What started as just another ordinary day for Cassie Sullivan (Chloe Grace Moretz) would soon turn to terror when the world is devastated by the destructive waves of an alien invasion. The first wave takes out all forms of technology; the second is massive tsunamis that wipe out the coastlines; the third is pestilence.
With the fourth and fifth waves soon to be executed, the surviving humans band together to fight back against the alien beings they call the “Others”.
Okay, funny thing happened when I was supposed to see The 5th Wave Thursday night. The coming attractions just finished as did the little Celebration Cinema jingle that plays before the film. Then nothing happened. Technical difficulties delayed my viewing of this film until later on in the weekend.
And about halfway through this Valium pill, I thought back to that Thursday night mishap and then remembered that scene with the Archbishop in Ghostbusters.
“Personally, Lenny, I think this is a sign from God… but don’t quote me on that.”
The 5th Wave is the 500th Young Adult “end of the world” novel to get the big screen treatment, and that’s just in the past two years alone. Normally, with such an over-saturation of these teeny-bopper dystopias holding cinemas hostage, a film as lazy as this 2-hour long check list of every YA trope in the book would get lost in the shuffle and easily forgotten by the time its end credits started rolling. If only I was so lucky. No, this film isn’t so easy to forget mainly ’cause it’s so cheap looking and so by-the-numbers in its checking off of all the genre’s cliches it borders on parody.
What’s unfortunate here is that if writers Susannah Grant, Jeff Pinkner and Batman & Robin scribe Akiva Goldsman actually took time to flesh-out the premise, they might’ve been able to put together a decent little alien invasion flick. Of course, I haven’t read the novel, so who knows; maybe it’s a case of adapting crap into crap? Still, that’s no excuse for the lack of effort from the three as they rush through the first three waves in the first act, one of which is a CGI tsunami that’s laughable at best. Why? So they can get to the love triangle, that’s why.
Yes, a love triangle, one that elicited quite a few laughs during the obligatory scene every triangle must have where Cassie stumbles upon the hunky Evan Walker bathing in the lake, and then – Oops! He caught me! Better run away awkwardly!
Unintentionally funny, yes, but it didn’t score as big an unintentional laugh as seeing Cassie’s pipsqueak kid brother firing off a gun with his military mates.
What is this, the Middle East?
There’s so much focus put on that boring love triangle between Cassie, Evan and some high school boy she fantasized about that the film never has time to answer any of its questions? Who are these aliens? Why are they here? What’s the point of destroying the world in five waves? Why not just get it over with at once? How did a typical high schooler like Cassie become so tactical with a high-powered rifle so quickly? How does her hair manage to stay so fabulous looking throughout all the apocalyptic doom and gloom that surrounds her?
To her credit, Moretz is giving it her all here. My guess is the paycheck must’ve been that good. God knows they didn’t throw any money at the production design or special effects. In fact, the performances are fine, more than fine even. It’s amazing how any of them were able to keep a straight face through this highly laughable affair. Even the talented Maika Monroe (The Guest, It Follows), though she does provide this lackluster film with some much needed energy, can’t help but come off as a version of Francis “Psycho” Soyer from Stripes.
“If any of you touch my stuff… I’ll kill ya.”
Lighten up, Francis.
Liev Schreiber, fresh off second-rate material like Spotlight and looking for something with a little more dramatic weight, lends some gravitas to Col. Vosch, the obligatory authority figure. Schreiber has a steely presence that is able to liven up even his worst films (he was one of the very few redeemable aspects of X-Men: Origins – Wolverine), but like his equally talented co-star Maria Bello, there’s only so much he can do with such a one-note character.
The 5th Wave features some better than deserved performances from its better than deserved cast, but ultimately comes off as a cheap, lazy retread of every Young Adult post-apocalyptic adaptation that has come before it. Of course, seeing that all things YA come in threes, assuming this $40 million film makes money, we’ll be getting sequels and the shamelessly open-ended final scene tells us everyone involved is hoping to make good on that threat. Until then, here’s hoping there’s a sixth wave that can come along and blackout the memory of this film from my mind.
I give The 5th Wave a D (★).
Review source: http://silverscreenfanatic.com/2016/01/22/the-5th-wave/