It’s difficult to try and predict which Young Adult novel series will work as a Movie adaptation. Back in 2011 movie bosses were hoping for the next Twilight with this big screen version of I Am Number Four.
John Smith (Alex Pettyfer) is no ordinary teenager. He isn’t even human. He’s from the planet Lorien sent to Earth as a child along with eight other children and their guardians after Lorien was destroyed by invaders called Mogadorians. Now they are searching for the nine children and hunting them in order. The first three have been killed so now John (Number Four) is on the run again with his guardian Henri (Timothy Olyphant). When they end up in Paradise, Ohio, John meets a girl called Sarah (Dianna Agron), and finds a reason not to keep running.
I Am Number Four is a dull offering from a studio that obviously was trying to cash in on the growing YA interest. The end result feels devoid of originality. It doesn’t help that the most of the cast look bored in their roles. Alex Pettyfer can barely muster up any emotion either with his character’s romance with Sarah or in his father/son dynamic with guardian Henri. There is no chemistry between Sarah and John, and it’s hard to believe in their deep love when they’ve know each other for about a week. I know things tend to move more quickly in YA romance but still when there’s no chemistry on screen it’s hard to care about them. Poor Dianna Argon is stuck with a character whose main personality trait is that she loves photography. And that’s about it. We know practically nothing else about her. Most of the characters fall into a cliché, the bland hero, the romantic love interest, the jealous ex-boyfriend, the geeky best friend, the tough chick. They don’t feel like real people and thus it’s hard to connect to them or their troubles.
The romance storyline is a dud, and so is the alien plotline. The villains the Mogadorians are awful, played for laughs they are not scary, and they are not funny either. The movie never explains why the baddies have to kill John and co in a particular order. What happened if they went for number 7 instead or worked backwards? How did they come up with this order anyway, is it age or importance? No explanation is given.
It does get slightly better towards the end when the Tessa Palmer’s Number Six turns up. She isn’t given much personality either but she is more interesting and her powers (or legacies as this movie calls them) are kind of cool. The geeky best friend Sam (Callan McAuliffe) is also endearing, more so than moody John. The last Act also has more action in it which helps keep away the boredom. But it’s a bit too late at this point.
Unless you are a hug fan of the book series I wouldn’t recommend seeing this movie. There are plenty better YA adaptations to see instead.