2016 Movie Countdown: The 5th Wave (#45)


I didn’t know it then, but that was the last normal day of my life.

The 5th Wave is a young adult sci-fi film based on the novel of the same name by Rick Yancey.

A city-sized space ship comes down to Earth in order to take over the planet. The aliens, referred to as “The Others”, decide to wipe out the human race in five phases or “Waves”. The First Wave took out all of the Earth’s technology. The Second Wave is a series of natural disasters. The Third Wave is a massive plague. By the time the Fourth Wave hits, the Others have disguised themselves as humans and are now walking among mankind. A young girl named Cassie becomes separated from her little brother right around the time her mother died of the plague and her father had been murdered amidst the Fourth Wave. Cassie sets out to be reunited with her brother while also trying to fight off the upcoming Fifth Wave.

Pros: Say what you want about the overall narrative, but the premise is still fairly interesting. The idea of aliens having Waves in which they slowly whittle down the human population added a more tactical approach to this genre. The waves aren’t just thrown clumsily together, either. They make logical sense and that logic is addressed throughout the film.

You can also tell that most of the actors are trying to make the best of their performances; most specifically Chloe Grace Mortez. Even if her character isn’t particularly interesting, you do still care for her, and there’s nothing especially annoying about her. She sells her emotional scenes and does a good job handling herself during action sequences. Other actors such as Nick Robinson, Alex Roe, and the other child actors give good to serviceable performances.

The CGI is pretty good overall as is the score and production value. The film definitely nails presentation and acting at the very least.

Cons: The 5th Wave’s biggest problem was with it’s pacing. The core story is actually not that bad, but it was executed in a horrendously tedious manner. The film drags like no one’s business, making what is actually two hours feel like around three. I don’t know if it’s just the way the film was edited or if they chose to adapt the wrong parts of the book, but whatever it was made me wish that the film would just end already.

It doesn’t help that the film is, for lack of a better term, “painfully YA”. There are no allusions that this film is trying to be the next big YA novel franchise, and because of that it uses every trope in the YA adaptation genre. There are times when you can predict beat for beat what’s coming next, because you’ve already seen these patterns in The Hunger Games, Maze Runner, Divergent, and most other YA films. However, where those series ultimately succeeded was in establishing enough of an identity to stand out among the rest. There is nothing significant or distinct about The 5th Wave. It’s as generic an alien action movie based on a novel as you can get.

Verdict: It may be my worst film of the year, but that doesn’t mean I think the film is total trash. The film is still worth looking at if you have a slow day and catch this playing on TV. Though once you watch it, it’s unlikely you’ll want to see it again.

For all posts in the 2016 Movie Countdown, click here!

I’m SBox180. Thanks for reading!

(Note: This post was prematurely posted yesterday. Sorry for the psych out).

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