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(2011), PG-13 [Strong R-13*] (1hr 41min)

Final Score
Analysis Date
Date Posted
Influence Density
May 30, 2011
May 31, 2011

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(While the Scriptural references are certainly not subjective, my commentary may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary.

(2011), PG-13 [Strong R-13*] ... a group of nine alien children from the planet Lorien

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): DreamWorks SKG, Reliance Big Entertainment, Bay Films Distribution (US): DreamWorks II Distribution Director(s): D. J. Caruso Producer(s): Michael Bay, Chris Bender, Emily Berger, Matthew Cohan, James M. Freitag, J.C. Spink, David Valdes
Written by: Alfred Gough, Miles Millar
Screenplay: Marti Noxon, Jobie Hughes
Novel: Pittacus Lore, James Frey
Cinematography/Camera: Guillermo Navarro
Music: Trevor Rabin
Film Editing: Vince Filippone
Casting: Deborah Aquila, Mary Tricia Wood
Production Design: Tom Southwell
Art Direction: Douglas Cumming, John B. Josselyn, Paul D. Kelly
Viewed on touchstone/DreamWorks Home Entertainment DVD

I Am Number Four is a standard sci-fi shoot-em-up, monster show with a typical aliens-among-us-to-destroy-us theme. It is, however well done and engaging. It is very violent and contains a R-helping of profanity but is well woven into a easy-to-follow fabric of story and subplots. Each character is built adequately to serve the various subplot well. The character building uses convenience situations very well to define roles.

The story begins with Number Three and his Protector being awakened by noise. (Number Three? I'll explain that later, hopefully without spoiling the story too much.) Seeing nothing, the Protector dismisses the noise and proceeds to return to bed. But as he turns to walk back to his bed an alien beast yanks him through the wall. Number Three bolts out of the hut to escape with his life. Soon, an alien captures him and kills him, too. So, the story starts with two murders. But it gets better in spite of the murderous beginning.

The story moves to a beach where Daniel (Alex Pettyfer) displays his testosterone on a jet ski and joins the local crowd for drinks on the beach. Soon, one of the local girls entices Daniel into the water for ... whatever. As the pair tread water and discuss astronomy, a bright and glowing scar is burned into Daniel's right calf. As the scar burns itself into Daniel's right calf, he is invaded by a vision of Number three being killed and is given a warning by the demonic being that killed Number three. All this while underwater. By the event and its intensity, one might conclude Daniel is not from Earth.

Bewildered and dazed Daniel wanders off and collapses on a distant part of the Beach. Here, as Daniel regains consciousness he is met by Henri (Timothy Olyphant) who is often thought of as Daniel's father. But instead, Henri is a warrior from their home planet of Lorien to protect Daniel. Daniel is one of six remaining survivors of the destruction of Lorien by the Mogadorians.

Together the pair return to their beach bungalow to gather their things as they must now leave ... again ... since someone saw Daniel becoming scarred, scarred with his third scar. As they drive to their next destination in Paradise (Ohio), the story is told. And Daniel becomes John. John Smith.

The story tells of a group of nine alien children from the planet Lorien escaping the Mogadorians by planting themselves on Earth. The Mogadorians are users. They invade and conquer to consume the resources of a conquered planet then move on to invade and conquer more as the resources dry up.

The nine Lorien children were gifted with special powers to protect their people when the children grew up. Number One child was killed by the Mogadorians when Daniel was nine. That was when Daniel received the first of his three scars. Number Two child was killed and Daniel received his second scar when he was 12. Number Three was killed just last night -- at the time Number Four received his third scar. Now, with Numbers One, Two and Three dead, Daniel is next. The Mogadorians are methodical in their killing of the remaining nine Loriens.

There is much more to the story but I do not want to spoil it any further.

This film stands a solid chance of becoming a series or at least have a few sequels ... maybe for no other reason than the Loriens, once they fall in love it is, unlike humans, forever. And there are still six more Lorien survivors: Numbers Four through Nine.

If all the profanity, the drinking/smoking and the abuses of God's name were left out, this film would have been "upper crust" PG-13 equivalent with a final score of 64 instead of the 42 it earned with all those assaults on morality and decency. If there are going to be sequels or a series of these films, I challenge the filmmakers to see if they can make as good a story but without all the profanity, abuses of God's name and drinking. Not one use of profanity, not one drink taken and not one use of God's name in vain helped the script or added one iota of cinematic power to the story. Not one. They never do. You are challenged, Mr. Caruso.

Wanton Violence/Crime - Zero out of 100
The violence content of the film is rather extreme. Indeed, the violence content is clearly equivalent to the violence content of many R-rated features, particularly in strong action violence sequences, for example, battle with the aliens and their minion monster beasts. There is a lot of weaponfire to kill and stabbings and resulting deaths. There are other examples of violence but I ask that you look to the listing in the Findings/Scoring section for a full accounting of the violence content.

