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MICHELE NORRIS, host:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Michele Norris.

There's an air of desperation in certain quarters of Hollywood right now. The "Harry Potter" and "Twilight" series are rapidly running out of books to adapt. And so the search is on for the next blockbuster teen franchise. The latest candidate is called "I Am Number Four." It's based on the first book in an alien teenager series known as the "Lorien Legacies."

Bob Mondello says it may seem vaguely familiar.

BOB MONDELLO: The high school newbie with the odd scar is positively glowing, by which I mean not that he's healthy, but that he literally lights up when he gets excited. His hands turn into blue glow sticks, useful for power outages but kind of embarrassing in class.

(Soundbite of movie, "I Am Number Four")

MONDELLO: This guy, as you may be guessing, is not quite of this world, played by Alex Pettyfer, a handsome young actor, no noticeable charisma. He is hiding out from folks who are tracking and killing his kind while falling for a plucky local girl and getting in fights with her boyfriend. Sounds like "Twilight" really light. Well, yes, except in this one, the vampires have gills. Okay, technically, the bad guys aren't vampires, but they wear trench coats, have pointy teeth and only do their dirty work at night - the cover of darkness, presumably being as useful for special effects digitizers as it is for aliens.

Oddly, though, the otherworldly assassins are mostly very sloppy. They are intent on killing off Numbers One through Nine strictly in numerical order.

Numbers One, Two and Three are dead. Number Four is under attack. So guess who shows up next?

(Soundbite of movie, "I Am Number Four")

Mr. ALEX PETTYFER (Actor): (as John) Who are you?

Ms. TERESA PALMER (Actress): (as Number Six) Number Six.

MONDELLO: The screenwriters didn't get the message? Well, from all appearances, the filmmakers spent literally dozens of dollars on their script, somewhat more on special effects, though not so much that they got anything that looks very new, which means I would guess that "I Am Number Four" will get an opening weekend, and after that, its days at the multiplex will be numbered.

I'm Bob Mondello.

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