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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

August 21, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

Accent

Film’s new talent offsets thin plot

Superpowers, forbidden love and frightening monsters intertwine in this sci-fi story of survival to deliver a tale full of action and teenage romance.

“I Am Number Four” is a film adaptation of the book by the same name by Pittacus Lore. It tells the story of John Smith (Alex Pettyfer), a mysterious teenager from the planet Lorien who gains superpowers. There are nine others like him on Earth, fleeing from the Mogadorians, the aliens who destroyed their home planet.

Unlike the simple story, the acting is not as transparent. Hollywood newcomer Pettyfer slowly wins over the audience, proving he’s an actor. When Pettyfer has to comfort his earthly protector, the actor’s raw emotions come through rendering a believable performance. Timothy Olyphant, who plays John’s protector, Henri, fulfills his role well by building a father-like bond with Pettyfer at times. “Glee’s” Dianna Agron plays John’s love interest, Sarah, and pulls it off beautifully. Her quiet demeanor as she gloomily walks around the school hallways realistically portrays a social outcast.

However, the plot itself does not fare as well. While it starts off with John and Henri fleeing from the Mogadorians, it quickly turns into a Disney-esque love story between John and Sarah, complete with fleeting looks and extremely cheesy lines such as, “All I think about is you.”

The film’s exposition is told through voiceover, simplifying the narrative. With most of the action being predictable throughout the film, like chasing alien teenagers, there are more unanswered questions at the end than there were at the beginning.

Director D.J. Caruso, known for his movies such as 2007’s “Disturbia” and 2008’s “Eagle Eye,” has successfully stepped away from his Shia LaBeouf obsession in this film. But, the story’s lackluster quality and underdeveloped characters are disappointing. The Megadorians motivations for coming to Earth and destroying the nine aliens are apparent early on but have no additional development beyond that.

Despite all of these shortcomings, “I Am Number Four” is still a somewhat intriguing movie. While it is not award material, it leaves the audience wanting to know what will happen next.

“I Am Number Four” was written by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, adapted from Pittacus Lore’s book and directed by D.J. Caruso.

2.5 out of 4 stars