Sooo here's the thing: I recently became obsessed with the "I am Number Four" books. They are, in my view, excellent and well worth reading, just in case you're curious, which you probably aren't. Anyway, I got the movie from my local library quite a while ago and just now got around to watching it. If you haven't read the books, STOP READING THIS NOW. If you have not watched the movie and would like to experience it for yourself, STOP READING THIS NOW. If neither of the above is true, please continue reading,
Before I truly begin, I should say that I like to think about movies that are based off of books in two ways: One, its relevance as an adaptation of said book, and two, its appeal to me as a movie in and of itself. In the second respect, the movie would rank pretty high for me. It was decently made, with good quality actors and actresses (though the casting quality was very poor), and good CGI for the Pikens and the Chimaera. In the first respect, however, I felt that the film was somewhat (Or, okay, a great deal) lacking.
I wrote down a lot (three pages) of the things that I remembered that had been left out of or added to the movie I am Number Four. I will go over the list in what I see as the order of importance. I'm not going to use numbering because that would just take way too long.
IF YOU NOTICE ANY FLAWS IN MY CRITIQUE PLEASE TELL ME SO I CAN CORRECT THEM ASAP.
The most important thing I noticed was the timing of Henri's death. I don't have the book here in front of me as I write this, but I do distinctly recall Henri's death occurring very close to the end of the book, with him helping the teenagers fight the Mogadorians and definitely his being there when Six reveals herself. In the movie version, he dies on the trip home from the "They Walk Among Us" (which was, by the way, a website, NOT a newsletter/magazine/whatever) studio thingy. Also, I noticed that when the Loric die, they dissolve into ash, much like the Mogadorians, in the movie version. This is not supposed to happen! John has to cremate Henri after they stay in a hotel for a while while he recuperates, which also did not happen!
Basically the entire ending seemed kind of screwy. The battle with the Mogs only lasted like twenty minutes, while it at least seems like it lasts much longer in the book. Remember that thing when John was battling the Mog where they were transported to that place where the trees died and John used his legacies? Didn't happen. Also: They made it so that six is the one resistant to fire. WHAT????
John already knew about Legacies in the book, right? He knew about his super-speed and super-strength, right? I mean, I know he was shocked when his Lumen started working, but he evidently had no idea what the Garde were, or legacies, or any of it. Another issue I noticed regarding the legacies was that both John and Six seemed to possess a legacy that is very similar to that of flight, if it isn't actually flight. At least, they seem to be able to jump superhumanly far, which I do not recall being in the books.
As my fellow blogger, BookTalk, puts it,
"Sarah just wasn't what I pictured. I'm not sure how to describe how she looked, but something was off for me in her character. Also, she was supposed to be more popular in general. As for her personality, she should have been less mysterious and more outgoing, friendly, and open about her feelings." That is exactly how I feel about her character. I also feel like her relationship with Four was really underplayed.
Actually, let me revise that last sentence: I feel like everybody's relationship with (number) Four is really underplayed. Specifically Henri, Sarah, and Sam. But even Mark James was more involved with John than he was in the book. Henri's lack of relationship with John made it a lot less tragic when Henri died. They took out the majority of their relationship and basically portrayed Henri as a kind of mean, mainly oppressive, overprotective guardian, as opposed to the great man that John Smith saw him as. For one thing. all of the training sessions where Henri and John open the chest and examine its contents were eliminated, as well as when John was being trained to use and develop his legacies, including his RESISTANCE TO FIRE WHICH THEY GAVE TO SIX. I am sorry, but that REALLY REALLY BUGGED ME.
On the note of Six, I feel like she was way too cool/sexy for her character. In the books she is definitely slightly cool and mildly sexy, but in the movie, it gets really overplayed. I also missed the moonlight walk with Six where they almost kissed and the house exploded because that adds a lot of tension to the relationship that John has with Six and Sarah later on.
Sam and John were supposed to bond a lot sooner than they did, because John was less popular and Sarah was more popular. Also. it really irritated me how not obsessed with aliens Sam was. I mean, that was the reason that they found "They Walk Among Us," in the book.
Sarah and John as an item were incredibly underplayed. It's not like the details of their relationship was incredibly important to the plot or anything, but they were significant (and positive) things in John's life. For example, home economics was completely cut out of the storyline, which made me kind of sad. It's where they did most of their flirting, and it really gave S&J some background so it wasn't just like "oh hey there's this cute girl I like... oh, hey, she stalks me,., Oh, hey, we're making out. In front of her parents." It made their relationship mean more and feel less rushed and insignificant.
Aand now for the list of incredibly minor details that are still niggling at the back or my brain.
Sarah's mom was the real estate agent for John and Henri, and they actually bought the house.
Sarah didn't get in trouble for her pictures; her and John met in Home Ec.
The dinner at Sarah's parents was all wrong; it wasn't supposed to occur until Thanksgiving, which is when Henri tracked down "They Walk Among Us."
John could not control his Lumen for a really long time, after a lot of training.
The Loric chests were completely underdone. John never even opened his to discover the planets, the healing stone (which is what was used to heal BK and himself), or any of it.
Bernie Kosar did have tags, that's how he got his name.
Sarah's scrapbook = what????
Six was SO not supposed to be in the movie as early as she was.
TWAU (They Walk Among Us) mentioned Mogadorians, it did not have a video of John.
When John first reveals the fact that he is an alien to Sam, Sam takes it as a joke. Then, later, he pulls a gun on John.
The Mogadorians never found the Loric or Sam in that one house. John carried them and jumped across the gap between roofs.
The Locator rock thing was not supposed to ever happen until like book 3. It wasn't even a rock; it was a tablet.
The police do not raid John's house
John was invited to the party with Sarah
The house caught on fire and J rescued S and some dogs from the fire.
The stuff in J and Sam's lockers was manure, not paint.
Sam didn't have a stepdad in the book
The fair didn't happen... it was a carnival with a hayride
Sam was supposed to ride the hayride with them
Sam's mom and Henri were supposed to meet.
Henri was supposed to have a French-ish accent
Sam and John were really good friends by the hayride
John and Sarah did not get their uber-special makeout moment together during which John told her that he was Loric
John's house was supposed to be a trashy mobile home. Not a fancy 2-story house.
And I'm sorry but I just have to rant again
THEY DIDN'T GIVE JOHN HIS CONTROL OF FIRE OR HIS FIREPROOF ABILITIES THEY GAVE THEM TO FREAKING SIX.
So yeah. If you read this far, you are truly amazing. If you didn't, oh, well, moron. ;)