The 5th Wave opens in theatres worldwide today and is sure to have a lot of people talking. Set in a dystopian world, ravaged by an alien invasion, the science-fiction film is destined to become the next Young Adult sensation. After seeing the film earlier today, it is now time to review The 5th Wave. It's going to be mainly spoiler free, but might reveal certain plot details that were already public knowledge from the trailer.
Before I begin this review, you should know that I read the novel of The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey last year. The novel was very well received and thus, expectations for the film are high. Because I enjoyed the dark tone of the novel so much, I was going into this film with the hope that they would somehow manage to fit all of the amazing book into the film and that it wouldn't end up another rehash of the "oh-so-tired" Young Adult genre. Thankfully, my expectations were not just met, they were exceeded! The 5th Wave is a dark story rife with loss, destruction, emotion and a shocking twist that will leave viewers stunned. It manages to tell an intense narrative about an alien invasion in a fresh new way, focusing on perhaps the worst ways that humanity could lose the fight for their planet. After "the Others" invade earth, causing four devastating waves to destroy the planet's population, the survivors await the impending 5th wave that will ultimately wipe out the remaining population. What we end up getting are two narratives that explore in detail how two different characters struggle to survive in this impossible dystopia. Both Chloe Grace Moretz and Nick Robinson excel as co-leads, giving us characters that are both determined but troubled, questioning their own humanity.
The beginning of the film maintains the dark tone from the novel, which was pleasant to see. The opening scene between Cassie (Moretz) and the "crucifix soldier" is an intense beginning that sets the tone for the remainder of the film...reminding us that although this dystopian narrative could be labelled a young adult film, the events that take place are portrayed in a deadly serious manner. Chloe Grace Moretz delivers a strong powerful performance as Cassie Sullivan, the girl who thinks that she is the last human on the earth as she reflects on how she has changed: reflecting on her High School crush Ben Parish (Nick Robinson) while trying to understand the mysterious Evan Walker (Alex Roe). You can see her development from normal teen at high school into a badass big sister as she tries to rescue her little brother from "The Others". Moretz has consistently been praised for her amazing acting and it's clear that she has brought that talent with her to The 5th Wave as she once again becomes a force to be reckoned with on the big screen. Cassie's journey to rescue Sammy is one of the anchors of the film.
On the other end of the sprectrum, the scenes in Wright-Patterson reinforce the dark tone of the film. The colourless army facility shapes and molds young people into soldiers. Ben, or now more appropriately named Zombie (played brilliantly by Robinson) is tasked with helping the army eliminate threats. The scenes explore how he has changed from the world before. I have to praise Nick Robinson for once again delivering a driven performance. We know that Ben is carrying a burden on his shoulders, although we may not find out everything about him in the film, you can rest assured that there will be more to come if we get a sequel. Maika Monroe is positively electric as the stone cold but loyal Ringer. She becomes another strong woman, never fearing to lash out in order to stand up for herself as well as providing occassional but welcome moments of humour. Monroe and Robinson have great chemistry as their respective characters try to convince each other of their dominance and their wills to survive within Squad 53. My only criticism is that we didn't get to see Squad 53 bond as much as they did in the novel - because of the many scenes, we did see some montages instead. But that is to be expected when a novel is adapted. Although the film could have been a little longer, it fits the heart and soul of Yancey's novel into it's respectable 112 minutes.
There is an applaudible twist in the film that really turns the events on it's head and brings us hurtling towards the final act of the film. That of course comes in the midst of another heart-pounding high energy moment. The ending is when the action and intensity once again picks up as the events reach a fierce conclusion. Again, I have to praise the cast for excelling and forcing the audience to the edge of their seats while we await the imminent conclusion. The visual effects team here should be praised as well. A perfect ending to cap off a fun, thrill-ride of a film.
So to put it in short: the film has a lot going for it. The visual effects are stunning, especially in the first act when the waves are put into motion. The cast are believable in their roles: Moretz, Robinson, Monroe, Roe and Zachary Arthur all deliver emotional and stellar performances. Liev Schreiber delivers an effortless performance as Colonel Vosch, fitting perfectly into the role as the commanding colonel. Maria Bello is perfect as Reznik and should be commended for conveying the very essence of the Reznik character from the novel, despite drastic changes. Ron Livingstone and Maggie Siff also add a great deal to the film as Cassie's parents. Furthermore, the reliance on Moretz by the marketing campaign was a genius idea as she has a rather large fanbase. Both Robinson and Roe are sure to entice the Team Ben or Team Evan "shippers". And the science-fiction element will attract large numbers of viewers. Hopefully the film will be successful and the sequel will be commissioned because there's still so much left to explore. And it deserves the opportunity to do so!
The 5th Wave is an entertaining dystopian blockbuster with a dark but appealing story. It does not try to be anything it's not. Which is why I find it ridiculous that certain reviews are comparing it to other YA adaptations in a negative light. A genre does not define a film. Thus, to rate a movie lower because it's "not as good as other YA adaptations" is ridiculous. Films are made for enjoyment and if you are a fan of entertaining films, science-fiction, dystopias, alien invasions, the book, Chloe Moretz, Nick Robinson etc. you should definitely check this movie out!!
After seeing The 5th Wave, I was not only impressed but pleasantly surprised by just how good it was. It did both the novel and Rick Yancey justice. A highly entertaining thriller of a film that will appeal to many audiences . I HIGHLY recommend it!
The 5th Wave is in Theatres NOW! Go check it out!