Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Hey man… the last twenty or so minutes of this movie ‘I am Number Four’? Damn. I mean seriously, it was about as good a compendium of action and special effects and CGI mayhem and pyrotechnics lights and explosions that I’ve seen in an awful long time. And Dreamworks didn’t make me wear an extra pair of glasses and charge me a premium to enjoy this last twenty minutes, and for this we are thankful. Regardless, I’m sure that’s a mistake they will rectify in the near future with all of their forthcoming movies. Expect to see Jane Austen in 3D. So the last twenty minutes of ‘I am Number Four’ was killer. Awesome. The first 80 or so minutes… well… I’m not going to say it’s bad or anything, but I will say the closer you are to being a fourteen year old girl, the more you will probably enjoy the first 80 or so minutes of this movie.

Somewhere in the jungle a boy sleeps with his vigilant protector by his side. They hear a sound, the protector checks it out and minutes later they are both dead. His protector sucks. This is a running theme in this movie.

While this boy is being slaughtered by some truly frightful CGI beasts, somewhere in Florida the super studly John (Alex Pettyfer) is doing some rad stuff on a jet ski, enjoying the life of being young and studly and the pretty girls are loving him. Then something really freaky happens to John in plain sight of everyone, coinciding with the death of this boy in the jungle, and now John and his defacto father Henri (Timothy Olyphant) are on the run once again. You see John and Henri are aliens from another planet and are constantly on the run from the horrific invaders known as the Magadorians. These cats, who are really bad news, are on our planet to track down the nine Children of the Legacy or something like that and finish of the last of these poor people. Once they are done with them, then they will set their sights on Earth, but first things first.

Apparently these children must be killed in order. One through three are dead already and I’m sure you can tell by the title that John is Number Four. But before the Magadorians can find John, he has to check into high school in their new town of

Paradise Ohio. Henri told John to be invisible, don’t bring attention to himself. To appease Henri and his request John bleaches his hair bright blonde, gets a killer tan, starts making friends with the weirdest guy in school in Sam (Callin McAuliffe), becomes the boyfriend of the prettiest girl in school in Sarah (Diana Agron), makes enemies with the schools star quarterback Mark (Jake Abell) and learns he has super powers in the middle of science class by glowing like a blue light bulb. That’s not exactly ‘invisible’ in my book, but whaddayagonnado?

There’s all kinds of other stressful, high school angst type stuff going on in John’s life but the Magadorians are on their way. And a small cute blond chick (Teresa Palmer) with super powers and a sexy Australian accent. Apparently all the people on this planet are blonde and good looking. She’s number six. He’s number four. Add it up and it makes ten and finally teen angst is put aside and we can sit back and watch some Magadorian ass get waylaid. Finally.

Ultimately we like this movie, you know? It was directed by D. J. Caruso and if you had the privilege of seeing Mr. Caruso’s last movie, ‘Eagle Eye’, then you know that Caruso can helm a braindead action flick just about as well as anybody. But I gotta admit that John and his teen angst drama was mighty painful for an old man to sit through. I know it’s important to the story, I know you just can’t have ninety minutes of vicious CGI beasts and explosions and fancy light shows… I know this… but possessing this knowledge didn’t make this any easier to sit through. Of course this applies only to me because there were times in this film were a particular bad guy would get wasted or another main character would do something heroic and certain audience members would erupt in applause. You only clap for a character when you truly care about that character, and clearly these kids on the other side of the theater really got caught up in the angst bedeviling what our main characters in this movie were going through, the same angst that was putting me in a coma. I should also mention that before the movie started a trailer played for the film ‘Prom’ and I believe I heard a couple of those same kids say ‘Wow, I can’t wait to see that!’ So there you go. It’s a movie for them and I think it worked for them which is great for them.

Fortunately by the time Teresa Palmer showed up in this movie to clean this mess up, I think ‘I am Number Four’ became a movie that even folks over the age fourteen could enjoy. I can’t stress it enough but the last salvo of this movie was pretty damned sweet, as opposed to another youth oriented action flick based on a novel, ‘Percy Jackson and the Olympians’, which was weak from the beginning to the bitter end.

So the last twenty minutes of ‘I am Number Four’ was great but you have to sit through the first eighty minutes, or the last twenty, as spectacularly explosive as it may have been, won’t mean anything. Therein lies the rub. Unless you’re a fourteen year old girl. Alex Pettyfer is soooo cuuuuutteee! I think I heard that six times.

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