It's very silly, but also thoroughly entertaining because it gives us exactly what we want.
When the evil Mogadorians invade the planet Lorien, nine super-powered infants are sent to earth, charged with both preserving their race and protecting humanity. The Mog commander (Durand) has already done away numbers one to three, and has caught the scent of Number Four (Pettyfer), who's hiding with his guardian Henri (Olyphant) in Ohio. Going by the name John, he just wants to be a normal teen with a sexy, interesting girlfriend (Agron) and a nerdy, loyal friend (McAuliffe). But he's also being followed by a hot super-babe (Palmer).
Plus a shape-shifting puppy.
Cleverly, the premise captures that Harry Potter-style sense of a teen rebelling against his big destiny, because of course having extra-special powers is such a burden when you just want to fit in. In other words, the film will hugely appeal to the wishful child in all of us, and Pettyfer plays the role exactly right. He's even able to add some believably dark shadings to the character. Although you might think that this lean, muscled Abercrombie model's real super-ability is to create a professionally layered dye-job in his sink at home.
The cast around him is just as engaging, with Olyphant developing a nice uncle-style camaraderie and Agron providing a smart romantic lead who actually generates some PG-style steam. McAuliffe brings some spiky intelligence to his increasingly interesting role, and Abel is suitably nasty as the school bully.
Although he's nothing compared with Durand's scene-chomping baddie. Meanwhile, Palmer gleefully rampages across the screen, providing a lust object for post-pubescents.
Caruso keeps the film moving briskly, adding some genuinely suspenseful sequences in between the mindless explosions and big action stuntwork. And there's also a refreshing light touch here and there, with some smartly offhanded gags and enjoyably corny plotting. Clearly, it's set up to be a franchise, as there are still all those other kids out there who need rescuing from the nasty Mogs. Bring it on.
Run time: 109 mins
In Theaters: Friday 18th February 2011
Box Office USA: $55.1M
Box Office Worldwide: $144.5M
Distributed by: DreamWorks Studios
Production compaines: DreamWorks SKG, Reliance BIG Entertainment, Bay Films
Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 33%
Fresh: 52 Rotten: 106
IMDB: 6.1 / 10
Director: D.J. Caruso
Producer: Michael Bay
Starring: Alex Pettyfer as John, Timothy Olyphant as Henri, Teresa Palmer as Number 6, Dianna Agron as Sarah, Garrett M. Brown as Mr. Simms, Callan McAuliffe as Sam, Kevin Durand as Mogadorian Commander, Jake Abel as Mark, Patrick Sebes as Kevin, Emily Wickersham as Nicole, Jeff Hochendoner as Sherriff James, Greg Townley as Number 3, Reuben Langdon as Number 3's Guardian, Molly McGinnis as Receptionist, Brian Howe as Frank, Andy Owen as Bret, Sophia Caruso as Girl on Street, Charles Carroll as Sam's Stepdad, L. Derek Leonidoff as Mr. Berhman, Garrett M. Brown as Principal Simms, Sabrina de Matteo as Physics Teacher, Cooper Thornton as Sarah's Dad, Judith Hoag as Sarah's Mom, Jack Walz as Sarah's Brother, Bill Laing as Demented Farmer, Beau Mirchoff as Drew, Cody Johns as Kern, Isabella Robbins as Teen At Party, Damien Walters as MOG Warrior, Jon Braver as MOG Warrior, Kevin Cassidy as MOG Warrior, Matt Leonard as MOG Warrior, Carrick O'Quinn as MOG Warrior, Tim Sitarz as MOG Warrior, Steve Upton as MOG Warrior, Tucker Albrizzi as Tuck (uncredited), Karen Allen as Sam's Mom (scenes deleted) (uncredited), Amelia Compton as Girl in Car (uncredited), Megan Follows as Supermarket Cashier (uncredited), Brittany Forringer as Cheerleader / Party Guest (uncredited), Ally Hydeman as High School Student (uncredited), William Kania as Carnival Patron (uncredited), Kira Marie as Friend (uncredited), Andre' Mason as Sheriff Deputy (uncredited), Doug Michaels as Student / Party Boy (uncredited), Jackson Nunn as Neighbor (uncredited), Brenna Roth as News Reporter (uncredited), Zoe Simek as Girl in Classroom (uncredited), Michelle Vezzani as Carnival Patron (uncredited), Morgan Wolk as Teen #1 (uncredited)
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