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I Am Number Four (Three-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy) by Director: D.J. Caruso
Review by Charles Mohapel
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment Blu-ray  ISBN/ITEM#: B004SBQAL0
Date: 01 June 2011 List Price $44.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

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With his home planet of Lorien overrun by the invading Mogadorians, nine children with special powers are taken to Earth by their Warrior/Guardians and hidden from the Mogadorians among humankind. Number Four (Alex Pettyfer) has become a teenager and begins manifesting new abilities in public in his "home" of South Florida, thereby causing Henri (Timothy Olyphant), his Guardian to pack them up and move immediately to the smalltown Ohio.

Unfortunately for John Smith, a Mogadorian hit squad led by the towering Commander (Kevin Durand) is closing in on them quickly. But as the hit squad pursues the remaining Lorien children, they are in turn being hunted by Number Six (Teresa Palmer), who has lost her own Guardian to the hit squad.

Directed by: D.J. Caruso

Writing credits: Alfred Gough (screenplay) &
Miles Millar (screenplay) and
Marti Noxon (screenplay)

Jobie Hughes (novel) (as Pittacus Lore) &
James Frey (novel) (as Pittacus Lore)

Cast (Cast overview, first billed only):
Alex Pettyfer ... John
Timothy Olyphant ... Henri
Teresa Palmer ... Number 6
Dianna Agron ... Sarah
Callan McAuliffe ... Sam
Kevin Durand ... Mogadorian Commander
Jake Abel ... Mark

When most people think of I Am Number Four's producer Michael Bay, the three Transformers films come to mind, replete with lots and lots of BIG explosions -- they were present here. Writers Alfred Gough (Smallville) & Miles Millar (Smallville), plus Marti Noxon (Buffy The Vampire Slayer) all write characters who kick butt, yet have a softer side. Here it's a split decision since Number Four/John Smith (Alex Pettyfer) finds his first crush; Number Six/Jane Doe (Teresa Palmer) was a female buttkicker who reminded me of a human female Terminator.

I Am Number Four began with Lorien/Number Three having been tracked down by the Mogadorian hit squad and killed, triggering a psychic link to Number Four (Alex Pettyfer) and producing a white glowing third scar on his leg. While I can understand the director's desire to heighten the air of mystery by keeping the opening scene and the climactic battle scene very dark, I would have preferred seeing more of the action.

When Number Four told his Warrior/Guardian Henri (Timothy Olyphant) that a psychic link to Number Three had opened up and he had seen what Number Three had been seeing until he died, Henri packed them up and moved them to the ironically named small town of Paradise, Ohio. Now living under the false identity of John Smith, he befriends a stray beagle he names Bernie Kosar, a classmate named Sam Goode (Callan McAuliffe) who is a conspiracy theorist, and talented amateur photographer Sarah Hart (Dianna Agron) who becomes his first love. Unfortunately for John, Sam, and Sarah, she has a 6' 1" piece of baggage, namely ex-boyfriend and star school quarterback Mark James (Jake Abel), who is a loud bully who often cruelly torments both John and Sam.

During Paradise Spring Scream the spring carnival, Mark and his three cronies capture John and Sarah, whom they suspect are in a relationship, and follow them into the woods, where the four of them attempt to beat John up. However, he uses his new powers to to toss them around like rag dolls and injures Mark's throwing arm, before rescuing Sarah. Sam witnesses the events and pressures John into meeting him, and after showing him cell phone photos, John tells Sam his true origin. Shortly thereafter, Mark's father, the brusque local sheriff, interrogates Henri on John's whereabouts at the time that his son Mark and Mark's friends were attacked, but Henri manages to convince the sheriff that John hadn't attacked anyone. After the sheriff's departure Henri tells John that too many people are suspicious of them, and that they must leave Paradise immediately. However, John tells Henri that he can't leave Paradise because he's in love with Sarah.

While I found I Am Number Four to be an entertaining popcorn movie (entertaining, but not profound) and that's what it is intended to be, there are a few things that annoyed me. I don't know about you but when I found out about the Mogadorian hit squad, the name of the villain race reminded me too much of the Mandalorian bounty hunters like Boba Fett from Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back, Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi, and Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones, as well as the other Mandalorian bounty hunters in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars TV series. I put my money on the Mandalorian bounty hunters in a head-to-head fight.

Another thing that bothered me was that they specifically mentioned that the Mogadorian hit squad has to kill the nine Lorien children in a specific order (beginning with Number One and finishing with Number Nine), but they left it hanging. If they were hoping to answer that in a future sequel, we'll probably never know why they had to kill the children in that order."

Watching the theatrical trailer for Real Steel, it made me think of TV's Robot Wars meets Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em Robots, only the robots weigh 2,000 pounds and are juiced up like Barry Bonds. That said, I think of it as a post-Labor Day / pre-Thanksgiving popcorn movie. On both Blu-ray Disc and DVD.

While viewing the theatrical trailer for Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, I was glad to see the return of Geoffrey Rush and Keith Richards, as well as the first appearances of the beautiful and exotic Penelope Cruz as one of Jack Sparrow's former flames, and the delightfully villainous Ian McShane as the ultimate pirate Blackbeard. No Keira Knightley, No Orlando Bloom, No Problem! On both Blu-ray Disc and DVD.

Deleted Scenes:
I found 'Deleted Scenes' with Introduction by Director D.J. Caruso to be a mixed bag, but admit to finding the director himself to be engaging.

    'Extended Strangers In Paradise' I'm not sure I agree 100% with D.J. Caruso's reasons for cutting this scene.
    'Sam's Mom' Too bad Karen Allen's only scene was cut. Timothy Olyphant's character showed a surprisingly softer, gentler side.
    'Worth Mentioning' BIG WHOOP! (sarcastic tone)
    'Power Prank' Awesome comeuppance for the bullies from the football team.
    'Trying To Connect' No loss.
    'Extended Warsaw Basement' Lame
On Blu-ray Disc exclusively.

'Becoming Number 6' with Teresa Palmer (Number 6), D.J. Caruso (Director), Dianna Agron (Sarah), and Alex Pettyfer (John/Number 4) was an enjoyable bonus featurette since we got to see Teresa Palmer the actress talking about the character she played and how she prepared for it. On both Blu-ray Disc and DVD.

When Adam the Beagle was the most natural actor in the brief 'Bloopers' segment, it makes me wonder what happened to the really funny bloopers one normally sees as a bonus featurette. Mercifully this segment was brief. On both Blu-ray Disc and DVD.

Aside from my minor quibbles about the Mogadorian hit squad and their having to kill the nine Lorien children in a specific order, I Am Number Four was an entertaining popcorn movie.

Like many people, I love lots of bonus features and their minimal presence was quite disappointing. On the first viewing of both the Blu-ray Disc and the DVD, I kept on looking for more bonus material. If any additional bonus material was on either disc as Easter Eggs instead of normal bonus material, it was a grave disservice to the public.

As much as I liked the movie (and I did), the only reasons I can see to purchase I Am Number Four (Three-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy) is for the vastly superior audio and video of the Blu-ray Disc when compared to the DVD, and also the Digital Copy for PC and Mac.

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