Release date: January 22, 2016
Studio: Columbia Pictures
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Starring: Chloe Grace Moretz, Nick Robinson, Ron Livingston, Maggie Siff, Alex Roe, Maria Bello, Maika Monroe, Liev Schreiber
Ever since the initial explosion of income from the first Hunger Games movie Hollywood has been looking for it’s successor. Divergent, Mortal Instruments, Maze Runner are all young adult books that have tried their hand at taking the throne away from Katniss Everdeen. Enter new challenger, The 5th Wave. It has all the elements of the standard bearer as it’s rife with children in life or death combat, a possible love triangle ( or maybe a love square ? …Is that a thing), a brave older sibling trying to save their younger sibling, and kids as the last hope for a better tomorrow. It has all these things and frankly it works against it.
Chloe Grace Moretz is a fine actress but this material is not up to her standards. This doesn’t give her a great deal to work with. With it’s questionable writing and dialog it screams turn your brain off. About five minutes in to the movie I called the sappy and predictable love triangle between Cassie (Moretz), Ben (Nick Robinson), and Evan (Alex Roe). The plot twists you can almost see from a mile a way (I didn’t read the book it’s based on). In addition to it’s predictability there are logic holes galore. Cassie goes from high school soccer player to killer and willing resistance fighter against The Others (what the aliens in the movie are called) in a short amount of time. She gets over her first ever kill with sociopath like quickness. Liev Schreiber is wasted as bland Colonel Vosch.
There few things I did like about this film. The weight the combat seemed to carry was good. The military takes the children and trains them to fight The Others dressing them up in full combat uniforms. This visual lends a surreal quality to a fire fight we witness in the middle of the film as we see young children take bullets and die. That’s something most young adult book adaptations shy away from. It’s not full on Apocalypse Now type bloodletting, but it added something to me. The manner in which the The Others released the four waves of destruction in the form of an EMP killing all electronic convenience and communication, Earthquakes, a modified version of Avian Flu, and The Others taking over humans and controlling them (in order from 1st – 4th). The Fifth I won’t reveal as it’s a spoiler. I think that was an intelligent way to carry out the systematic eradication of the Human race.
The 5th Wave isn’t a worthy successor in the sea of Hunger Games followers but still not a completely bad time at the cinema. It’s teen cinema at it’s most pedestrian. With it’s unimpressive performances from the cast and predictable plot end this potential trilogy for me before it gets started.