I Am Number Four
With the Harry Potter and Twilight franchises soon to come to a close, the teen audience are hungry for something new. Enter I am Number Four, the new action-packed teen drama based on a New York Times best-selling novel by 'Pittacus Lore' (the pen name for duo James Frey and Jobie Hughes).
Number Four, portrayed by Alex Pettyfer, is an alien who was sent to Earth with eight other children during the destruction of their planet Lorien by an evil alien race, the Mogadorians. He lives constantly on the run from the Mogadorians who have travelled to Earth to kill each of the nine escapees in number order.
Despite the exciting story base, the film follows a fairly traditional structure. While hiding out in a small town with his mystical guardian (Timothy Olyphant) he tries to lead a normal life. At school he befriends a bullied sci-fi geek Sam Goode (Australian actor Callan McAuliffe) and soon after falls in love with heartfelt hipster Sarah Hart, played by Glee star Dianna Agron. As Number Four begins to discover his supernatural abilities, he also struggles with his newfound emotions and desire to be a normal teenager.
While neither the performances or the plot are overly special, I Am Number Four endeavours to cater for everyone, an element that is often overlooked in movies of this kind. There's plenty of sentimental expressions of love and shots of topless Pettyfer to make the the teen girls swoon, and enough explosions and weaponry to keep the guys entertained as well.
There are issues in the film's pacing, leaving the more anticipated action scenes until the last third of the movie along with the arrival of feisty Number 6 (a very Australian Teresa Palmer). Director D.J. Caruso (Eagle Eye, Disturbia) and Producer Michael Bay's (A Nightmare on Elm Street, Transformers) experience with blockbuster action films becomes evident in these later scenes with the impressive use of CGI and special effects. Sadly it feels that the film is just warming up when the audience is left with an open ending, ready for what is rumoured to be a six-part film series.
It may be true that I Am Number Four isn't exceptionally original, but it's well-balanced mix of thrilling action sequences and soppy love scenes is sure to gain the attention of its targeted teen audience throughout the proposed franchise.
I Am Number Four opens in cinemas February 24.