troperville

tools

toys


main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
Literature: I Am Number Four
John Smith is Number Four.

"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 Pieces infamy) 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 franchise from the onset and has been accused of being akin to a fiction sweatshop and producing works of derivative nature. New York Magazine published an article giving more insight into Frey's thought processes behind the series and Full Fathom Five.

Tropes in I Am Number Four:

Tropes specific to the novelnote :

  • Alternate Landmark History: The first example of this pops up about the Ancients.
  • Big Bad: Setrakus Ra (not named in the film).
  • Chekhov's Skill: Four being fire-retardant crops up twice: at Mark's party and the final fight.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: The good guys use blue bullets/power/sword. The bad guys use green lasers.
  • 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 Flaming orange-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.
  • Missing Mom: Number Four's parents are both dead.
  • 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.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Number Six.
  • 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.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Those Deflector Shields ain't just for lookin' cool.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: The good guys use blue bullets/power/sword. The bad guys use red bullets.
  • Deflector Shields: Number Six.
  • Disney Death: The supposed tragic death of the dog turned out to be this.
    • 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.
  • Everything Fades: All aliens (conveniently) leave no corpses. This is probably a substitute for Henri's funeral pyre from the novel.
  • Everything Is Online: Actually played fairly realistically
    • 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.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Kevin Durand had some fun playing the Mog leader.
  • Expy: Every Mogadorian (in the film) looks like a gill-nosed Lord Voldemort.
  • Faux Affably Evil / Laughably Evil: The leader of the Mogs delivers some of the funniest lines in the film.
  • 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.
  • Luckily My Shield Will Protect Me: Actually more of Deflector Shields, until Number Six uses it along with her own body in the climax to protect Number Four and herself.
  • Made of Iron:
    • The only things that seem to be able to kill a Mog is a Mogadorian blade or one of their weapons.
    • 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.
  • Missing Mom: Number Four's parents are both dead, but he mentions to Sarah's family that his parents are just separated. Also, Sam has lived with his dad and stepdad but no mom is ever mentioned.
  • Mundane Utility: Number Four's glowing hands. Aside from using them to recharge Six's powers, he uses them mainly as flashlights.
  • My Nayme Is: The film avoids this issue entirely. Whilst Henri's name is spelt with an 'i', it is pronounced like the English "Henry," and he has no unusual accent whatsoever. This may have been done to avoid What the Hell Is That Accent?, or to cut down on the info-dumpage in the prologue.
  • Oblivious Janitor Cut
  • 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.
  • Surprisingly Sudden Death: In the beginning of the film.
  • Unflinching Walk - Number Six after setting fire to Number Four's old house to such a degree she walks in the explosion.
  • Unwilling Suspension: Henri.
  • Villains Out Shopping: The Mogs keep their secret weapons sated with supermarket turkeys.
  • 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.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: The two conspiracy theorists, one of whom is forced to swallow what looked like a miniature version of a Sentinel Sphere from Phantasm.


Halo 4: Forward Unto DawnScience Fiction FilmsIndependence Day
I Don't Want To Kill YouYoung Adult LiteratureI Am the Cheese
I Am LegendScience Fiction LiteratureI, Q
HysteriaFilms of the 2010sThe Ides Of March
I Am A Genius Of Unspeakable Evil And I Want To Be Your Class PresidentLiterature of the 2010sI, Partridge: We Need to Talk About Alan

alternative title(s): I Am Number Four; I Am Number Four
random
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy
45741
40