because after the opening sequence, I was
pretty sure I was going to hate "I Am Number Four". Thankfully, I was
in for a pleasant surprise.
It all starts with bad CGI-monsters and some guys in Star Trek make-up chasing people around in the jungle. We then cut to some jocks doing tricks on jet skis and some bland blonde girls admiring them - and I thought this is going to be terrible. Then the story picks up and the movie gets better from there.
The story involves a couple of characters and mysteries, but is never too complicated. After the initial jet ski scene, the main character actually turns out to be played quite charmingly by Alex Pettyfer. He's supported by his mentor/protector (solid as always: Timothy Olyphant). Glee's Dianna Agron plays Number Four's love interest. She comes across very natural, so that the love story that unfolds is actually engaging instead of vomit-inducing like that of that other movie with the whining Vampires and the shirtless Werewolves.
Of course, "I Am Number Four" is by no means a great movie. The CGI sucks in places and the make-up of the bad guys is just awful. Characters are stereotypical, things fall into place way too conveniently and one has the feeling that a good junk of the original novel has just been crammed together to (barely) fit into the running time of a popcorn movie.
However, I think we can all agree that it would be silly to actually expect a masterpiece, considering the movie's premise. For what it is, "I Am Number Four" is an entertaining little fantasy flick for teenagers and undemanding twenty-somethings. Add to that the fact that this movie is neither a sequel nor a remake, that it's not based on a comic book, a TV series, a computer game or toys, and it's enough to lift "I Am Number Four" heads and shoulders above its genre competitors.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In a perfect world, the convoluted mess called I Am Number Four could
have been great. It had all the trappings for success: based off a
semi-popular novel for teens, a fairly accomplished director in D.J.
Caruso, the producing "talent" of Michael Bay, two hot young stars in
Alex Pettyfer and Glee's own Dianna Agron, and an enigmatic, yet
intriguing trailer campaign. So why is it that the final product is one
of the most deeply unsatisfying theatrical experiences I have had in
Opening with the death of "Number Three", we jump into the life of John (Pettyfer), an alien being protected on Earth from a group called the Mogadorians. As it turns out, the Mogadorians wiped out the population of John's planet years before, except for nine children with extraordinary powers. For some reason, they have to be killed in order, and with three down, John is next in line for extermination. As he goes on the run with his protector Henri (Timothy Olyphant), they settle into the small town of Paradise, Ohio. Soon after, John starts gaining and learning more about his powers. But with a new love (Agron) and his lust to just be normal thrown into the mix, John may be in more trouble than he can imagine.
I have never read the source material for I Am Number Four, but I would hazard a guess that it did a half decent job of explaining what is going on, and did not just strive to set future sequels in motion. The film on the other hand, suffers because the sequel seems to be the only thing in mind outside of special effects. We are thrown right into John's life, and we only get little nuggets of reason for what is going on at any given time. We never get full explanations, and are never even offered the ability to piece it together by ourselves. The film seems merely content giving us hints, offering little enigmatic moments to get us thinking. But instead of doing anything with these scenes, it merely continues trucking along to its eventual ending which promises a continuation and the hope for some further reasoning for what is happening. But if the filmmakers do not care about informing the audience now, why will we care later?
But this would not be such a slap in the face if we had not already seen so many films in the past half-decade doing the exact same thing, attempting to replicate the success of the Harry Potter, Twilight and The Lord of the Rings franchises. The Golden Compass, Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant, The Spiderwick Chronicles, and Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief (which this film oddly resembles) are all examples of studios making films out of young adult books, specifically to capitalize on the potential for sequels and lengthy franchise possibilities. They all failed in varying degrees, because they all suffer from the same thing I Am Number Four suffers from not enough plot, too much dependence on a sequel. Had all of these films even attempted to be able to stand on their own, perhaps they would have gotten the sequel they seemed to think they deserved. I know Four is part of a proposed book franchise, as opposed to an already established book franchise, but it merely skipped the waiting in the middle for the eventual film.
Should these plot and sequel problems not already be enough, Four suffers from copying Twilight a little too close (even including the notable musical cues from current alt-rockers). Sure, there are no vampires, but the romance between John and Agron's Sarah feels a little too forced for comfort. Right in the middle of being hunted down to be systematically wiped out, we are supposed to believe that someone who has spent their life running, would simply fall in love out of the blue, and not feel any consequences? We are supposed to believe he does not know better? Sure he's a teenager and we all did stupid things when we were that young, but why does the focus of the film seem to hinge on the chemistry and romance between these two star-crossed lovers? I was intrigued from the early moments in the film where it started to set the plot into motion, and the need for John and Henri to keep running to avoid death. But then it suddenly shifts from a science fiction tale to a romantic love story, and totally loses anything it has going for it. A last minute save in the final act of the film where it shifts back into the realm of sci-fi is not nearly enough to make up for well over an hour of melodrama and teen angst. It is awkward, silly, and practically plagiarizes Twilight.
I will say I was interested and intrigued when the film was attempting to do something with the plot and overarching story, but these moments are never given the chance to fully develop. The film criminally underuses Olyphant, the only actor who actually acts in the entire film, and makes him into an almost useless background character. We only get glimpses of Teresa Palmer's character throughout the film (the trailer already gives away any mystery of who she might be), and when she finally shows up to do something, she merely speaks in overtly sexual allusions. Pettyfer and Agron both seem to suffer from not knowing what emphasis to put on their character and when, and relative newcomer Callan McAuliffe is stuck in the cliché-ridden role as the know-it-all geek of a best friend.
When it attempts to work, I Am Number Four is quite interesting. I would have loved more story, and a whole lot less romance. Even what does work (including the decent special effects) seems to suffer as a result of all the melodramatic romance.
(This review also appeared on http://www.geekspeakmagazine.com).
This movie isn't the best action film of the year. This movie isn't
another tongue-in-cheek teen movie. Most importantly, this movie isn't
a "wannabe" of the Twilight franchise. This movie is entertainment for
all viewers that delivers a good story, action, and desire to want more
at the end. I was lucky enough to work as an extra in this movie for
about 2 weeks and was able to see how this film came together, piece by
piece. The visual effects truly make the film enjoyable. Seeing it
behind-the-scenes, I couldn't imagine what it would look like. To be
honest, I was pleasantly surprised.
The acting was believable and consistent (unlike previous reviews who claim the actors lost steam halfway thru the film). Timothy Olyphant is perhaps the best character in the film, Pettyfer following right after. The best part about this film: the love story within the plot WAS NOT painful/annoying to watch (such as Twilight).
This movie is definitely worth seeing in theaters, as the action scenes truly make the experience. I Am Number Four is a great start to what could be a fantastic franchise.
A great movie will leave you yearning for a sequel, and I Am Number
Four certainly does.
First off, the visuals were astounding. This really goes without saying, but the final battle in the movie was incredible.
Another sign of a great movie, my friends and I truly liked the characters. We actually cared about what happened to them (something that I can't say about other book-to-movie Harry-Potter-wannabes.) Even number Six, a bad-ass female with Nightcrawler-like power was lovable!
Finally, the storyline was engaging and easy to understand. Yes, there were some unexplained portions, but this is only the first movie in a series. I understood it just fine without having read the book, and there was no point in the movie where I felt that things were moving too slowly (nor to quickly, for that matter.)
I would urge you not to take any of the negative reviews written by middle-aged men to heart - spend the 10 bucks and give this movie a chance. I promise you that you'll end up enjoying it!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Based on the NY Times best-selling novel by "Pittacus Lore" (an alias
for the memoir-fabricating James Frey and Jobie Hughes), I Am Four
kicks off the cinematic proceedings with an intense and creepy jungle
chase scene and an intriguing - albeit fairly unoriginal - concept.
The planet Lorien (COUGH krypton COUGH) was destroyed, and nine of its alien children were sent to earth. Why earth? Who knows. Perhaps earth's atmosphere is the most similar to Lorien's? A race of 7-foot tall humanoids called the Mogadorians are hunting down the children one at a time. Why? Beats me. Because we wouldn't have a story otherwise, I suppose. All we're really told is "they're a race who chooses to decimate rather than colonize." So be it.
Anyway, due to some sort of spell the Mogadorians are forced to kill the nine remaining Lorien kids in the proper order. Who established the order and how? No idea. Wouldn't you be pretty ticked off if you were Number One and became aware that you were chosen to be killed first? Perhaps the numbering system is completely random. Otherwise, that's a pretty jacked up system. "Hmm, little Billy seems to be a little slow upstairs, and that lisp sure ain't doin' him any favors. Let's make him Number One." Regardless, numbers one to three are now dead, so the story focuses on Number Four.
Number Four's desperate attempts to fit in lead to yet another blown cover, and he and his guardian Henri must once again relocate - this time to the small town of Paradise, OH. Following the film's somewhat promising start, the story takes an ill-advised detour and bogs down in a teenage romance marsh. It's at this point that Number Four (AKA John Smith) falls in love, defends a nerd against bullies, and begins to discover his unique abilities (known as legacies).
This blatant drawing from the well of the Twilight series' formula might giddy up the hearts of teenage girls, but males with an ounce of testosterone will grow increasingly restless as they await the arrival of the action that the film's trailer promised.
That arrival comes in the film's third act in the form of a deus ex machina known as Number Six (Teresa Palmer) who proceeds to kick a satisfying amount of rumpage against the backdrop of CGI and special-effects. The last 20 minutes will most certainly entertain the majority of audiences, but the drive there should've been smoother and more evenly-paced.
Dialogue is weak, character development is practically non-existent, and the underdeveloped backstory creates too many questions that lead to frustration rather than intrigue. Granted, this is an origin story that's specifically designed to kick-start a franchise, but a little more self-containment would have been appreciated.
One of the film's biggest transgressions is the misuse of Timothy Olyphant as Henri. We're told that he's a Lorien warrior, and as such you'd expect him to join in the butt-kickery. Unfortunately, he's only involved in one fight and is inexplicably kidnapped (done off-screen to mask its implausibility) by a couple of out-of-shape alien conspiracy theorists. His role is more of a babysitter for Number Four than a warrior/guardian who dispenses valuable training and wisdom.
The film presents a seed or two of hope that the franchise can improve with each installment, but will its identity crisis allow it to do so? Attempting to be all things to all teenagers could backfire if it fails to create loyalty amongst any one demographic.
Teenage audiences and those who don't consume themselves with the story's many flaws will be more forgiving than I. Perhaps your expectations will be exceeded, but there's a good chance you'll be either underwhelmed or disappointed. Wouldn't you rather risk a dollar at Redbox than $10 a pop at the theater? Don't say I didn't properly inform you.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I saw an advance screening of the flick tonight. The only reason I went
and saw it was because my buddy had a free screening pass for 2, and
it's a free screening. I remember reading the book and not being very
impressed, however I can't say I can pinpoint exactly what's been left
out since I had forgotten most of it. Not sure if I even care now that
I've seen both ends of the spectrum.
Caruso tries a lot to hide the book's flaws, and he really does try hard. But somehow he only makes them more obvious. I'll admit there was tonnes of action and good special effects, but really, when the story wasn't stealing from other sci-fi (Animorphs, Johnny Mnemonic, Superman- there's even an insulting John Carpenter's The Thing nod too), it was overloading the audience's brain with Clichés that can be found in almost any teen movie... ever. And some gigantic plot holes you could drive a tanker through.
The action scenes I nearly left the cinema they were so bad. It's like Caruso told the camera crew to zoom in really close while holding the camera and shake it all about, shine flashlights in the camera lens, and move it violently when some gets punched. Shaky Camera and quick cutting must die, I'm tired of it.
The soundtrack was so bombastic and over the top. At times it sounds like the boom mic is being banged against the inside of a 50 gallon drum. At others it's like they're attacking their strings as fast as they can really fast. The film's opening score piece over the panning shot is especially insulting- it doesn't help that it lasts a minute long and the cue's buildup is hilarious.
I know the movie is based on a book, but with even that said, there is a tonne of clichés. Hot chick who loves photography? Check. New kid is instantly buds with the nerd? Check. Douchebag jock who loves the hot chick? Check. Kid finds out he has powers he can't control? Check. evil villain are following kid and guardian? Check. Kid's guardian dies and he must do the mission without him? Check.
There's also an annoying homo-erotic undercurrent between Sam and "John". Also, don't get me started on the Thirty-Sue pileup that is Number 6.
For every cliché, there's a gigantic plot hole. Why isn't the grocery clerk suspicious of an alien with a hoodie and sunglasses buying a crap load of turkeys? How is "John" unable to control his powers in class yet able to control them perfectly in his backyard a matter of hours later? Why do the Mogadorian(!!!!) speak with Jamaican accents? How is the dog able to become all super-dog all of a sudden? Why are Lorien so perfectly humanoid with a true lack of alien qualities? And how do Lorien copulate? Yeah, let's not go there, because the last thing this film needs is a Lorien sex scene.
I was thinking this would be filler for a dull afternoon. Indeed it was but I was also surprised to find I really enjoyed it. We also had the pleasure of watching it on iMax so that makes just about anything a little better. If you want to enjoy the evening then go see this one. You'll see some good acting and decent new actors. Give it a chance and I think this might be the next good "series" of movies you'll like. I say series because they left this one wide open to find numbers 5, and 7-9. I can easily see a whole trilogy or more just waiting for this one to make enough money to get it going. Although without some decent advertising they aren't going to get that... :(
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
My god! Words cannot reiterate how terrible this movie is. I didn't go
with high expectations. I didn't expect Oscar winning performances or a
witty and sharp script etc. I thought if I could give it a five or a
six out of ten at most I would be satisfied with some great action,
good special effects and reasonable acting, but it didn't even have
that. Seriously the reviewers who have given this higher than a four
have seriously deluded themselves. I'm not a teenager, which this film
is aiming for (but even then it's so badly made even they shouldn't
Before I critique this film. A brief synopsis from what I can gather. Teenager John Smith (Alex Pettyfer from Storm Breakers) who is an alien from another planet Lorien is a fugitive on the run from his enemies the Mogadarians who have been sent to destroy him after killing three other kids before him with the same abilities. 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 Sarah (Dianna Agron), powerful new abilities and a connection to the others like number six (Teresa Palmer) who shares his destiny.
The first problem of this film is the screenplay which is a horrific mess. The synopsis I had to cobble together from a family friend who is a fan of the books (but wasn't of the film). It is very loosely explained during the movie at different points with huge plot holes. If these Mogadarians want to destroy earth, why don't they straight away? Why kill these teenagers who are a part of the legacy? How were the legacies and Mogadarians created? Why do the Mogadarians want to destroy earth? I think I heard something about "resources," but what? Maybe this is explained in the book or subsequent ones, I don't know, but for someone who hasn't read them, things should have been explained and more clearly, it's no excuse. Also when John saves Sarah from her ex-boyfriend and his friends pestering her at the fair, she sees him using his powers (his hands light up) to deal with the guys, but she dosen't say anything??? What the heck? Then later she suddenly "finds" out? This sort of thing just reeks serious laziness on the hand of the writers, either that or during that scene Sarah went temporarily blind. I could go on with several other plot holes, but you get the point. The structure of the film is terribly put together with certain scenes just feeling so random, without them being linked together. Maybe the fact the film just suddenly decides to introduce new information in a convenient "way" like those weird creatures who guard the legacies (including a dog that turns into the creature) and the others for the Mogodarian's or whatever. And while we're on the subject of the Mogodarian's as villains they are ridiculously laughable and not scary in the slightest.
All the characters are bland with little back story like we find out literally nothing about John's past or his parents. With that you just don't care about them as they are little more than cardboard cut-outs. Particularly when Henri dies, in one scene with "sad" music. We're meant to care but the characters are so shallow and boring we just don't care and the whole pathetic scene just comes across as sickeningly insincere. Of course the characters being boring also comes down to terrible performances. Alex Pettyfer is just unbearably plain and looks and acts bored. He hasn't got the slightest trace of acting ability (just like in Stormbreakers). None of the cast fare any better. They are all unconvincing and give some of the worst performances I've seen in films, even Teresa Palmer who I adored in The Sorcerer's Apprentice could not save this. She looks great but barely gets enough screen time to make an impact with little dialogue. I couldn't judge her acting as such though her voice when I heard it sounded like she was trying to be sexy with a sore throat. The trollop scriptwriter who put in the embarrassingly awful and very cheesy NOT funny script that she should speak like that needs a slap.
I am Number Four tries to come across as a romantic sci-fi action, but it has little action (for teen boys), only about ten minutes and even when there was, the camera jerked up and down with a shocking lack of continuity I felt dizzy and couldn't make out what was going on so as a result there is no excitement you feel in "watching" the action. (Michael Bay who was the producer of this and still hasn't learnt from Transformers 2) and little romance (for teen girls). With little romance or action, the film just pointlessly meanders itself sluggishly from scene to scene. In terms of the "romance" there is no chemistry between John and Sarah and even the special effects are very poor and look too obvious. The film is way too predictable with stereotypes across the board which you will notice straight away making it unimaginative and repetitive like the rest of the film.
I paid £6.20 to see this abomination, I wish I hadn't. This is the first turkey of the year I've awarded for a film (suppose it was only a matter of time). This is just complete rubbish and I would not advise anyone to see this travesty. There will be sequels unfortunately but I certainly won't be signing up to see it. I would rather throw up thanks then put myself through seeing another one of these. Trust me I am Number Four is that crap. I would seriously advise you to skip it. It is one of the worst films I have ever encountered.
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