[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=6776&w=l[/img]Title: I Am Number Four
Starring: Alex Pettyfer, Timothy Olyphant, Teresa Palmer, Diana Agron, Callan McAuliffe
Directed by: D.J. Caruso
Written by: Alfred Gough, Miles Millar (Screenplay), Jobie Hughes, James Frey (Novel)
Runtime: 109 min
Release Date: 5/24/2011 (Blu-Ray)
I Am Number Four is your typical teen novel turned movie - a normal young individual discovers that they have super powers and must save the world. Okay, so maybe the premise is a little cliché, but the presentation is what makes this worth watching. John Smith (Pettyfer) is an apparently normal young man living in Florida enjoying his life, until once again he is forced to run with his guardian Henri. The real story about John is that he's an alien, the fourth among nine young children sent to Earth to escape the destruction of their homeworld by an evil race known as the Mogadorians. The Mogs (as they are referred to in the film) have hunted down and killed One, and Two - and Three meets his gruesome end during the opening minutes of the film. As Three dies, John (Four) has a painful scar burned into his leg as he witnesses the event. Forced to flee with Henri, John ends up in the small town of Paradise, Ohio.
Against Henri's wishes and better judgment, John enrolls in the local high school in an attempt to bring some normalcy to his life and is immediately introduced to Sarah (Agron) in the Principal's office. Sarah walks John to his locker and home-room and proceeds to say goodbye. Immediately thereafter, John is introduced to the captain of the football team and jock extraordinaire - Mark James. Mark greets John and offers his assistance - inquiring rather obviously as to John's talents when it comes to football. John reassures Mark that he doesn't play football, and excuses himself. Over the following day John also meets Sam Goode (McAliffe) who is bullied constantly by James and his posse. At lunch when Mark throws a football at Sam's head throwing him from his feet, an angry John throws the ball back with such force it sends one of Mark's flunkies flying. Shocked by his own strength, John makes sure Sam is okay and makes his way indoors.
Over the course of the (assumedly) weeks following, John and Sarah begin to fall for one another and the friendship between John and Sam flourishes. John begins to discover new powers and abilities and must try to avoid the notice of both his peers, and Henri. Meanwhile the Mogadorians continue their search for John and eventually end up in Paradise themselves, manipulating two alien conspiracy theorists into capturing Henri. John and Sam must go rescue Henri and avoid the Mogadorians but end up in a firefight, barely escaping with their lives and Henri is mortally wounded.
With Henri dying, John is forced to take matters into his own hands as the police and the Mogs hunt for him. Upon learning this, John makes up his mind to leave Paradise and proceeds to a party where Sarah is spending the evening. John attempts to say goodbye to Sarah but she falls from the roof in an accidental slip and John is forced to reveal his powers in order to save her. On the run, John and Sarah retreat to the high school with the Mogadorians hot on their heels.
At the high school cornered by the Mogadorians, John meets the mysterious Number Six (Palmer) who joins him in a frantic battle for survival. The showdown between the Mogs, John and Six ends in a massive explosion that leaves only John and Six standing - thanks to her fire-proof energy shield ability. Convinced that there will be more Mogadorians after them soon, John and Six leave Paradise along with Sam as they begin their quest to unite with the rest of their kin in a last ditch effort to save Earth.
I Am Number Four is rated PG-13 for sequences of intense violence and action, and for language.
The visual presentation of I Am Number Four is a vibrant CGI tour-de-force with plenty of explosions for all you action junkies. The 1080p AVC encode is a great example of where the average Blu-Ray needs to be in terms of quality. Blacks are inky and avoid significant crush throughout the many dark scenes in the film, though there are a few instances of game-like blackness where the only light is the odd flash of artificial effects work. Distracting as these situations are, shadow detail and delineation is very good from start to finish and generally impresses. During bright or daylight scenes the clarity and detail is superb, with rich natural skin tones and extremely fine detail clearly resolved. Sharpness is excellent without any evidence of artificial sharpening or edge-enhancement. Thankfully, no DNR, haloes, jaggies or other artifacts are visible and the picture is pleasing from start to finish. While the imperfect detail in dark scenes is a flaw, this is to some degree a stylistic choice and doesn't seem to be a result of excessive fiddling in post-production. Overall this is an excellent transfer and is worthy of a viewing, provided the story isn't too much for you to handle.
The DTS-HD Master Audio track of I Am Number Four is a 5.1 channel surround mix featuring an extremely dynamic and enjoyable assortment of sonic pleasures. With a great deal of alien creatures roaring, energy beams and explosions, the all-important subwoofer is sure to see a workout in this film. The surrounds are used with abandon creating a dense, dizzyingly involving surround experience. Dialogue and subtle environmental sounds are exceptionally clear and rarely if ever muddled by excessive LFE or surround content. While the pianissimo subtlety of some tracks may not be present in this mix, it's obvious from the get-go that Director J.C. Caruso and Producer Michael Bay never intend for I Am Number Four to be subtle in any way. This is a brash, bombastic joyride of a soundtrack that matches will with the tone of the film it accompanies. Imperfect as other components of this release are, this is well worth a listen and as a choice for a family film your ears could do much worse.
I Am Number Four hits store shelves featuring a DVD copy, a Digital Copy, 6 HD Deleted Scenes and two HD featurettes. While this isn't an astounding list of extras, the DVD and Digital Copy both add to the overall value of the package.
I Am Number Four might be a corny, sometimes over-the-top teen sci-fi film, and yes, there are times that the acting is painful to witness. Despite all this, I Am Number Four is a sci-fi film and for being in this under-appreciated genre wins a few brownie points from me. The audio and visual presentation of the film is up to Disney's usually high standards and will ensure that even if the story doesn't grab your attention, the experience will. This is not by any means a blockbuster or a work of cinematic art, but it is well worth a rental and maybe a purchase, depending of course on how many of these afore-mentioned teens you happen to have in your home.