By Nico Beland
Movie Review: D (2 stars)
We’ve seen a lot of young adult dystopian fantasy films based on books haven’t we? Dating back to Harry Potter and more recently with Twilight, The Hunger Games, Divergent, and The Maze Runner, and heeeeere’s another one.
The 5th Wave, based on the novel by Rick Yancey is the latest Hollywood attempt to cash in on the young adult sci-fi genre, some of them are good like The Hunger Games and some of them are bad (I don’t think I have to say what my bad choice is!). I haven’t read the book coming and I came into the film with very little knowledge of the source material, so I don’t know how accurate it follows the book, so I’ll be judging it like a movie like every other film I see and review here.
And it’s pretty lousy and confusing as a film, not to say it’s the worst in the genre, nor is it as bad as The Twilight Saga, but it doesn’t have much going for it when it comes to standing out from other young adult novel adaptations, the story has several plot holes as well as plot elements that don’t really go anywhere, and it ultimately just becomes another same old clichéd sci-fi movie for the tweens.
It’s a real shame because the film is produced by the unbelievably talented producer and actor, Tobey Maguire (Spider-Man trilogy, