Sunday, 6 March 2011

103: Review - I Am Number Four

CAUTION: Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety.  Reader discretion is advised.

I Am Number Four
06 March 2011. Location: Cinema

Jeez. This film owes so much to Twilight, that it's had to take out a loan from The Lost Boys just to keep up the repayments.

Plot: John is a super-magic-alien, who lives with his protector Henri (also an alien, but not a super-magic one). They're trying to keep a low profile as fugitives, but they have to keep moving around because John is very pretty and can't stop showing off every time people are around. Look, he's very misunderstood and brooding, okay? Look, he's got his shirt off.

+ + +

Have you ever sat in a cinema and felt that you shouldn't be there? I didn't get it when I watched The Great Escape on Cineworld's Classic Tuesdays, even though the average-age-bracket was well above mine. I didn't get it when I watched Despicable Me last year, even though it was largely families with very young kids. But there's something about sitting in an auditorium with 15yr old girls that just unsettles me. Yeah, you know what I mean. Even 15yr old boys aren't comfortable with the prospect.

The first trailer I saw for this made it look like a 25-36 bracket, sci-fi murder thriller. The second trailer I saw made it look like part of a marketing exercise to get stuff into Claire's Accessories. As it turned out, the second trailer was far more indicative of the tone of the work. Not that it's a bad film, it's just been made for people who haven't seen that many movies yet.

Every time Alex Pettyfer's John (or just plain old Number Four) walks on-screen with his top off, you can almost hear the ticks going into the target-demographic boxes. 'We need another abs-shot here, your average adolescent female will be starting to lose interest because someone's just said an entire sentence…' I know I sound like an old cynic, but this is about as generic as it gets. I'd normally call The Hero's Journey as Exhibit A, but seeing as John is aware of his powers as the movie begins, it doesn't quite slot into that hole. Although it tries to, pretty hard. There are a few plot-holes/leaps-of-logic; nothing major, but things that anyone paying attention will be questioning. Oh, and a nice continuity error with his necklace-thing in the opening jet-ski sequence.

At the start of the film, it's revealed that the other 'numbers' in the 1-9 series are being murdered sequentially*, along with their (apparently) same-sex protectors as part of the evil-alien's plot to colonise Earth. A part of my brain actually wondered if there's a subtext of a serial killer targeting gay couples? After all, John mopes around like all teenagers (even if he's clearly 20), and finds it difficult to form relationships with girls because he's got 'all issues' and that. It's alright, girls, don't worry: His protector dies and he kisses a girl, so he's definitely straight.

Actually, I'm not serious about the subtext-thing. That would be giving the film far too much credit. Again, it's not that bad, it's just clearly not for me (which, co-incidentally, could be John's attitude to the ladies, eh?**). As well as being a massive homage to Twilight and The Lost Boys, the climactic battle in the film takes place in a night-darkened high-school. So, shades of Alien vs Predator: Requiem, Let Me In, and just about every slasher movie from the 1980's.

Oh, Teresa Palmer as Number Six is pretty good, even if her accent's all over the shop. Also, if they have to be killed sequentially*, she should be happy as Larry as long as Number Four's still alive. Especially as Number Five is nowhere to be seen. Sheesh.

Sequels? Yeah, probably. But that's just how movie-planning and contracts go these days.

I'd have enjoyed it more if I'd been 20 years younger and another gender.

* The sequential killing thing: This was stated outright in the trailer, but only kind of hinted at in the movie. Not sure what gives there. Getting a bit annoyed with movies not paying off what the trailers set up, like with Predators...

** No, I'm not suggesting that Alex Pettyfer might be gay. Although I am suggesting his character in this film might be. In the same way that people have suggested the same thing of Holmes/Watson. It's just a thought, not a big deal.


• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organizations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.


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