I shudder at the possibility of numerous sequels to 'I Am Number Four,' not just because of the easy sequel numbering system that they've set up, which is already tedious after the first installment, but because this movie seems more suited for a weekly spot on The CW. 'I Am Number Four' feels like a film version of a dumbed down 'Smallville' episode.
I wasn't all that into the movie, but here's what I got from its convoluted yet generic otherworldly plot. John (Alex Pettyfer) is the fourth in the line of nine total protectors of a planet far, far away. That is until a race of ugly dudes with gills on their faces decided to destroy that planet. Now John and nine other protectors are hiding out on earth while this other, blood-thirsty alien race hunts them down one by one. It's a good thing they're killing the kids in sequence, starting at one and moving up the chain, or there would be absolutely no order to the entire situation.
Thing is, John wants what every other alien being who looks, acts, and speaks like a human being craves. He just wants a normal life. Sadly, he can't have a normal life. He's constantly on the run and lets us know how much he's saddened by this with his long drawn-out soliloquies lamenting his plight. He's apparently the protector of his home planet, but he's also got a protector to protect him. Yeah, I know. It really doesn't make all that much sense, but they had to give Timothy Olyphant a role in this movie somehow.
John is seeing visions of the others being killed by the evil aliens and realizes he's next. That doesn't stop him from wanting to go to school and be a normal kid. In order to stay under the radar at school he puts his hoodie over his head. Master of stealth!
'I Am Number Four' has all the makings of a hit CW show. Characters with amazing powers hiding away in a small town that, for some reason, has a population closely resembling a GQ photo shoot rather than a real small town cross-section. Of course, John falls in love with a girl in the town, and of course she finds herself in danger later on in the movie. That's a given.
'I Am Number Four' actually reminded me a lot of the recent 'Percy Jackson' adaptation. A movie that seemed rushed out in order to capitalize on a fanbase, and then ended the movie with the explicit idea of doing sequels that haven't even been green-lit yet.
John soon learns he has wildly amazing powers, which mean the special effects kick into high gear around the halfway point. John lifts police cars with his mind and alien laser beams bounce off his arms.
You've seen this story a hundred times before, what's the point in watching it again? At least the movie thinks it's smart though. With zero sense of irony, it proudly features the most unintentionally hilarious scene of the movie on the cover art. A mysterious girl blows up a beachside bungalow and calmly walks away from the explosion sporting cool-looking sunglasses. All we can do is shake our heads and laugh, and by the time 'I Am Number Four' is over that's still all you'll be able to do.
'I Am Number Four's AVC-encoded 1080p transfer has that slick, glossy look that we've come to expect from modern day action movies.
Contrast is pumped up, yellow and teal filters are used to give it that sleek, trendy appearance. With this sleek look comes great detail both in faces and textures. It's almost as if you could reach out and feel those face gills. Special effects look good for the most part, even the energy blasts from the space age weapons. However, there's a scene involving a transforming dog and a monstrous pterodactyl-like alien animal fighting each other. The effects are competent, but the overall look of the scene becomes hokey real fast. Blacks are inky and despite the golden and teal hues that cover everything, colors are well rendered. With the upped contrast skintones appear to have a bronzed sheen to them.
There aren't any overt technical problems with the video reproduction. People who pick up this title will be pleased with how it looks.
Disney has provided 'I Am Number Four' with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track that sure has a set of lungs on it.
Explosions rock the house as LFE booms forth from the sub woofer with startling clarity. Directionality works wonders as the flying alien best soars across the frame or when energy blasts whoosh through the air. Dialogue is always clean and precise. Ambient sound engages the listener during the numerous battles as a cacophony of sounds permeate the rear channels. This is the type of audio presentation we've come to expect from Disney, and they don't disappoint here.
The movie may be as bland as they come, but this audio track sure isn't.
I have no idea why this movie's idea wasn't picked up by The CW. It would have easily fit in as a TV show. Instead we get a rushed version of a plot that could have taken a whole television season to discuss and flesh out. Instead we're left with a mediocre action movie that promises sequels, and seeing as it made over $140 million worldwide, there's no reason why we shouldn't be seeing 'I Am Number Six,' 'Seven, ooh and 'Eight' in the very near future. The video and audio are what you'd expect from Disney, but the special features are sorely lacking. 'I Am Number Four' is a rental at best.