One of the properties of viewing violence is that it is "catching." Whether the violence is "alien" or Earthly, it is "contagious" and plants aggression in the viewer. And it fosters the get-even syndrome as well. [Rom. 12:19] I did not come up with that reality. God did first in Prov 16:29. But about 2000 years later man decided to chime in on God's wisdom by reporting that "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence."

Impudence/Hate (I) - Zero out of 100
There is enough profanity in this 101-minute film to be equivalent to many R-rated features. Seventeen times a teen speaks some form of profanity. Three times an adult speaks profanity. There are a few additional freckles of impudence and/or hatred in this film but the most severe content applicable to this investigation area is profanity. The additional examples can be viewed in the listing found in the Findings/Scoring section. [Col. 3:8, Eph. 4:29]

Sexual Immorality (S) - 90 out of 100
The only sexually oriented content in the film are exposure to below navel skin (male) which threatens to expose that which follows and two open-mouth kissing sessions. Such kissing may be commonplace with teens today but maybe entertainment such as this may be why. And, yes, there is a difference, a very large difference between a closed-mouth kiss and an open-mouth kiss, especially when it is your daughter with a boy's tongue licking her tonsils. By any name, it is lust and it conjures desire for more that cannot be satisfied without "more." Eventually. Open-mouth kissing is another step closer to "more." [James 1:21, Mark 7:21]

Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 77 out of 100
Teen drinking. It is expected of them so why not? At least that is what Hollywood apparently wants the viewer to think of "teen." Whether intentional, that is what happens when filmmakers put drinking in entertainment. The American College of Physicians (ACP) found that viewing drinking in and as entertainment indeed emboldens teens to do likewise.

The 2002 study by the ACP revealed that adolescent exposure to drinking in and as entertainment undeniably leads to abuse of alcohol among underage viewers. The finding entitled Relation Between Parental Restrictions on Movies and Adolescent Use of Tobacco and Alcohol reports that of 4544 youths from grades 5 through 8 of fifteen Vermont and New Hampshire middle schools (90% of the youths were under fourteen years old) only 16% were completely restricted in their entertainment diets. Within the ACP study population, the prevalence of having tried alcohol without parental knowledge was

  • 46% for those with no viewing restrictions
  • 16% for those with partial viewing restrictions
  • four percent for those with complete viewing restrictions. [Eph. 5:18]

    And the influence created by the entertainment industry cannot be limited to drinking/smoking. Any chosen behavior can be influenced by viewing it in and as entertainment, good or bad. Whether the entertainment industry will admit it or whether they are held legally liable for their influence on our youth, they are morally culpable. Period. [Rom. 5:19]

    Offense to God (O) - 14 out of 100
    Five times someone uttered God's name in vain. And He does not like that. [Deut. 5:11]

    Murder/Suicide (M) - 70 out of 100
    A number of cinematic deaths occurred throughout the film but most of them were due to warfare or were defensive killing deaths and were incorporated into the Wanton Violence/Crime investigation area. But at least three of the deaths at the hands of the aliens were murder.


    If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ] or bold. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.


  • Rom. 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
  • Prov. 16:29 A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good. [The issue is the violence, the 'way that is not good' no matter how "small" or "justified" the violence might seem, and its "leading" effect on the observer. "A violent man" can be any character of any age, any gender, human or not in the act of committing (demonstrating in the case of entertainment) violent behavior/action whether for good or evil OR the violent behaviors/actions themselves. Such exposure can and does embolden the viewer into aggression, especially youth. It took years for American professional health community to finally affirm, probably without knowing it, that which God told us in 1 Cor. 15:33 below. See also Joint Statement on the Impact of Entertainment Violence on Children: Congressional Public Health Summit for more information. Further, God speaks darkly of violence 56 times in the Old and New Testament of the KJV.]
  • Col. 3:8 But now ye also put off [rid yourself of] all these; anger, wrath, malice [kakia: ill-will, desire to injure, wickedness, depravity, evil, trouble, not ashamed to break laws, etc.], blasphemy [blasphemia: impious and reproachful speech injurious to divine majesty], filthy communication [aischrologia:foul speaking, low and obscene speech] out of your mouth.
  • Eph. 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
  • Matt. 5:22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment [krisis: accusation, trial]: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca [senseless, empty headed: a term of reproach among Jews at the time of Christ], shall be in danger of the council [any session or assembly or people deliberating or adjudicating]: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool [moros: impious, godless], shall be in danger of hell fire.
  • James 1:21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
  • Mark 7:21 For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, ...
  • Eph. 5:18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. [Since "drunk" is methusko {meth-oos'-ko}: to intoxicate; make drunk; to get drunk; become intoxicated, "wine" can be any intoxicating substance including illegal drugs or abuse of prescription drugs. The issue is do not abuse the body by intoxicating it [1 Cor. 6:19]. Though it is not a sin to drink, it is a sin to get drunk OR to influence to get drunk OR to drink in defiance such as underage drinking.]
  • 1 Cor. 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own.
  • Rom. 5:19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
  • Deut. 5:11 You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name. [Vain is shav {shawv}: emptiness, nothingness, vanity, such as an expletive. With or without the four letter expletive, the use of God's name in any way other than respect, reverence or responsible discussion is in vain. That includes the popular three syllable sentence with His name trailing it AND the misuse of Jesus' name or title. So, trying to excuse such expressions with "I was talking TO God/Jesus when I said that" or "It's just words" or "I was acting" will not work with Him. Nor will "Everybody says that" excuse the sin of using His name in vain. If everyone on the planet who has ever drawn breath used His name in vain, it would still be a sin to do so. If no one ever did, it would still be a sin to do so.]

