Thursday 3 March 2011

Review: I Am Number Four

Year: 2011
Director: D.J. Caruso
Screenplay: Alfred Gough, Miles Millar, Marti Noxon
Starring: Alex Pettyfer, Timothy Olyphant, Dianna Agron, Teresa Palmer

Synopsis is here

I took a quick scan of the I Am Number Four novel wiki after watching the movie and although one should not take Wikipedia as the gospel, this entry had me stumped. Why is it that the wiki of the novel appears to be more appealing? I'm not joking those who are really that interested should take a look for themselves. Almost any aspect that looks like it give off the slightest bit of attraction has been sanded down smooth. There's nothing edgy here; and while I don't expect cutting edge wit and inception like plot turns, when your film is being toted as "Twilight with Aliens" you should be bringing something to the party.

Unlike the misery-fest bestows that vampire saga, I Am Number Four does try to have something that resembles a human relationship...I say human when I may mean interplanetary. Our John Smith is an Alien and so has to behave as such. This can explain some of Alex Pettyfer's board n bland responses in certain scenes. However, the chemistry between John and his love interest Sarah (Dianna Agron) has a small amount of spark. It's enough to make the vanilla experience of the film less painful to bear. In fact if the film had the balls to bolster the narrative, rise the character stakes or at least give us interesting secondary characters I may have had more time for it.

Alas D.J Caruso's film is plain Jane of a film which builds to a crescendo of cliche and pre-predicted  moments. The second we see the gray hairs in Timothy Olyphant's sideburns, we know where his future lies. It doesn't help that the screenplay believes that the best way to divulge information is by dry exposition as opposed to visually or even with any type of wit in the words. D.J Caruso takes it up a notch in the action stakes later on in the film but with the foundation being so shaky it's hard to take any real notice. 

Let's not lie to ourselves. This film was almost destined for my indifference; described as "Twilight with Aliens" and produced by one Micheal Bay, the film was hardly going to appear on my favorites of the year. However, to be honest why would it? While not a grand masterpiece, it's also not a film for myself in terms of target audience. But the problem still remains that while Twilight has many faults, it has a certain sense of scope. I Am Number Four has a central relationship that is more likable than Bella and Edward as it's not based on games, manipulation an a naff explanation. However this alone does not excuse it from it's generic origin story execution.