Now that the Twilight series is almost at an end (only the two parts of Breaking Dawn to go), Hollywood must be frantically searching for the next possible movie franchise that will appeal to both teenage girls (the romance part) and boys (the action part). There are a few contenders later in the year, including a gothic reworking of Red Riding Hood, but first out of the gate is this sci-fi action/romance I Am Number Four – and it’s not bad, either.
“John” (Pettyfer) looks like a regular (albeit very pretty) teenage boy on the outside, but in fact he’s a hunk from another planet. Nine alien kids were sent to earth years before for their protection, and three of them have already been murdered by rival aliens. John is number four, so as well as dealing with everyday teen problems such as bully thugs at school and a potential romance with the local brooding girl, Sarah (Glee’s Agron), he is constantly on the lookout for bad guys with pointy teeth who want him dead. So he moves from town to town with his guardian (Olyphant), while trying to remain incognito (tricky when you learn that every time he gets excited, his hands start to glow).
The first hour of this drama/thriller – based on a novel by controversial author James Frey (writing under a pseudonym) – sets the scene slowly but once the action kicks in, it’s really fun. The script is witty with some choice one liners, thanks to the input of ex-Buffy The Vampire Slayer TV writer Marti Noxon, and there’s a deliciously snarky turn from Teresa Palmer as an ass-kicking number six that will remind adults of Sarah Michelle Gellar’s Buffy.
While Pettyfer may not be as brooding or floppy haired as his fellow Brit Robert Pattinson, he’s conflicted enough to appeal to teenage girls who will no doubt hope that this is just the first in a series of adventures for the handsome boy from another world.
Note to parents: John has an iPhone that the camera regularly zooms in on in some very blatant product placement, so be prepared for your kids to demand one as soon as they get back from the cinema.
Is I Am Number Four suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
This is aimed at teens and they should find nothing here to scare them.
Younger viewers will be frightened by the toothy aliens, and later by the big creatures that attack John in the finale.