I Am Number Four review (Blu-ray)

English actor Pettyfer's impressive cinematic portrayal of "John Smith" follows him as Number Four, an alien from another world, as he runs from the Mogadorians while they seek to annihilate his race, of which only nine survive. The film opens with Number Three being killed; they are apparently picking them off in order, one at a time and you guessed it, Number Four is next.

Number Four masks his true identity by poses as an average (but outstandingly beautiful) high schooler under the alias, John Smith. Perhaps this was chosen due to his uncanny resemblance to Pocahontas’s John Smith? Yes I mean from the Disney film. All the best looking Hollywood actors are dopplegangers for a Disney love interest. Or perhaps that is just my outlook on life? John tries to conceal his superpowers but unfortunately the electric blue blazing light shooting out of his palms makes this a tad difficult, but once he embraces it and learns to control it, the fun begins. Think super strength fighting skills to put those pesky high school jocks in their place, a flashlight whenever you need it and the apparent ability to slow down and flip police cars as they try to ambush you while making a getaway. Alex portrays his character convincingly and with a great vulnerability, only slipping back into his English accent once, and only slightly.

I Am Number Four marks Pettyfer’s major cinematic debut, before this only appearing in works such as Wild Child and Alex Rider: Stormbreaker, but after this I hope we’ll see much more of him in the future. Agron as Sarah Hart is first Glee star to hit the big screen since the Fox series began, and she proves she doesn't need to be singing and dancing to hold her own. She plays the quiet, arty photographer beautifully and I appreciated her lack if questions when she discovered her boyfriend to be an alien with superpowers. In this day and age it's important to keep an open mind about such things. She supports Pettyfer well, and doesn’t let the cute sidekick (his lizard-turned-dog-turned-ferocious beast) upstage her.

Not a particularly original plotline but compelling and slightly refreshing nonetheless. Whiffs of Harry Potter seep into the plot early on, parents killed trying to save him from the Mogadorians trying to take over the world, many sacrificing their lives for him and the greater good, etc. Not a vampire or werewolf in sight but the Twilight 'imprint' crops up here too, which works for me as I'm definitely rooting for John and Sarah to stay together, both onscreen and off. There is an obvious connection between the two leads, as their explosive chemistry sends sparks flying and not just because of his supernatural fiery powers.
Number Four's abilities are pretty cool as far as they go, not only does he have super strength but he can shoot powerful blue light from his hands which not only destroys but seems to act as a shield. Number Six (Teresa Palmer) however seemed a tad more bad ass, and not just because of her feisty attitude and ferocious fashion sense but she can walk through fire, a talent which certainly allowed the special effects team to sparkle as she turns a stunning, icy bright blue and fearlessly struts through the house she just burnt to a crisp. Like I said, Bad. Ass.
The shameless iPhone advertising grew tiring towards the end, but I guess Apple is trying to crack a whole new audience - Mogadorians (maybe they can get a locator app?), as well as the Numbers Five through Nine (they’ll obviously be jealous of Four when they see how useful and all round ACE it is). Forget those pesky villains, all you need to do is head down to the nearest Apple shop! Might make for a short sequel though? And stray slightly from the books…
While I wasn't left feeling hugely satisfied or excited at the end, I am definitely looking forward to the next installment. I Am Number Four felt like a warm up for something bigger, better and more explosive, especially with the feisty leather-clad biker blonde Number Six bursting onto the scene towards the end. The mission to find the others and team up to destroy the Mogadorians has begun. I only hope Sarah doesn't get left behind...

EXTRAS ★★ Six deleted scenes, with optional commentary from director Caruso; a blooper reel (3:15); and the featurette Becoming Number 6, in which Teresa Plamer talks about her character (11:44).

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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