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Jer. 37:9 This is what the LORD says: Do not deceive yourselves, thinking, 'The Babylonians [the destroyers from within] will surely leave us.' They will not!
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences and present it to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it. I call attention to Ps. 12:8 to warn of the creeping desensitizing power of "entertainment."]
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil [kakov: of a bad nature, not such as it ought to be] communications corrupt good manners.
  • Rom. 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men* crept in unawares [secretly slipped in among us], who were before of old ordained to this condemnation [whose condemnation was written about long ago], ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [a license for immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
  • Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. [Offend: skandalizo {skan-dal-id'-zo} - scandalize; to entice to sin; to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey; to cause to fall away.]
  • Ps. 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me [let no sin rule over me].
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. ["Evil" includes all things that are sinful.]


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The objective heart of the CAP Analysis Model, independent of and insulated from the Summary / Commentary section.)

    I Am Number Four (2011) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - Zero out of 100
  • assault weapons, repeatedly
  • pursuit to kill
  • showboating on jet ski
  • scar burned onto leg
  • arson
  • scenes of horror and human mutilation in carnival display
  • teen abduction, repeatedly
  • beating
  • defensive assault
  • wanton destruction of public property
  • firearm to the face of an adolescent with threat to kill
  • long sequence of battle with aliens with injuries and weaponfire and stabbings to kill
  • deaths from battle, repeatedly
  • physical assault
  • action violence of varying intensities, some brutally intense
  • pair of huge demonic beasts
  • beast attacks, repeatedly
  • battle between beasts

    Impudence/Hate (I) - Zero out of 100
  • 17 uses of profanity by teens, three by an adult
  • squatting on private property
  • vandalism
  • tormenting a child
  • lie
  • defiance of lawful police action

    Sexual Immorality (S) - 90 out of 100
  • exposure to below navel skin threatening to expose that which follows
  • open mouth kissing, twice

    Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 77 out of 100
  • drinking, multiple
  • smoking
  • teen drinking party

    Offense to God (O) - 14 out of 100
  • alien manifestation underwater speaking
  • shape-shifting, repeatedly
  • unholy shields against wave of flames
  • "Wait up, fool!" [Matt. 5:22]
  • five uses of God's name in vain
  • unexplained glowing from hands, repeatedly
  • unexplained and inhuman powers, repeatedly
  • symbol much like the Udjat ("All-seeing Eye")

    Murder/Suicide (M) - 70 out of 100
  • blade murder of adult by alien
  • blade murder of adolescent by alien
  • murder by alien with a small orb of spinning saw blades shoved down his throat plus another unseen murder

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    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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    * CAP Equivalence to MPAA Rating Scale:
    Please note our new manner of indicating a film's Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rating in comparison with the CAP equivalence such as "PG-13 [R-13]." The first term is the Motion Picture Association of America's (MPAA) rating. The second term [in brackets] indicates that which the film earned under the CAP analysis model. In the example, "PG-13 [R-13]" indicates the MPAA rated the film PG-13 but the film earned a CAP final score in the scoring range earned by R-rated movies in the comparative baseline database. Other comparative terms used might be "PG [13-PG]", "G [PG-G] or even 'PG-13 [PG]" as was the case for Alien vs Predator. I doubt there will ever be a "G [R]" used, but only time will tell. The CAP analysis model is Rock-solid. The MPAA is not.

    The current CAP to MPAA** nomenclature is:

    For G rated Films with
    G equivalence: G
    PG equivalence: PG-G
    PG-13 equivalence: 13-G
    R equivalence: R-G<
    For PG rated Films with
    G equivalence: G-PG
    PG equivalence: PG
    PG-13 equivalence: 13-PG
    R equivalence: R-PG
    For PG-13 rated Films with
    G equivalence: G-13
    PG equivalence: PG(13)
    PG-13 equivalence: PG-13
    R equivalence: R-13
    For R rated Films with
    G equivalence: G-R
    PG equivalence: PG-R
    PG-13 equivalence: 13-R
    R equivalence: R
    For NR rated Films with
    G equivalence: G-NR
    PG equivalence: PG-NR
    PG-13 equivalence: 13-NR
    R equivalence: R-NR
    ** G, PG, PG-13 and R are registered trademarks of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).

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