Movie Review: I am Number Four, which kind of smelled like number two.
Ok, it wasn’t quite that bad, but if you are going to hand me a straight line like that you have to expect me to jump on it with all my fourth grade humor powers. Before I get into the movie, I would like to apologize for missing a full week of blogging. The thing is, I was at that gaming show selling t-shirts and at night I was either passed out or watching Firefly episodes with the most amazing girl on the planet. I’m sure you understand the order of my priorities. (Fruity Oaty Bar image courtesy of the sci fi t shirt category)
Last week I also saw Black Swan and was going to review it, but honestly I thought about it and couldn’t come up with a single black hole. It was truly exceptional and amazing. Unfortunately a movie with no black holes usually turns into a pretty boring review, so unless I did the whole thing on my creepy obsession with Natalie Portman dating back to the Professional it would have been pretty dull. Therefore I will say I highly recommend you see it and move on to something lamer.
Let’s get into I am Number Four. Ultimately it is Twilight with aliens instead of vampires. Same pretty teenagers who are supposed to be in high school but who really look like they are serving drinks at a bar on Santa Monica Boulevard. Even the supposed nerd is shockingly fit and good looking. The main guy is John Smith, an exiled Lorien alien living on Earth while the evil Mogadorians hunt him and his eight fellow ex-patriots down. For some unexplained reason (the term unexplained could be applied to a lot of this movie) the Mogadorians can only kill them in order, so John is at the plate after number three gets killed in some jungle. The movie starts with John living a teenage dream in South Florida with hot bikini girls, beach fires, and a complete and utter disregard for PWC safety. He senses Three being killed by having a brand in the shape of a bad Tribal tattoo burn itself into his leg along with the brands from the One and Two. His protector Henri pulls him out and they relocate to Paradise, Ohio.
There he disregards all advice from his experienced protector and enrolls himself into the local high school (with shocking ease. Aren’t you supposed to have some kind of records or something? At least a note from your old school?) where he meets the love of his life. He gets into it with an extremely cliche bully and his crew, befriends the local nerd outcast (who by happy coincidence is a hard core believer in aliens), finds super cute beagle who turns out to have followed him from Lorien (also the name of a forest in Lord of the Rings) and can transform into a two ton killing machine, and has number Six, who is a Buffy the Vampire Slayer-like combat chick, show up to save his ass (by the way, it is painfully obvious that the casting director has a serious liking of thin faced blond girls, as the only women with a speaking role look like sisters). Alien battle hijinx ensue. John develops super powers that seem to have something to do with flashlights embedded in his palms. The Loriens embody all that is good and wholesome, being stunningly attractive, Caucasian, fit, with great hair and no speech impediments while the Mogodorians are all that is evil, being bald with bad teeth, tribal tattoos all over their heads, extra breathing slits on their faces, slurring speech and/or accents, and a complete disdain for Earthling (i.e. American) culture.
The stars. The Mogodorians are actually pretty cool, with a good leather trench coat look very similar to the Strangers from Dark City. I also like their attitude. One star. They also have some pretty cool guns and some big alien pets they use to more or less destroy most of the scenery. One star. The killer dog and big alien CGI was decent. One star. Um, that’s it. Three stars.
Now the black holes. The story made little to no sense. I should give a black hole for every time I found myself saying “Duh” but those would add up pretty quick. I’ll restrict myself to two. John Smith jumps in at the beginning and end with a Fourth Wall (haw! Four) breaking monologue trying to make the writers lives easier by explaining what is going on and pretty much failing at it. One black hole. The main character obviously was cast to appeal to 13 year old girls and fails to appeal to any other demographic alive or dead. One black hole. His acting and those of pretty much everyone not a Mogodorian was flat and lifeless. One black hole. Anyone killed in the movie crumbles into dust (along with their clothes and accouterments) in an obvious bid to maintain that critical PG-13 rating. One black hole. While the Mogorians had cool guns and stuff the Loriens had blue glowing knives for the most part and some kind of lame prop box that had something to do with number Fours legacy but was never examined or opened. One black hole. The special effects were amateurish at best, mostly comprised of breaking open glow sticks and rubbing the glow juice on number Four’s palms (no joke). One black hole. The explosives special effects were over the top to the point of stupid (since when does a gas stove explosion cause wooden blinds to spontaneously explode?) One black hole. The fight scenes were a terrible jumble of cut sequences that looks like they were supposed to add excitement but really just illustrated the need for a movie to hire a decent fight choreographer. One black hole. Overall, the movie was pretty dull, with no reason to even favor the Lorien cause over the Mogodorian (note to the director; just because you have shown one side to be evil in all ways does not automatically make us like their opposition. Give me a reason to care, dammit). One black hole. 100% of the speaking characters are white. One black hole for racial insensitivity. Total: twelve black holes.
A net of nine black holes. I guess it was worse than I originally thought, although if I were really trying to make a point it would be funny to have it end up with Four black holes. I guess I have too much integrity. If you have a daughter or girlfriend who loves Twilight this movie will work for you as a date or family outing, but try to see it in 3D so you can fall comfortably asleep without her noticing.
Last post I failed to do my who-would-win question, so I will revert to the post before. The question was who would win in a fight between a single Red Shirt with a phaser against Tweekie with Dr. Theopolis. Honestly, this is a tough one. Tweekie is literally combat ineffective, but Red Shirts are infinitely resourceful in their ability to find ways to die. I suspect in this case the Red Shirt would destroy Tweekie and Dr. Theopolis both before having his phaser explode or falling off a cliff to a painful death. I think this is a case where neither side would actually win.
Today let’s try some video game cross over. Who would win, Mario versus Link (no power ups for either).