Twilight is terrible, but at least the storyline is somewhat more consistent.
In I Am Number Four, the new DreamWorks movie based off a novel of the same name by “Pittacus Lore” (Jobie Hughes and James Frey), “John Smith” (Alex Pettyfer) is one of nine special children who are brought to Earth after their planet is taken over by the evil Mogadorians, who are now hunting them down one by one, in order, to finish their planet once and for all.
Once John realizes Number Three is dead, he and his protector Henri (Timothy Olyphant) flee from their Florida home to Paradise, Ohio, where Henri searches for something while urging John to keep a low profile and try to live a normal high school life. As he gets settled into town, he meets and begins to fall in love with artsy outcast photographer Sarah (Dianna Agron), strikes up a friendship with nerdy Sam (Callan McAuliffe), and becomes a target of football jock, and Sarah’s ex, Mark (Jake Abel). While this occurs, the Mogadorians are trying to track him down to continue their killing spree. He gets a puppy, and begins to get the powers which ARE the reason he was saved. However, everything changes once the Mogadorians actually arrive in Paradise.
While some parts of the movie remain consistent, like the central idea of figuring out just who John is, most of it feels all over the map, much like John and the remaining survivors. The movie jumps a lot between the high school romantic comedy and the serious sci-fi action thriller it is touted as. It offers some of the general things needed to advance that part of the plot, only to then make them disappear until they’re handy enough to trot out again. There’s also not really a lot of explanation about the alien world. Why they are being hunted is only briefly mentioned, and none of the mystical stuff is ever really explained, nor is the reason why the Mogadorians (creatures ugly as sin, whereas John and the other survivors from the planet Lorien are all gorgeous), have to kill them in order, and can’t just pick them off as they find them.
The character development is also not the greatest in the film. It’s hard to blame actors for flat and bland performances when it feels like they weren’t given much material to work with anyway. Pettyfer makes for an okay alien hottie, and McAuliffe’s character actually develops somewhat throughout the film, but Agron’s Sarah remains completely one dimensional, and really only serves the purpose of being the pretty love interest. Likewise, Number Six (Teresa Palmer), who arrives to help save the day later on, is nothing more than pure badass, and Mark doesn’t really seem to serve much purpose.
Perhaps the one thing that is going for the movie is the action sequences. Produced by none other than Transformers king Michael Bay, there are plenty of explosions and great special effects to at least keep the audience somewhat interested. But these also begin to take away at some point as well, as Bay still has not learned that the solution to making a movie appear to be awesome is to take a more nuanced approach.
Overall, the movie is somewhat of a disappointment. While nowhere near one of the worst movies out there by far, it fails to really tell a complete story that is still appealing to all possible members of the audience. And the fact that as it ends, it seems like it could be setting up a sequel is cringe-worthy, because this installment wasn’t quite up to par. If sequels are going to be necessary, there needs to be a lot of work done in order to make them truly great, and perhaps then no one will remember that the series got off to a not-so-hot start.