THE 5TH WAVE (USA/12A/112mins)
Directed by J Blakeson. Starring Chloë Grace Moretz, Ron Livingston, Maggie Siff, Nick Robinson, Tony Revolori, Liev Schrieber, Maria Bello, Alex Roe, Maika Monroe.
THE PLOT: In the wake of an alien attack on Earth, Cassie (Chloe Grace Moretz) is left to care for her younger brother after their parents are killed. When the two are separated, Cassie is determined find her brother again but since there have been four waves of the attack on the planet, the people are bracing themselves for a fifth; one that could be the most deadly of all.
THE VERDICT: ‘The 5th Wave’ feels like the millionth young adult film, based on a novel and set in a dystopian world, to come out in the last five years. Based on a novel by Rick Yancey, the film is one of the few that is about the end of the world but not brought about by humans, but it is also a film that suffers from being predictable, obvious and way too familiar.
It is obvious that now Chloe Grace Moretz has hit the age of 18, she is trying to diversify her career, and there are worse things she could have done than ‘The 5th Wave’. The actress gets to run the gamut of human emotions, have a bit of a romance and kick some ass along the way. It’s just a shame that the story of the film is so utterly predictable the entire way through. The rest of the cast features Ron Livingston, Maggie Siff, Zackary Arthur, Maria Bello, Tony Revolori, Alex Roe, Maika Monroe and Liev Schrieber who all do relatively well with what they are given; the trouble is that they are not given very much.
The screenplay for ‘The 5th Wave’, written by Susannah Grant, Akiva Goldsman and Jeff Pinkner seems to have pared down an informative and engaging novel into its component parts, and stripped away any of the film’s mystery or twists and turns. Once the four preceding waves have been explained, and the audience knows what kind of danger humanity is in, it is incredibly obvious which way the film is going, and it does nothing to even try to throw us off track.
Director J Blakeson does well enough in the military scenes, but struggles more in the heartfelt scenes between Moretz and Roe. As well as this, fracturing the film’s narrative may have seemed like a good idea at the time, but this leaves the film messy as it jumps between a small story and a much bigger one.
In all, ‘The 5th Wave’ is enjoyable enough but utterly predictable in the end and it seems that many of the questions the novel raises are simply ignored here for the sake of shoehorning in a romance and a couple of set pieces.
Review by Brogen Hayes

The 5th Wave
2.0Predictable but fine
  • filmbuff2011

    The latest young adult adaptation is The 5th Wave, adapted by Susannah Grant and Akiva Goldsman from Rick Yancey’s book. It’s the first in a proposed trilogy, but whether there will be further films depends on box office results. When it plays in a multiplex’s smallest screen, then it’s a sign of low exhibitor and distributor confidence. It’s a halfway decent film though.

    Cassie (Chloe Grace Moretz) is a normal American teenager living in extraordinary times. Aliens known as ‘The Others’ have invaded Earth and attempt a takeover and then extermination of humanity via a succession of waves – an EMP, tsunamis, rampant virus and then the ability to walk among humans mostly undetected by impersonating them. Separated from her father Oliver (Ron Livingston) and younger brother Sam (Zackary Arthur), Cassie wanders the ruined countryside fighting for survival. This is where she meets Evan (Alex Roe), who looks after her when she’s shot – but she doesn’t trust him. She puts more faith in the military, where Colonel Vosch (Liev Schreiber) and Sergeant Reznik (Maria Bello) are training up children and teenagers to fight back against the aliens. Maybe they can seize back Earth from their new masters…

    The 5th Wave isn’t so much an alien invasion film like Independence Day. Though, there is a tense opening few minutes where we get some Roland Emmerich-style destruction. Instead, it plays out more like Invasion Of The Body Snatchers and The Host (2013) crossed with Starship Troopers and Battle Royale. The feeling of familiarity is predictable given the obvious influences. However, it sets out its own stall early on and is all the better for it. There’s some fun to be had watching the military train up the children for war – there is a specific reason for that, but that would be going into spoiler territory. The welcome entrance of Maika Monroe as a surly recruit halfway through gives the film a shot of energy in the arm. It’s just a shame that there isn’t enough of her. Though, we’ll be seeing her fighting aliens again later this year with Independence Day: Resurgence. Now 18, Moretz continues to be a strong but realistic screen presence. Thankfully, she hasn’t let success go to her head and has made some smart career choices so far.

    This is director J. Blakeson’s first film since the superb The Disappearance of Alice Creed in 2009. The time away from camera shows, given that the film never really convinces as to just what The Others are or why exactly they need our planet (is it a resources thing, like in Independence Day?). Maybe that’s being kept back for another film (if there is one). Still, the combination of the ever watchable Moretz and a good if not quite great scenario make for a reasonably entertaining sci-fi action romp. ***