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Movie Review I Am Number Four

 Movie Review I Am Number Four

The movie Push, but more American and less pushy.

I Am Number Four Movie Poster

I Am Number Four and probably the fourth time you seen these ideas.

Quick synopsis: An alien teen and his guardian/father figure move from town to town in order to stay one step ahead of their savage pursuers. What happens when powers fully awaken and running is no longer an option?

It should be a no-brainer: a hunky teen outsider falls for a pretty loner and ultimately jeopardizes his chances of survival while discovering the true potential of his alien gifts. It’s a cliché story with predictable turns and a few too many borrowed ideas. I’m not saying it’s a bad movie; it’s just that everything is too familiar. If you haven’t seen a lot of 80s alien pursuit movies or seen the Star Wars Force Push in action, then you might not be pulled out the movie-watching experience by some of the familiar frames.

Firstly, Alex Pettyfer plays John Smith; the gifted teen who looks nothing like a teenager. Matter of fact, no one looks young enough to be in high school- unless they are all in 13th grade. Smith’s protector, Henri is played by Timothy Oliphant and although they look five years apart, they use a father and son cover story. Secondly, what do you do when you are under constant threat of alien capture and extermination? You attend high school because an alien really needs that US education. We see that as simply a plot device to place the teen in awkward moments centering on the usual suspects: the brutish alpha male captain of the football team, his hot [enough] ex-girlfriend and a bullied nerd.

Secondly, we are fed the back-story that the ‘bad aliens’ –Mogadorians wiped out their entire planet and Smith is one of the last of his race. Hardly believable when you see how slow, clumsy and well… not too bright the baddies are. It’s like they’ve been pulled from every other movie with big dumb henchmen. They wear long black trench coats…carry extremely big guns and have terrible aim.

There are a lot of writing credits for this movie. I’m kinda surprised because it feels as if one person wrote this screenplay {adapted from a Novel, I believe} and never had one of those group discussions where the writers kept asking each other ‘why?’ to make sure the plot and the characters behave in a believable way.

Although it’s easy to guess what’s going to happen next, many of the choices made by our heroes were illogical and foolish- even as a ploy to create new action set pieces.

Third, is the idea that the guardian of our special and endangered hero would choose to not tell him anything of his past or give him any helpful information about his future. It seems that he must be left in the dark so that we can be kept in the dark and surprised by the big ending. Oh, it’s a big ending alright; I’m just not sure if it’s big enough to warrant the sit through. Director D.J. Caruso has given us some cool moments, but overall I Am Number Four feels like it could have been born on television and adapted to the big screen. Solid CGI: we have some cool shots, but the overall effect is brought down a notch because we have seen them in many other movies.

Some of the questions lingering at the end of this adventure may be answered in a sequel. I consider this one of those rare occasions where a follow-up movie might improve my impression. Unfortunately, as it stands now, I Am Number Four is actually number three behind similar flicks like Push and Jumper. Worth a leisure rental at best. I am not a movie critic; I am just critiquing a movie.

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