Sony Pictures 112 Minutes PG-13
The 5th Wave should only create a ripple on your movie watching list. It will remind you of other films made from YA (Young Adult) books series, like Divergent, or even Red Dawn, with Aliens instead of teens going into the woods to fight North Koreans.
Director J. Blakeson (The Disappearance of Alice Creed) keeps Moretz running in his adaptation from the trilogy by Rick Yancy. (The Third book comes out this year). There are some interesting visuals, but there are also some really contrived coincidences.
Blakeson shows us the first four waves of destruction caused by these outsiders, from tsunamis to disease to weed out the population and destroy Earth. The use of CG for the setup was adequate to give you the overall picture.
Then the film zeroes in on one normal high schooler’s transformation from suburban teen to tough survivalist. Chloë Grace Moretz plays Cassie. The young actress has been in other action films and obviously worked hard to become a tough cookie in this one. Her favorite scene? She says the fight in the car was the most fun.
Cassie is your average teen who’s got a crush on the popular jock, Ben, played by Nick Robinson (Jurassic World, Kings of Summer). Cassie’s parents die (Is this a Disney movie?) and she becomes separated from her little brother, Sam, played by Zackary Arthur. Her crush, Ben, offers to help, but she’s already running to try to catch up with where she thinks Sam is. In the process of trying to find him, she gets shot, but is saved by another ripped hunk, Evan, played by British actor, Alex Roe. Yes, you will get to see him with his shirt off.
Cassie is wary of Evan. Is he out of this world gorgeous, or simply out of this world? They fight together to try to find her brother. Liev Schreiber as Colonel Vosch and Maria Bello as Sergeant Reznik, play the grownups protecting and arming the kids so they can launch the counter attack to the aliens. But are these kids sacrificial lambs? It gets even more obvious than that.
All of a sudden Ben shows up to save Cassie after Evan takes more than a passing interest. Who will she pick? There are fight scenes, and lots of car crashes and explosions. You’ll see some pretty stock action film sequences. We found the most entertaining scenes those where the kids are bantering with Ringer, played as a tough brawd by Maika Monroe. She’s one of the more interesting characters.
Is this worth your bucks? None of the elements, including the aliens in this film are remarkable. But like The Fault in Our Stars or the Twilight series, there is a built-in audience. Young adults who love the books and their characters will bring in numbers to justify sequels. Maybe those will be better. The talent is there, but this film could have made more sense and been more compelling. You may want to deny entry to these aliens at the box office.