This is a strange film. I went to see this the other day and part of me see’s that it could’ve been a really good film, part of me sees that it could’ve been a really bad film, but sadly it seems to land somewhere in the middle slap-bang in “missable” territory.
The film centres around a teenage alien whose home planet has been destroyed by a race called the Mogodorians – however nine children escaped with their guardians to Earth where they are living in hiding. Unfortunately the Mogodorians have followed the children to earth and are in the process of hunting them down, in order (for no apparent reason), so at the start to the film we see Number Three being killed, bringing us onto Number 4 being forced to hide out in a new town. It’s at this point that it descends into a film that we’ve all seen before – good look mysterious young man moves into a new town, Local girl is a bit of a loner but builds a connection with this guy, girls ex doesn’t like the new relationship that’s forming, boy turns out to have a past that comes back and haunts him, etc ,etc, etc. I think that’s one of the biggest flaws of this film – it’s just not really got anywhere new to go – I was sitting there with a tick list in my head of scenes waiting for them to happen and marking off the majority of them when they did.
I don’t wish to be overly down on the film – it’s well acted Timothy Olyphant does a fantastic job as the mentor/guardian getting a good balance of being wise but also reacting to the situations that the characters end up in. Kevin Durand seemed to be having a great time playing the leader of the Mogodorians but the trouble was that all the Mogodorians looked a bit stupid at the end of the day and playing their leader for laughs really didn’t help give them a sense of threat/danger. Dianna Agron was very good as the photographer love interest (though one of my little niggles was that the camera manufacturer whose equipment she was using seemed to switch between different makes – which happens very rarely just due to people have a dislike of where the buttons are on different manufacturers models compared to what they’re used too). Teresa Palmer wasn’t really given much to do – though at times seemed to have a strange air of vulnerability (fight big alien monster, look vulnerable – rather odd), she also really needs to learn how to give a one-liner as the few she had really didn’t work.
For me, by far and away the biggest problem with the film though is that it felt like it was missing chunks. The story appeared to progress a couple of steps with nothing explaining what happened, one characters complete motivation changed overnight and these changes just seemed strange and sudden – I don’t know if this affects the book it’s based on, or just the film but it just added to the feeling that it was all a bit disjointed.
So at the end of the day this seems to be a film that had the potential to be a lot more than it was. On the flip side it could’ve been worse. Hopefully it’ll pull together and lead to some better sequels that really carry the concept forward.