Alex Pretty Four
John Smith (Alex Pettyfer - Tormented) may look like a typical teen but he is anything but, he is in fact a Mogadorian, a breed of alien hiding on earth with his guardian Henri (Timothy Olyphant - The Crazies), always on the move to stay ahead of those who are hunting Mogadorians down and killing them. It is a lonely existence, never being able to establish himself in one spot, until at their most recent stop John meets the pretty Sarah (Dianna Agron) much to Henri's annoyance. But being an alien from Mogador means that relationships are complicated especially when John starts getting special powers.
John Smith has to be one of the most generic names going which ironically is quite fitting for "I Am Number Four" a wholly generic movie. Teens, non humans, romance, being hunted down these are all cliches which have dominated cinema for years none more so than recently with the "Twilight" series of movies which I mention for a reason as this is not to dissimilar. Plus it is generic in other ways as beyond the cliches there is no depth, no inspired dialogue but lots of special effect driven action. The sum of all of this is a movie which might appeal to a young audience who enjoy looks over substance but then disappoint those who have seen it all before in one form or another.
Now as a movie made for a young audience who might be more interested in the looks over substance "I Am Number Four" is probably a hit. The action is frequent and heavy on special effects which make it look stunning if a little ridiculous and the cast have that sexiness which will make young audiences either swoon over John or think one of the female characters is smoking. Plus it knows that its desired audience is the sort who doesn't what complexity which makes them think too hard or dialogue which forces them to pay attention to the detail and so avoids anything which requires too much audience participation.
But as a movie for the masses "I Am Number Four" comes up short because it is nothing more than a collection of cliches wrapped up in special effects. From John being a sullen lone teenage through to falling for the pretty girl and having to deal with high school bullies it is all typical. And because there is no depth to this it makes it a mind numbing experience which is a walk through the familiar.
The one thing it has going for it is the cast and whilst I have never been a fan of Alex Pettyfer he is not only well cast as the pretty boy John he actually plays the part well, well in a typical fashion which will appeal to a young audience. Of course Dianna Agron as Sarah is simple appealing whilst Timothy Olyphant is entertaining as John's guardian Henri. But whilst the cast is well chosen the characters are again generic and nothing more.
What this all boils down to is that "I Am Number Four" wasn't for me because it is simply a generic movie which works through a lot of familiar cliches wrapped up in special effects. But for a young crowd who don't want to be challenged by anything more than out of this world action and the look it probably works.