Oh dear. My feelings for the movie were pretty much the same as for the book: meh.
I went in anticipating that I Am Number Four would be more exciting as a film than a book, and it was. I liked it a lot more. But I still didn't love it. And I still didn't hate it. I still didn't really feel anything for it. It wasn't bad enough to enjoy in a snarky way, and it wasn't good enough to enjoy at face value. It was just OK. And that was kinda disappointing.
Surprisingly, it was pretty different to the book. The main gist was the same, of course, but there were a gazillion little changes that I wasn't expecting (potential spoilers ahead)....
Changes that worked
- We see Six a lot earlier in the movie - and I wanted even more screen time from her. As much as I love Dianna Agron, her character was totally bland, while Six totally kicked butt. In fact, there was way more chemistry between Six and John than Sarah and John and I found myself wanting them to be together instead.
- Sam's father was investigating alien activity before he disappeared, and Henri brought John to Paradise because he wanted to find out what he'd been up to (John doesn't know this, of course). Henri is a lot more forceful with getting John to agree to leave, too. It just made a lot more sense.
- The Mogadorians (or Mogs, as they get called for most of the movie, heh) pursue John and co. immediately after running into them at the They Walk Among Us peeps' house. Again, it just made a lot more sense - I found the space between this incident and the final battle months later a bit ridiculous in the book.
- Speaking of They Walk Among Us, it was a website, not a magazine. Way more realistic in this day and age. Sense!
- Mark was heaps nicer to John when he first meets him, and only bullies him after John himself is a bit of an arse to him. Granted, he has his reasons, but Mark being kinda nice to start with worked better with his niceness at the end - as opposed to the book where he does a complete 180.
- John and Six's powers were different. While it probably wasn't totally necessary, it did allow for the awesome shot of Six protecting John from the fire (when in the book, he could do this himself), and avoided the weirdness of thunderstorm demons.
- Bernie Kosar immediately transforms when the battle starts (it's actually a pretty funny moment). In the book, it felt like the fight had been going on forever before he finally showed up to save the day.
- It seemed like less Mogs showed up to fight in the final battle, so it was easier to understand why the kids were able to beat them. The battle itself didn't drag out nearly as much and was a lot more action-packed (as a battle should be).
- Sam had a jerk of a step-father he was desperate to escape from, so when he left with Six and John in the end he wasn't just ditching his poor mother like he does in the book.
- Henri's death earlier in the film allowed for a more triumphant mood at the end.
- John appears pretty popular at his last school and is more standoffish when he gets to Paradise. It diminishes the reasoning behind his attachment to the town and to Sarah and Sam, and why he's so desperate to stay.
- Sarah isn't as overtly nice in the beginning. I didn't really warm to her at all. Like I said, as beautiful as Dianna Agron is, her character was pretty bland.
- They never really explain that there's a charm that means the aliens can't be killed except in sequential order. Which is kind of a big deal.
- Henri was nowhere near as important a character as he is in the book. While the way he died in the movie worked, it also wasn't quite as sad as in the book and didn't seem to effect John as much.
- Compressing the timeline improved the pace, but it also made the trip to school to develop photos (in between Sarah's rescue and the final battle) really, really dumb. Why, oh why, when you're on the run from evil aliens trying to assassinate you, would you make a pit stop to develop photos?! Seriously.
As I mentioned in my review of the book, I already had Alex Pettyfer, Dianna Agron and Teresa Palmer in my head when I read it. Dianna matched the description of her character perfectly, and although Teresa didn't, I thought she was great anyway. John never really describes himself in the book and Alex, of course, is super pretty, but he just doesn't do it for me. Maybe it's because I remember watching him as a little kid in Tom Brown's Schooldays not so long ago, and it makes me feel super-old:
I was surprised at how young and pretty Henri was (played by Timothy Olyphant), but other than his scarily white teeth, I couldn't really complain:
Sam (Callan McAuliffe) looked a lot different than how I pictured him (obviously), but that didn't bother me (Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!):
And look at this pretty one: