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I Am Number Four
Genre Sci-Fi
 
Review:

Smallville opened our eyes to the small town exploits of a young Superman slowly learning his true identity and unmasking an array of superpowers. In a similar way, I Am Number Four, positions its protagonist in the confines of a small town, discovering his abilities and protecting his anonymity at all costs. Instead of a slow, winding TV series... the romance, action, science fiction adventure and $60 million budget has all been jam-packed into 109 minutes of all out action entertainment.

I Am Number Four even has shades of Ben 10 with the alien offspring, shape-shifting creatures and alien super powers. Although this film isn't aimed at the ten-year-old market as much as the child in all of us. High school, fitting in, getting the girl, sticking it to the football jocks and powering home in the grand finale. This is a mirror plot development to The Karate Kid. Underdog, man-on-the-run, hidden identity... all of these classic movie devices all blend together in this, D.J. Caruso's latest film.

Caruso directed Eagle Eye and Disturbia with young Shia LaBeouf as his lead, which gives you an idea of pacing. Now instead, opting for young Alex Pettyfer of Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker. The British heartthrob is racking up an impressive list of performances after being hand-picked by Anthony Horowitz to play Alex Rider, the 007 version of Harry Potter. Pettyfer's hit the ground running with a spectacular 2011 featuring in I Am Number Four and Beastly. His understated performance and natural good looks make him a name to look out for in the coming years.

He stars opposite gorgeous young Teresa Palmer ofThe Sorceror's Apprentice, another up-and-coming star whose role shadowy role could have been exemplified in I Am Number Four, instead of making such a late entry. It sets in motion an option for a sequel with Palmer featuring more prominently, but until her arrival... the eye candy and romantic interest of our hero is played by the equally beautiful Diana Agron - who could very easily be the next Katie Holmes in a Dawson's Creek kind of way. Timothy Olyphant and Kevin Durand fill in quite competently as John's father and ominous stalker - giving a little more weight to the cast of rising stars.

The special effects are superb and handled well, using light and some amazing rigging to allow police cars to flip backwards and blue alien light to emit from John's hands. The light and sound show is saved till the end, where John has come full circle like Peter Parker realising he's Spider-Man. The monsters are a little iffy and comical in a Ben 10 sort of way, but The Fifth Element style alien juggernauts keep enough realism to suspend the reality without becoming too cheesy.

I Am Number Four is a flat-out popcorn actioner, which blends a number of popular superhero themes together with a new kid in town back story. It uses these classic themes to lay a foundation and powers home with good performances, fine special effects without feeling too much like a Smallville knock-off. I Am Number Four is competently filmed, loaded with exciting entertainment and wholly satisfying as a fun trip to the movies. There are one or two plot developments that don't quite make sense, but that's usually a result of leaving the ends frayed enough for a sequel.

The bottom line: Enjoyable.

 

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