I Am Number Four: Will It Be As Good As Its Trailer?

If you’re in and out of theaters as much as I am, trailers are not one-off promotions made by studios to entice movie fans to return to to see the next blockbuster action film or romantic comedy; they become as familiar to you as the commercials you see dozens of times on television.

What this facilitates is a more critical view of any particular trailer that an occasional patron does not have the time to do. You may say that fans, after seeing a trailer they enjoy, can just go online and watch it as many times as they like, so seeing it in a theater numerous times matters little. And you might be correct. However, most movie-goers don’t behave like that. With 50-inch hi-def plasma televisions, Blu-ray discs, and 7.1 surround sound, many people don’t frequent the theater at all, let alone watch trailers online.

But we are beginning to miss the point of this article. It’s not that I consider myself better than the average man for preferring the majority of my film watching to be at a public establishment on a huge screen rather than in the comfort of my living room, it’s that this decision gives me occasion to be continually bombarded by numerous movie trailers, numerous times, and without having to continually remind myself to look up the trailer online when I get home.

Because of this bombardment, I can separate the good trailers from the not-so-good. Just as when watching television commercials, repeated exposure to the same movie trailers will either make them stupid annoyances or clever pieces of visual art. They become either irritating delays to the feature film or entertaining precursors.

One such trailer that has stood up to repeated viewing without losing its entertainment value is the one for I Am Number Four. Yes, there have been better trailers than this one, but of the recent batch this one stands out more than any other.

Now as anyone with at least a few brain cells knows, a great trailer does not a great movie make. More frequently than not what you see in the trailer is the best of what the film has to offer and it falls on its face for lack of depth (two minutes, the typical length of a trailer, cannot be the collected total of the good stuff in a film lasting 90 minutes or longer if it is to be applauded).

Which returns us to I Am Number Four. Will it live up to its trailer? Given that it’s Disney (through its Touchstone subsidiary) distributing the film, and the last good (good, not great) sci-fi action film Touchstone has distributed was in 2009 (Surrogates), I am not very confident.

The fact is, Touchstone’s last interesting distribution year was 2006 when it released: The Prestige, Deja Vu, and Apocalypto. Add to the fact that Alex Pettyfer was supposed to have the magic touch of a Shia LaBeouf (when you compare Tormented and Beastly to Transformers and Eagle Eye, you understand the disappointment) and you are getting the idea that I Am Number Four will be a bomb.

And that isn’t even mentioning the fact that Pettyfer’s guardian in the film is Timothy Olyphant, the guy who embarrassed himself as Agent 47 in Hitman (although that might have been more script related than lack of acting talent).

Now saying all that, I do like D.J. Caruso as a director. Films such as Disturbia and the aforementioned Eagle Eye (coincidentally both starring LeBeouf) although not classics in the making, were definitely fun to watch. It may also be mentioned that Steven Spielberg is the executive producer (whether that carries any weight anymore, I’ll let you decide).

But seeing that the best work writers Alfred Gough and Miles Millar have produced is Spider-Man II and Shanghai Knights, we’re thinking the screenplay will be nothing more than competent.

With all the average talent associated with this film, it will be a small miracle if I Am Number Four is a major success. But even so, wasn’t is fucking cool to see Teresa Palmer (as Number Six) sliding on her knees striking with a samurai sword near the end of the trailer? I might just go see this film for her performance alone. I do love the sexy tough chick.



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