Thursday, 3 March 2011

REVIEW: I Am Number Four

Playing high-school football doesn't automatically make you a monster or an idiot.

Picture a boardroom. In it are many white men, a long table, the box office figures for the Twilight Franchise and a plan. They know I Am Number Four is not a particularly good movie, but one young particularly insightful executive from Euclid, Ohio points out with a clear head and a full heart that like Twilight, this stars a goofily attractive Brit nobody has ever heard of doing a bad American accent. Like Twilight it features an inter-species romance, where no one points out the slight ickiness of that, as we just role with the alien on hot chick from Glee action. And like Twilight, its set in a small town where nothing happens full of trees. And like Twilight the all powerful alpha-being pointlessly goes to high school. You could go on. So together, with the spiritual connectedness of the hive mind from Dead Space, they conclude that in every interview, soundbite and clip. People will say is this the new Twilight?

The answer is of course emphatically no. This is by all accounts a boy movie, and any girls suckered into seeing it with the promise of smouldering and awkward near-kisses will leave unsatisfied. There's a little of that shit here, but mostly its about discovering rad Alien powers, hot chicks with powers in leather, cool weapons and villains that look about the most generic sub-Voldemort humanoid you could come up with. Make no mistake though, this is about a generic thing of its type as they come. And Alex Pettyfer looks too much like a coked up psychopath to be winning in any kind of conventional romantic way. I don't think he's terrible, and he acquits well in the action scenes, but when faced with the black hole of bland attractiveness that is Glee's Dianna Agron and asked to spark chemistry with her, he just looks like he'd be rather beating shit up. Thankfully there's a couple of redeeming features. A rock steady turn from the painfully cool Timothy Olyphant as Pettyfer's guardian/protector and a movie-stealing, stealthily bonkers performance by Kevin Durand as unnamed Alien Bad Guy. At first the movies villains seemed borderline pathetic, driving around in a truck while they park they spaceship presumably somewhere they couldn't find it. Then Durand started saying stuff, and it quickly became obvious that he was the best part of the movie. Its the kind of hammy, awesome performance somebody gives when they know they're in something shit. And it brought me some happiness.

The rest of I Am Number Four though is almost soul-suckingly humorless, the feeblest of action-fantasies where details are the enemy, the backstory we're given is handled in about 5 minutes, despite the high-school shit getting forty minutes. Aliens vs maths class, what is objectively more interesting DJ Caruso. Caruso is traditionally one of the sturdier directors for hire, usually knocking out solid 5/6 out of ten stuff, but this is probably a below average outing for him. I think it should have been about Timothy Olyphant's character vs Durand's villain and this rating would be at least two grades higher. As its stands, churned out crap and everybody knows it.

Rating: 4/10

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