Stars: Chloë Grace Moretz, Alex Roe, Gabriela Lopez, Bailey Anne Borders, Nick Robinson, Ron Livingston, Maggie Siff, Zack Arthur, David Maldonado | Written by Susannah Grant, Akiva Goldsman, Jeff Pinkner | Directed by J Blakeson
I enjoyed The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey, the Y/A sci-fi novel that this film is based on. I thought it was interesting, entertaining and fun. I was intrigued to see if the film would be able to deliver those same things. I didn’t see the film right away, and I began to notice the negative reviews coming out about it. People giving it some super-low ratings and calling it “terrible” and “worthless” and other similar words. I wanted to check it out for myself.
Directed by J Blakeson (The Disappearance of Alice Creed, The Descent Part 2), the story of The 5th Wave takes part in a world that has been invaded by aliens. Deadly attacks have occurred in four waves, increasing in their harshness each time, as the human race is wiped out by these invaders. We meet Cassie (Chloe Moretz) who is on the run after witnessing her parents killed and her brother taken by the US Military to a base. Cassie finds herself shot in the leg and nursed back to health by the mysterious Evan Walker (Alex Roe) while Cassie’s brother Sam (Zack Arthur) meets other kids at the military base, including Cassie’s high-school crush Ben Parish (Nick Robinson). Cassie wants to go to the base to rescue her brother after discovering something deep and dark about the militia who are “helping” people. It’s a rescue mission story in the midst of a conspiracy-based alien invasion action flick.
I was immediately aware of how quickly things happened. Things that should have taken a bit longer in order to create tension and character development were happening too fast. The performances were a little on the corny side too, and Moretz, who has been decent in the past in movies like Kick-Ass, was pretty wooden in many of the scenes here. It sounds, then, like I am down on this film like many others, but that isn’t entirely true. The film has its flaws, plenty of them, and the cast don’t seem to have much chemistry going on, but it had it’s positive moments too.
There were some effective sequences showing the invasion happening and floods taking down buildings – which was easily the strongest portion of the movie. The action was enjoyable, and if you are willing to just go along for the ride, you might enjoy this as an okay action flick. There is romance which feels cold and bland, there’s relationships that don’t have the warmth they should, and the big twists aren’t as effective as they should be, but the film isn’t the worst out of a big bag of movies-based-on-young-adult-books. Far from it.
I don’t know if I’d recommend it but I also wouldn’t urge anyone to avoid it. It was okay and I didn’t regret watching it, but the book was much more interesting and effective with the story it wanted to tell. Maybe go to Waterstones instead of HMV in this instance.
The 5th Wave is out now on DVD and Blu-ray