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Film Review: I Am Number Four

Feb 21, 2011 01:11PM ● By Wendy Sipple

I Am Number Four follows a long line of young adult books to be adapted to the big screen. Although the movie follows a fairly generic blueprint as far as plot goes, I found the movie to be effective at what it was doing.

The movie follows Steve Smith, alien number 4, and his protector Henri as they run from the Mogadorians, another alien species that destroyed their home planet. Steve and Henri attempt to hide in the small town of Paradise, Ohio. The movie quickly reverts to a teenage high school drama that includes all of the coming of age/ love triangle/ bully vs. jock story lines that we’ve seen before. Despite all the cliques in both the plot and story, I did find I am Number Four enjoyable.

The director, DJ Curoso, gets good performances from his actors and knows how to handle an action scene; the end battle is quite entertaining. Alex Pettyfer is very strong as Steve Smith in this film. He has a great likability factor and avoided over acting throughout the movie. If he selects the right roles I can see him having a fine career. The supporting cast also delivered solid, if not spectacular, performances. 

I am Number Four does a good job moving scene to scene, but there was a lot of information that felt missing. I never did figure out the motivation of the Mogadorian’s desires to hunt down our heroes. The back story is loosely explained in exposition but never in the amount of detail that we know much. Since this film is based on a book perhaps that is more fully explained in the novels. Also I am Number Four is part one in a planed six movie series, so the end leaves a lot of open ends and the movie feels like an opening chapter and not a fully realized story.

The characters and tone remind me a little bit of the Buffy the Vampire TV series, which makes sense because one of the screenwriters worked on that TV series too. I am Number Four is a lot of fun but does not stretch to be anything more than that. This can be a little frustrating for some people who see the potential in the premise to be more epic in scope. But all in all I thought it was worthy first entry in the series, and I would be game for a sequel if one is released.

FILMS LIKE I AM NUMBER FOUR:  Cirque De Freak : The Vampire’s Assistant, Push and Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief

Justin Buettner is Style's resident movie dude! How did he get this role? Well, he graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor of Arts in film Production and a duel minor in Animation and Business with an emphasis in the entertainment field. He later went on to work on several independent films in various key roles including writer and later worked in the special effects field as a motion capture artist. He has since relocated to the Sacramento area with his family and continues writing for small independent films in addition to his movie reviews for Style Magazine.