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I Am Number Four

Entry updated 31 May 2017. Tagged: Film.

Film (2011). DreamWorks SKG and Reliance Big Entertainment present a Bay Films production. Directed by D J Caruso. Written by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar and Marti Noxon, based on the novel by Pittacus Lore. Cast includes Dianna Agron, Callan McAuliffe, Timothy Olyphant, Teresa Palmer and Alex Pettyfer. 109 minutes. Colour.

Optioned with impetuous haste on the basis of an in-progress draft of the novel and rushed into accelerated production in alliance with Michael Bay, this was an opportunistic precipitate from the Hollywood gold rush in Young Adult fantasy-romance series in the wake of the phenomenally lucrative Twilight films. The novel, product of a ruthless assembly-line genre fiction house, tweaked the Twilight formula with a male lead and a distinctly threadbare sf rationale, but sold well and propelled the film version to a solid profit and the prospect of a continuing franchise. A handful of teenage Alien refugees have been living undercover on earth and developing assorted pubertal space powers (see Superpowers) while being hunted in strict numerical sequence by death squads from their home world, until Number Four (Pettyfer) pair-bonds in high school with an Earth girl (Agron) – the aliens being hardwired for lifelong monogamous true love – and chooses to make a stand, in which he is joined by foxy weapon-toting blonde Number Six (Palmer) and his own Shapeshifting space mutt. Drawing its writers from pre-Twilight teen fantasy Television – Gough and Millar worked on Smallville (2001-2011), Noxon on Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003) – I Am Number Four shuffles the furniture of Roswell (1999-2002) with much higher production values, a much less appealing cast, and a still more cursory interest in the vastness and stakes of its offscreen cosmic backstory. [NL]


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