I Am Number Four: potential franchise, or strategic flop?

"I Am Number Four", by "Pittacus Lore": a book with great potential. (SOURCE: http://4.bp.blogspot.com).
"I Am Number Four", by "Pittacus Lore": a book with great potential. (SOURCE: http://4.bp.blogspot.com).

Starring Alex Pettyfr, from such films as “Stormbreaker” and “Wild Child”, I Am Number Four has given me surprise after surprise when it came out on February 18. My first flip was seeing “Glee” star, Diana Agron, starring as the film’s main love interest, and there was more to come. The plot line, which stayed loyal to the film’s novel counterpart, was interesting and exciting, however, it felt as though something important was missing.

The film begins at a cabin in the middle of an exotic jungle, where two boys are sleeping quietly. The peace and quiet is ruined when something rips one of the boys out a window, and Kevin Durand (“Dark Angel”, “Legion”) catches the other, shoving a blade up the unfortunate kid’s rib cage.

The movie transfers to a Florida beach party, where a teenager named Daniel Jones (Pettyfr) is having a late night swim with a late-night blonde, when a circular scar on his calf begins to burn and glow, causing everyone at the party to yell, scream, and run away from the ‘freak’ in the water. Jones is an alien from a planet named Lorien, and he’s been moving from place to place with guardian Henri (Timothy Olyphant) for as long as he can remember.

Raided and taken over by an evil alien race called the Mogadorians, Lorien sent nine of it’s children to Earth, so they may grow up and defeat Lorien’s alien enemy race. Each child has it’s own set of abilities, and scars that let them know when one of their brethren have passed away, as the Mogadorians are hunting them down in sequential order.

While this whole ‘Lorien’s must be killed in order’ deal isn’t explained in the film, it’s gone over in great deal in the novel I Am Number Four is based off of. Before I walked into the screening room for Steven Spielberg and Michael Bay’s new project, I did a little research, and was mystified at what I found.

The film is based off a new children’s book, written by “Pittacus Lore”, or authors James Frey and Jobie Hughes. A collaborated book between Frey, (“A Million Little Pieces”), and new writer Hughes, their book was claimed by DreamWorks in 2009 before it even hit the shelves on August 3, 2010, under the publishing company HarperCollins.

Most of the critiques who analyzed this film seem to have one thing in common: they all agree that this movie was carefully created, with the sole purpose of attracting the greens. Some web-news sites, (The West Australian), claim the film is an intergalactic Twilight, with X-Men, Transformers, and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice thrown in for luck.

But while critics have been giving a downpour on this D.J. Caruso directed franchise (famous for his films “Eagle Eye” and “Disturbia”), audiences have been more lenient. Rotten Tomato shows that 70% of people wanted to see I Am Number Four when it came out, and the comment bar has been light and hopeful, as several civilian critics declare that: yes. It may be familiar and cliché, but it had potential and that was enough for them.