1 March 2011
I AM NUMBER FOUR- Review
As to the story, this Twi-lite fantasy flick follows Number Four, one of nine aliens who survived a planetary holocaust in another solar system and fled from the genocidal Mogadorians to Earth. Outright stealing the Doctor's alias, he styles himself as John Smith, a high school student in small-town America. With the Mogadorians on his tail, it emerges that they're killing off the aliens in order, and three have died already, leaving Number Four next in line.
Look, the story behind the book this was based on can be found on other sites, so I'm not going to recap it and overwhelm my review of the film. However, I recommend that you read about the controversy behind this film because it informs the level of suckiness on which it operates. As I've said, it's Twilight-lite, which means that it's something so insubstantial that it's almost ethereal. It more or less flips around the premise 180 degrees- a boy has supernatural powers, a bored small-town girl falls in love, but this time the boy is our hero.
Presumably, the idea is to try and get the insensible target audience for most of Michael Bay's films, 14 year old boys, to go and see a film that is like Twilight, which in turn appeals to Twilight fans, and thus results in huge profit. Whether or not it will work remains to be seen, but it is nevertheless a product of shameless mathematics, rather than anything even resembling imagination. The various elements are not trans-generic, but intertextual- there is literally nothing in here that is not from another text, but names have been changed to protect the unoriginal bastards peddling it.
For their part, the cast do alright- there are no casting gaffes as monumentally shit as Shia LaBeouf or Megan Fox, but they're all in stock roles. Alex Pettyfer is the incredibly athletic and dreamy guy who somehow still gets bullied because he's new at school. Dianna Agron is the cute girl who, in this case, is a little bit stalk-y in her amateur photography pursuits. Timothy Olyphant is Henri (Wan Kenobi), a mentor character for whom the only surprise is whether or not he'll turn out to be the traitor behind it all or the guy who sacrifices himself so Number Four can win the day. Kevin Durand is a goddamn skinhead in a trenchcoat. That's what we're dealing with.
And for all of its predictability, it's deceptively difficult to follow. I get that Number Four's goal is to avoid being stabbed up by Mogadorians, but the world building becomes so convoluted, so intent on dangling loose threads for a sequel hook, that it becomes incomprehensible. When it turns into the Transformers patented action clusterfuck in the final act, the only discernible goal remains "don't get killed". Quite an elementary quest in a fantasy film, right?
I Am Number Four is now showing in cinemas nationwide,
If you've seen I Am Number Four, why not share your comments below?
I'm Mark the mad prophet, and until next time, don't watch anything I wouldn't watch.