On Blu-ray and DVD
“I Am Number Four,” written by Alfred Gough, Miles Millar, Marti Noxon, Jobie Hughes and James Frey (novel as Pittacus Lore), directed by D.J. Caruso, 109 minutes, rated PG-13.
After a few practice rounds (“Disturbia,” “Eagle Eye”), director D.J. Caruso has become a master of popcorn cinema, which makes him (and producer Michael Bay) the perfect choice for “I Am Number Four,” a movie so fluffy that it’s the film equivalent of a Three Musketeers bar.
Keep in mind that Three Musketeers are, for lack of a better word, awesome.
Alex Pettyfer stars as John Smith, one of the few surviving aliens from the planet Lorien after a Mogadorian genocide left the planet and its population in ruins. The few who remained fled to Earth with the purpose of protecting a connected group of nine Loriens gifted with special powers.
John’s destiny catches up with him while living as a care-free teenager on the beaches of Florida, with an illuminating scar and a vision of Number Three’s death.
John, of course, is Number Four. Next in line for the Mogadorian hunt.
As the threat comes knocking on John’s front door, his protector, Henri (Timothy Olyphant), decides it’s time to lay low in a small town in Ohio. Unlike most teenagers, John has the misfortune of being an alien trying to blend in at high school, find cover from the Mogadorians and master his newly discovered powers.
If you’ve come looking for originality, you won’t find it here. “I Am Number Four” is “Smallville” with (more) aliens, but collaborators on the show, Alex Gough and Miles Millar, prove that they have a firm grasp on this teenage superhero form, with the sole purpose of entertaining.
Instead of letting the could-be cliches weigh “Number Four” down, Caruso makes the film pop. The colors are vibrant, the soundtrack (much like “Disturbia”) feels young but not insulting, the action is constant and Caruso helps guide Pettyfer into becoming a surprisingly likable star.
Fans of hard sci-fi may scoff at “I Am Number Four,” and many others will look down on it – or already have. The film has a certain pop-culture appeal, however, and younger viewers will play right into its hands. Consider me among those “younger” viewers.