Courtesy of MUNNYBEAR / FLICKR
“I Am Number Four,” Michael Bay’s latest production, tries to take from two formulas: “Twilight’s” supernatural romance and “Transformers’” explosive action.
You would hope the filmmakers would at least take away the best points from each blockbuster series and take them to the next level. You would be wrong.
The premise: Number Four (Alex Pettyfer) has spent most of his life on Earth after having to leave his home planet, Lorien, due to a Mogadorian invasion that destroyed it. He has lived his life on the run — though he has plenty of time to go to high school and enjoy extracurricular activities — evading the Mogadorians, who are bent on decimating the entire native population of Lorien. There are nine others of his kind walking among earthlings, but the first three have been found and killed. (Next up is you know who.)
The film had a lot of promise but never took off, and this is apparent the minute the characters begin to speak. It was as if the screenwriters from “Twilight” and “Transformers” got together and asked themselves, “What can we put together with as little effort as possible?” Their answer was “I Am Number Four,” which, like “Twilight,” was first a novel.
Starring Pettyfer, a British import, the film makes no effort to break away from clichés. The annoying bully, the science geek, the pretty-but-quiet girl who captivates the hero — they are all there. This is just your typical high school movie, now equipped with bigger explosions, uninspired acting and one of the weakest screenplays in recent memory.
The film does little to get its audience interested in the story. The romance is bland and unimaginative, with Pettyfer and “Glee’s” Dianna Agron reciting the lines we have all heard before. If you want to see a gorgeous Brit agonizing about the girl he shouldn’t be with, go see “Twilight” or its sequels. It would truly be a better investment of your time and money.
Director D.J. Caruso (“Disturbia”) made some interesting (albeit confusing) choices. There are nonsensical sequences throughout the movie featuring the girl later revealed to be Number Six (Teresa Palmer). She crosses paths with Number Four much too late in the film to make it interesting, and she does not do much except look smug when walking away from exploding buildings.
This being a Michael Bay production, it is set up so that everything leads to a much too long, much-too-loud explosion extravaganza with a hint of hand-to-hand combat. The questions raised during the first half of the film are never answered, leaving the audience confused and blatantly setting the stage for many sequels to come.
Viewers will probably still be willing to wait around to see the sequel — if there’s money, there will be a franchise — and here’s hoping they will make a better effort. Which, let’s face it, is highly unlikely.