BLU-RAY REVIEW: I Am Number Four
The best selling young adult sci-fi book comes to life on home video...
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The first in a proposed six-book young adult sci-fi series, I Am Number Four shot up the sales charts last year, spending 20 weeks on the New York Times' best sellers list. Thus, it's no surprise the movie rights to I Am Number Four were optioned by producer Michael Bay and, thanks to director D. J. Caruso, this action-packed story about "John" (Alex Pettyfer) and eight other young aliens from the planet Lorien being hunted by the Mogadorians, a savage alien race determined to exterminate the Loriens, hit the big screen earlier this year. Protected by guardians and gifted with unique abilities, each Lorien - including John - seeks to fit in with other teenagers while surviving the inevitable confrontations with the evil Mogadorians, all the while realizing they're the last of a dying species with little luck and even less hope.
While the story itself seems reminiscent of many a sci-fi stories, this unique tale comes by way of author Pittacus Lore, the pseudonym of Jobie Hughes and the controversial James Frey (author of "A Million Little Pieces"). Interestingly enough, the book was optioned before it actually saw publication, making it one of the few to generate this kind of interest from Hollywood producers.
Featuring a solid ensemble cast including Alex Pettyfer as John (Number 4), Timothy Olyphant as Henri (John's guardian), Dianna Agron as Sarah (John's love interest), Callan McAuliffe as Sam (John's best friend), and Teresa Palmer as Number 6, I Am Number Four does an impressive job of featuring a "who's who" of actors popular with today's teens. Thankfully, the acting is fairly decent, though somewhat forced at times. Likewise, the film's story, while not as in-depth as the book, does a good job of retelling the suspenseful, action-packed tale of John and Henri on the run for their lives and searching for a place to call home.
The 1080p video transfer does the CGI effects justice, providing plenty of sharp, clear and clean picture. From glowing blue palms and bursting balls of light to exploding houses and black jungles, the video is solidly presented and easy and enjoyable to watch. Likewise, the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 audio track presents plenty of impressive sound. Explosions and blast sounds roar from both sides and behind as dialogue is clearly projected from the front, providing an enjoyable experience that'll have viewers with good home audio equipment impressed.
As for special features, I Am Number Four offers few. 19 minutes of deleted and extended scenes are included as is 3 minutes of "bloopers." A decent look at one of the main characters - "Becoming Number Six" - focuses on actress Teresa Palmer and her character from the series. Hopefully, if we see a sequel, Teresa will have a larger role (she's by far my favorite part of this film). Lastly, a number of trailers are included as well.
While maybe not the most original of stories or the strongest cast, the overall experience of I Am Number Four is enjoyable and fun. It's clear this is the first in a series of tales and, while the theatrical reception was less than stellar, here's hoping we see the sequel made as this intriguing tale of a group of teenage aliens is both action-packed, enjoyable and fun.
I Am Number Four is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and for language and is available now on blu-ray and DVD wherever fine home video is sold.
- Jess C. Horsley
"Until next time...have FUN with your figures!!"
Jess C. Horsley