I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore - the film tie-in! They killed Number One in Malaysia. Number Two in England. And Number Three in Kenya. John Smith is not your average teenager. He regularly moves from small town to small town. He changes his name and identity. He does not put down roots. He cannot tell anyone who or what he really is. If he stops moving those who hunt him will find and kill him. But you can't run forever. So when he stops in Paradise, Ohio, John decides to try and settle down. To fit in. And for the first time he makes some real friends. People he cares about - and who care about him. Never in John's short life has there been space for friendship, or even love. But it's just a matter of time before John's secret is revealed. He was once one of nine. Three of them have been killed. John is Number Four. He knows that he is next...Praise for Pittacus Lore: "Tense, exciting, full of energy". (Observer). "Relentlessly readable". (The Times). "Set to eclipse Harry Potter and moody vampires. Pittacus Lore is about to become one of the hottest names on the planet". (Big Issue). "Tense, keeps you wondering". (Sunday Times). Perfect for fans of The Hunger Games - I Am Number Four is the first book in Pittacus Lore's Lorien Legacies series and is now a major Disney film. Pittacus Lore is Lorien's ruling elder. He has been on Earth for the last twelve years preparing for the war that will decide Earth's fate. His whereabouts are unknown. Look out for the next books in the Lorien Legacies, The Power of Six and The Rise of Nine.
About the Author
Pittacus Lore is a Loric Elder, from the Planet Lorien, which is three hundred million miles away. He is approximately ten thousand years old. He has been to earth hundreds of times, and he is here now.
Based on the NY Times best-selling novel by "Pittacus Lore" (an alias for the memoir-fabricating James Frey and Jobie Hughes), I Am Four kicks off the cinematic proceedings with an intense and creepy jungle chase scene and an intriguing - albeit fairly unoriginal - concept.
The planet Lorien (COUGH krypton COUGH) was destroyed, and nine of its alien children were sent to earth. Why earth? Who knows. Perhaps earth's atmosphere is the most similar to Lorien's? A race of 7-foot tall humanoids called the Mogadorians are hunting down the children one at a time. Why? Beats me. Because we wouldn't have a story otherwise, I suppose. All we're really told is "they're a race who chooses to decimate rather than colonize." So be it.
Anyway, due to some sort of spell the Mogadorians are forced to kill the nine remaining Lorien kids in the proper order. Who established the order and how? No idea. Wouldn't you be pretty ticked off if you were Number One and became aware that you were chosen to be killed first? Perhaps the numbering system is completely random. Otherwise, that's a pretty jacked up system. "Hmm, little Billy seems to be a little slow upstairs, and that lisp sure ain't doin' him any favors. Let's make him Number One." Regardless, numbers one to three are now dead, so the story focuses on Number Four.
Number Four's desperate attempts to fit in lead to yet another blown cover, and he and his guardian Henri must once again relocate - this time to the small town of Paradise, OH. Following the film's somewhat promising start, the story takes an ill-advised detour and bogs down in a teenage romance marsh. It's at this point that Number Four (AKA John Smith) falls in love, defends a nerd against bullies, and begins to discover his unique abilities (known as legacies).
This blatant drawing from the well of the Twilight series' formula might giddy up the hearts of teenage girls, but males with an ounce of testosterone will grow increasingly restless as they await the arrival of the action that the film's trailer promised.
That arrival comes in the film's third act in the form of a deus ex machina known as Number Six (Teresa Palmer) who proceeds to kick a satisfying amount of rumpage against the backdrop of CGI and special-effects. The last 20 minutes will most certainly entertain the majority of audiences, but the drive there should've been smoother and more evenly-paced.
Dialogue is weak, character development is practically non-existent, and the underdeveloped backstory creates too many questions that lead to frustration rather than intrigue. Granted, this is an origin story that's specifically designed to kick-start a franchise, but a little more self-containment would have been appreciated.
One of the film's biggest transgressions is the misuse of Timothy Olyphant as Henri. We're told that he's a Lorien warrior, and as such you'd expect him to join in the butt-kickery. Unfortunately, he's only involved in one fight and is inexplicably kidnapped (done off-screen to mask its implausibility) by a couple of out-of-shape alien conspiracy theorists. His role is more of a babysitter for Number Four than a warrior/guardian who dispenses valuable training and wisdom.
The film presents a seed or two of hope that the franchise can improve with each installment, but will its identity crisis allow it to do so? Attempting to be all things to all teenagers could backfire if it fails to create loyalty amongst any one demographic.
Teenage audiences and those who don't consume themselves with the story's many flaws will be more forgiving than I. Perhaps your expectations will be exceeded, but there's a good chance you'll be either underwhelmed or disappointed. Wouldn't you rather risk a dollar at Redbox than $10 a pop at the theater? Don't say I didn't properly inform you.
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