Brit-it-boy Alex Pettyfer is Number Four, an Earth-bound alien who fled his home planet of Lorien along with nine other ET children. They are the last of their kind, but are hunted by the Mogadorians, a gang of marauding aliens who, after destroying Lorien, now have their sights set on Earth. Just as Four begins to develop his powers—think Superman—he falls for a human girl, Sarah Hart (“Glee’s” Dianna Agron), and finds himself battling the Mogadorians not only for the survival of his kind but the human race as well.
“I Am Number Four” is a fresh story that feels like an echo of other teen stories. From “Superman” it takes the idea of an exile from a dying planet sent to Earth to live in disguise among humans. Where Clark Kent could leap over buildings with a single bound and see through walls, Four has a kind of fluorescent stigmata, powerful beams of light that shoot from his palms.
From “Twilight” it borrows the high school romance angle, complete with rivalries, but this time it’s a girl with a Scar Jo vibe and a bullying quarterback instead of an angst ridden brunette and a lovelorn werewolf.
From the “X-Files” it takes the murky atmosphere and a couple of conspiracy nuts.
The only thing missing is a lightning bolt shaped scar on Four’s forehead to make the teen homage complete.
Having said all that, despite feeling like a pastiche, “I Am Number Four” is rather enjoyable.
Director DJ Caruso gives the story and characters time to grow and develop their prerequisite outsider credibility—a crucial element in teen entertainment these days—and blends in more wild action than, say, “Twilight.”
It still feels calculated but by the time we get to the chaotic conclusion—complete with flying fanged creatures that look like the offspring of Godzilla and Mothra—and the inevitable sequel set-up, “I Am Number Four” has established itself up as something, if not completely original, at least entertaining.