The world has been struck by alien invasion. And the aliens are winning, their first wave destroyed the earth’s technology, the second was bird flu, the third was a big wave I think and the fourth was something worse than the other three probably. But Liev Schreiber reckons that the aliens or others as they are called are about to set into motion their endgame – the fifth wave.
The 5th wave is yet another YA dystopian book adaptation movie which is such a crazily specific sub-genre honestly I’m quite impressed there are this many. The 5th wave differentiates itself from the others by becoming more overtly sci-fi in that it actually has aliens and acknowledges space as a thing. It’s also a much nearer future in that it looks like it’s set maybe five years from now rather than 50-100. However other than these surface differences it really is more of the same. Same kind of characters dealing with the same inner difficulties and including the same rubbish romantic subplots which are the worst parts of the movie.
It’s no Hunger Games. It doesn’t have the same kind of narrative cohesion or strength of ideas. The 5th wave is more of a competitor with the Maze Runner series in terms of quality. Both contain underused ideas, spend too long on the romance parts and have a bright young cast being completely squandered. However where the Maze Runner films try to hang onto Dylan Thomas whom no offence to the lad is uninspiring the 5th Wave has the wonderful Chloe Grace Moretz to lead the way. But she is completely wasted. At no point does she kick ass like we’ve seen her do so well in the past, instead she’s part of the least interesting romantic subplot I have ever encountered with captain beige Alex Roe. Actually the part of the film I found more interesting is the stuff with Nick Robinson and the fabulous Maika Monroe in the child training camps. But even those parts were frustrating to me because there are some genuinely interesting ideas here that are only ever hinted at leaving you sat thinking about how good this average film could have been.
At the end of the day it’s just not very good. The first act seemed to last forever but when it did cease the film picks up. Once the twists start happening I did actually start to engage, unfortunately this was about an hour and a half into this hour and fifty minute film. I feel like I liked it more than I should because I really love the cast. Maika Monroe is great, Liev Schreiber is great, and Chloe Grace Moretz is wasted. Overall it doesn’t hang together as well as any other YA dystopian book adaptation that I’ve seen, but it isn’t completely terrible and some great performances save the whole film from sinking into some intensely bland abyss.