"In the beginning we were a group of nine. Three are gone, dead. There are six of us left.They are hunting us, and they won't stop until they've killed us all. I am Number Four. I know that I am next."
Part of the Lorien Legacies.Number Four is an alien from the planet Lorien, which was destroyed by another evil race, the Mogadorians, whose sole purpose is planetary extinction. Number Four wasn't the sole survivor, as there were eight others, along with their guardians, who escaped the planet's destruction. These nine remnants are destined to use their inner powers to defeat these evil intergalactic terrors, but they must survive long enough to master them. The aliens seek out the survivors, one by one, in order of their number. Numbers one through three have been killed.Number Four is next.I Am Number Four is a Young Adult sci-fi novel written by Pittacus Lore, the Pen Name of James Frey (of A Million Little Piecesinfamy) and Jobie Hughes. Published in 2010, it had the film rights picked up by DreamWorks over a year before it was even released. The Film of the Book was released in February 2011, starring Alex Pettyfer, Dianna Agron, Teresa Palmer and Timothy Olyphant. Both the book and the film proved to be decent hits; the book spent six weeks on the children's chapter of the New York Times Bestseller List, while the film has already made back its $50 million budget.While the film series has been shelved due to relatively-poor performance at the box office, the novel series has continued, and is planned to extend as far as six books.The book series has gained Frey (further) infamy and controversy even before it hit shelves: Frey's publishing house, Full Fathom Five, commissioned I Am Number Four specifically to write "the next Twilight" or "Harry Potter" with the idea of being adapted into a film franchisefrom the onset and has been accused of being akin to a fiction sweatshop and producing works of derivative nature. New York Magazinepublished an article giving more insight into Frey's thought processes behind the series and Full Fathom Five.
Disappeared Dad: Sam's, and John's to an extent - but he claims Henri as his father.
The Dog Is an Alien: John/Number Four's dog Bernie Kosar shapeshifts into a more monstrous, distinctly more extraterrestrial creature (that still resembles a dog) known as a Chimera to pull a Big Damn Heroes, engaging another alien monster in combat and eventually killing it.
Dye or Die: Number Four has to dye his brown hair blonde when he moves to Paradise, Ohio.
Easily Forgiven: Mark, despite being an utter Jerkass throughout the entire story, paint bombing Sam and John's lockers, sending his men to attack John and kidnap Sarah, gets off with an insincere apology at the end.
Jerk Ass: Mark, the Football Jock and Sarah's ex, is completely without any redeeming qualities, is little more then a violent thug who attacks other people constantly, and ends up getting easily forgiven at the end.
Kink Meme: There's a new one here, for both the movie and the book, as far as they overlap.
Pet Monstrosity: The Mogadorians' pets. Also, Bernie Kosar. He manages to take down one giant flying monster, and only gets a hurt paw out of it. Number Six takes out the second one with some help from Four.
Elemental Powers: The Loric horoscope at the end of some editions of Book 1 (essentially the Western horoscope with exotic names) alludes to this. Like, those born under fire signs are most likely to have Lumen as a legacy.
The cover of the book also carries an elemental motif relating to characters with large roles in the novel: Fire, shown by a Flamingorange-red sun for Four and his Lumen (which comes with heat/fire resistance.)
Everything Is Online: Actually played fairly realistically; one of the things that keep Number Four from staying in one place is that whenever something big happens to him that exposes the fact that he's an alien is because people record his powers and upload them to YouTube.
Kayfabe: The very first page of the book is a "disclaimer" stating the events depicted in the book are real. Also the author bio states the "Pittacus Lore" is the ruling elder of Lorien currently in hiding.
My Nayme Is: Henri. Justified because the Loric accent (which he hasn't really lost) is said to resemble French, so he just has a French name to go with it. (This causes some consternation for Sam's mom, who hears his accent and unsuccessfully tries to converse with him in French, in which she is fluent.)
Sequel Hook: The book reveals that the Chests contain various rocks, jewels, and other implements that allow the Garde to develop their powers. Four only takes the Lumen out and has no idea what the globes actually do. Not to mention it finishes with the fight.
Tropes specific to the film:
Adaptational Badass: Number Six trades in invisibility from the book for teleportation in the movie.
Bloodless Carnage: Instead of gore, the alien characters that die turn to dust and explode in a shower of ash. Averted by the Gory Discretion Shot of the janitor, where you see the automatic mop sweeping his blood off the floor.
This shouldn't have surprised anyone; when we last see the dog during the climax, it's wounded, but it doesn't turn to dust like all other aliens that die in the movie. Therefore, it's obvious even before it pops up again in the last scene that it survived.
Distracted by the Sexy: Sam upon seeing Six. In fact, the distraction works to break him out of a panic attack.
Implied to be one of the things that keep Number Four from staying in one place is that whenever something big happens to him that exposes the fact that he's an alien is people record him: in the film, a clip got sent to a conspiracy site.
Henri also found a lot of information about Sam's dad.
Sarah has a photo blog, and dedicates effectively a tag to pictures of John. They immediately get taken down by Henri, and even she doesn't seem to notice the lack.
Flash Step: Number Six, particularly in the movie where she can teleport.
For the Evulz: The Mog leader scares the crap out of a little boy in an adjacent car for no other reason than this.
Gory Discretion Shot: The deaths of the "They Walk Among Us" guys and the janitor all happen off-screen as well as the death of Number Three's guardian, who's yanked through the door of their hut by one of the lizard glider creatures.
It's Personal: Number Four points to the red-eyed Mogadorian and tells Number Six: "He killed Henri, I want him."
Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: Realistically averted: a shotgun is more likely to knock the Made of Iron bad guys on their ass, and flinging large heavy items at them will probably slow them down, but it takes turning their own overpowered BFGs on them to actually take them out.
The Mogadorians don't destroy planets just because it is said that they ruined their own planet and need resources to survive.
Sarah's ex has some elements of this as well. He's launched into a second floor window hard enough to crack the glass with his face, then falls back to the ground, and yet he's completely uninjured at the conclusion of the movie.
Oh Crap: Number Six gets two of these: one when an energy grenade gets thrown at her, and the second is when she realizes Four is about to give the leader Mog a Pineapple Surprise (in slow motion, no less). Sam also has one when he sees the lizard creatures jumping out of the truck, followed immediately by another one when Bernie Kosar shape-shifts.
Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Sam (portrayed by British-Australian actor Callan McAuliffe) is a repeat offender of this trope, but most notably in the garage scene. British actor Alex Pettyfer slips up as well, but much less frequently.
In the DVD bonus feature about Number 6, Australian Teresa Palmer claims that one of the things she liked about the role was being able to use her own dialect.
At least with the latter, it can be assumed that he either has a somewhat odd combination accent due to extensive travel or that he's faking an accent to fit in better with the Americans.
The same for Palmer's Number Six.
Out of the Inferno: Number Six after blowing up Number Four's old house. Justified in that Number Six can shield herself from fire.
Pineapple Surprise: Number Four kills the Mogadorian leader by using his powers to set off all of the leader's bullets while they're still strapped to his chest.
Sequel Hook: The movie end with Number Four and Six searching for Numbers 5-7-8-9 and Sam's dad. We also never saw what's in that box.
You Are Number Six: Played with. It's averted in that the numbers are not actually used for names, but as target designations. However, it's deliberately invoked in Number Six's case, who identifies herself as "Number Six" (except one snarky comment to Sam that her name is "Jane Doe") and refers to John only by his number.