Movie: 1½ stars
Picture: 4 stars
Sound: 4 stars
Extras: 2 stars
When Michael (Transformers) Bay is attached to a project, you know you’re not in for an intellectual workout. So crank up the surround channels and the subwoofer, cue the safely rebellious (and very pretty) boys and girls, and let’s take a PG-13-sanctioned trip into fantasy adolescence.
Producer Bay and director D.J. Caruso (Disturbia) shouldn’t be chastised for the ridiculous Good Alien/Bad Alien storyline or the stereotypes masquerading as characters. After all, good writing isn’t a hallmark of this level of teen flick. What’s more difficult to forgive? The vast majority of the action sequences, though technologically sophisticated, just won’t be very interesting to anyone but the most hardened home-theater junkie.
Consider some of this movie’s contemporaries:
The Transformers franchise: Yeah, it’s tough to tell which chunk of metal you’re supposed to be rooting for in the fight sequences — but at least the thrashing about is a guilty pleasure to watch. There’s even a modicum of suspense.
The Twilight saga: As goofy as this series is, a lot of the action sequences are genuinely compelling the first time you see them. There’s even, occasionally, a visceral sense of danger.
Unfortunately, I Am Number Four is neither visceral nor suspenseful. Rather, the movie is just kind of a drag. It’s been a long time since I was in 8th grade, but I’m going to have to proceed under the assumption that most 14-year-old boys aren’t going to find much to get excited about here — with the possible exception of Teresa Palmer, who deserved more screen time than she got. (Case in point: See the photo on the next screen of this review.)
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