Saturday, February 19, 2011

Movie Review: I am Number Four

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This week finally had a better selection. So is this just a single "warm" day only to go back to the coldness that has been the banality of the past month's releases? We'll have to wait and see what happens for next week. In the mean time, a social media posting for Unknown with Liam Neeson vs I am Number Four which several people pointed out had Dianna Agron from Glee, which should I watch and the response was for the latter. The movie is based off of a book of the same name.

I Am Number Four movie poster
What surprised me right off the bat were the companies involved. Touchstone Pictures and Dreamworks. I thought there was still a bit of bad blood between Jeffrey Katzenberg and Disney. Apparently I was wrong. With Michael Bay directing, you know that there are going to be some big action scenes and lots of things blowing up. The opening set up scene has the fast panning motion as we start from outer space and zoom across the globe heading down into a hut in a jungle. A few more seconds later and we have people darting through the dense tropical growth running for their lives! Yep, no doubt Michael Bay is involved!

The basic storyline could have been part of the X-Files. Planet Lorien (sheesh, not only does she have an island, but she has a planet too! Lucky bugger! Sorry, inside joke) has been destroyed by the Mogadorians. There are nine youths and their protectors that were sent to Earth to hide. They are the last of their kind. Number Four (Alex Pettyfor) and his protector Henri (Timothy Olyphant) detect that Number Three has been killed. To protect Number Four he goes by the name John Smith and they run to Paradise, Ohio. Oh yeah, you could detect the irony in the naming selection of that town!

While trying to blend in John meets Sara (Agron). Of course they fall for each other. But Sara and the football quarterback are supposed to be an item. This is where I tried to figure out Agron as Sara vs her Glee character Quinn Fabray. Small town Ohio, dating the football hero. For me, the roles and how she plays them were too similar. He tries to blend in, but not really. He upsets the apple cart on several levels drawing attention to himself.

Eventually the Mogadorian's track down John. The Commander (Kevin Durand, Kimi from LOST) has his team and some nasty beasties to track down the Loriens. He has these openings along side his nose that look like gills but actually help turn him into a intergalactic basset hound of sorts. Eventually in a Michael Bay film you end up with the one gigantic battle/action scene. About this time, Number Six (Teresa Palmer) joins the fray. Turns out when the Loriens get together they have powers beyond what each alone could do. Six does a great job taking on the bad guys. Ultimately, there is the giant explosion to end the battle.

There were a couple of items that weakened the film. They introduced a tin foil hat conspiracy theory alien chaser but didn't flesh out his background enough. Some of the alien technology was really advanced, but some seemed too Earthling. Same with the Loriens themselves, they appeared very human like, but the Mogadorians not so. The last point being why the human antagonist did what he did at the end. What thought process was being used when he made that last big action? The movie ran for 110 minutes. Taking an extra ten minutes to explain that one action would have been appreciated instead of leaving it on the cutting room floor or as a DVD extra.

On the plus side, they have set this up for a sequel. I would be interested in seeing what happened to the other Loriens. What powers do they have and how do their powers combine. Just why was Earth chosen as their hide out? The different symbols that we enountered, how to they fit into the larger puzzle. Do they have any connection to crop circles? These would all be good questions for the next movie or two to answer. These ponderings were enough to capture my attention and leave me wanting for more.

The movie is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and for language.

The Movie Monkey

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