The 5th Wave Review

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By Justin Jasso (@jjasso007)

Aliens…it seems like every day we’re seeing some pictures from the Mars rover displaying alien hands, temples, technology, you name it. Or you can look at the star KIC 8462852, which may be showing some alien mega structure. They. Are. Out. There. Ok, maybe I sounded like some X-Files line for the moment, but there’s a lot of space for there to only be us on Earth. So what will happen once we finally do make contact with aliens, should they actually exist and decide to visit Earth and pay rent in Los Angeles? Writer/director J Blakeson takes on this story from a book by the same title, The 5th Wave.

Cassie Sullivan (Chloe Grace Moretz) is the typical teenager who drinks beers at parties and has a crush on the high school football star, Ben Parish (Nick Robinson). But everything changes one day when a massive alien ship appears floating over their city. Dubbing these aliens “The Others,” no one knows what to make of this ship, until the aliens finally make their intentions known. The first wave of attack is an electromagnetic pulse that knocks out all power across the globe. The second wave is devastating tsunamis and earthquakes. The third wave: a deadly virus. The fourth wave is aliens disguised as humans who hunt down the remaining humans around the world. And the fifth wave, well, that’s about to begin. After losing her younger brother Sam (Zackary Arthur) and her father Oliver (Ron Livingston), Cassie, with the help of a man named Evan Walker (Alex Roe), must uncover what the Others’ fifth wave is and do what they can to fight back in an attempt to save humanity. But will their efforts be enough as humanity hovers on the brink of extinction?

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The 5th Wave plays out like a coming-of-age film mixed with a military drama and a little alien thrown in on the side. The problem is that, with so many genres, it becomes difficult to give each genre credence, thus leaving us with a feeling that so much more could have been done, yet this is what we’re left with: a mildly entertaining film that lacks in all areas of storytelling. Following Cassie throughout the film, in this now semi-post-apocalyptic world, gives us a sense of what we see when watching The Walking Dead, which, like The 5th Wave, also happens to be filmed in Georgia. But that’s more or less where those similarities end. And, unlike The Walking Dead, where there tends to be unlimited amounts of tension built up, The 5th Wave doesn’t deliver that until later in the film where a twist is revealed. Then things FINALLY start to get interesting. One of the other downsides of a film based on a young adult novel is always the budding love of two young people. At times, it can work. This is not one of those times, with the relationship feeling stale and forced. Fail.

I’m a fan of Chloe Grace Moretz. I absolutely love her as Hit Girl in the Kick Ass films and am totally looking forward to her version of Ariel in the live action The Little Mermaid film. Unfortunately, Moretz isn’t as convincing as she needs to be for the role of Cassie. Again, that could be from the script being spread thin with the various elements, or maybe it’s really just not a role for her. There’s also the fact that she ends up sharing the screen with Maika Monroe (It Follows), who plays a badass named Ringer who absolutely steals every scene she’s in. Liev Schreiber’s character comes off more or less two dimensional without a whole lot of depth or variance to his character. Then there’s Nick Robinson and Evan Walker, who are more or less Cassie’s old and new boyfriend for the film. Of course there has to be more teen love angst that never really materializes.

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The 5th Wave is a good idea on paper but it doesn’t live up to its source material. Trying to capitalize on the YA book craze like the successes that were The Hunger Games, Twilight, The Maze Runner, and the less successful Insurgent series, The 5th Wave is hoping to score that younger audience to drive their profits. And maybe it will succeed for that demographic. But whereas all ages were more than thrilled to go watch The Hunger Games, that success probably won’t be as forthcoming for The 5th Wave. Though this film made it to theaters, and has its moments of entertainment and fun, it’s one of those we probably would have been ok if it was wiped out in the second or third wave.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars


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