The 5th Wave
Starring Chloë Grace Moretz, Nick Robinson, Alex Roe, Maria Bello, Liev Schreiber, Ron Livingston
What starts out as an interesting post-apocalyptic thriller quickly reveals itself to be a teenage science fiction romance. I guess the filmmakers missed the part where similar movies like “The Host” (2013) and “The Giver” (2014) were franchise non-starters despite their success in the teenage fantasy fiction section of your local bookstore. “The 5th Wave” finds its 18-year-old star Moretz (“If I Stay”, “Hugo”) in one of the worst films of her career. She may be young, but since age 11 she has done some impressive work in horror, thriller, drama and international flicks. The 5th Wave wants to be the next multi-billion dollar franchise like “Hunger Games” or “Divergent”, more so than it wants to be original and stand on its own two feet.
Cassie Sullivan (Moretz) recalls her last normal day, before “the others” appeared in the sky and traumatized the planet. First it was an electromagnetic pulse that stopped everything including the water supply. Then it was earthquakes and giant tsunamis, disease followed, and the fourth wave were silencers intent converting the remaining survivors. The 5th and final wave of destruction is unknown, but Cassie is determined to rescue her little brother before it happens. She encounters a man named Evan Walker (Roe) who seems to know too much and have skills beyond the regular survivor. Evidence indicates “the others” have inhabited the bodies of humans and Cassie is no longer sure who to trust.
The stupidity of the love triangle also points to a desperate attempt to copy every teen thriller ever made, including the successful ones.
“Z For Zachariah” is probably the best post-apocalyptic thriller in the past two years, so that’s the high mark. “The 5th Wave” starts out very similar but the exact moment Evan shows up the true motivations of this movie are revealed. Cassie spies on the young hunk bathing in a nearby river, and despite the end of the world, apparently there is still time for romance and thank goodness makeup and hairstyling products weren’t destroyed. Their clothes say destitute, but from the neck up they are ready for prom. “Love is not a trick, it’s real,” Evan blathers on after he reveals one of the films big secrets. Meanwhile the other edge of the love triangle, “Jurassic World” star Nick Robinson is basically the equivalent to Gale from The Hunger Games series.
The stupidity of the love triangle also points to a desperate attempt to copy every teen thriller ever made, including the successful ones. Because the action scenes fail to excite the viewer (you can see waves knocking over skyscrapers in every disaster film), that leaves more time to ponder why a family would leave their safe suburban home to go live in the woods, only for our heroine to be rescued by a guy who takes her to his home. Perhaps screenwriters didn’t intend mature minds to watch this unfolding garbage. Simple logistics, which make any plot worth investing your time, is assumed to go over 16-year-old ticket buyers heads apparently. Respected actors Schreiber (“Spotlight”) and Bello (“A History of Violence”) add very little importance to this moronic flick.
The characters fear what disaster the fifth wave will bring only to learn it’s stupidity.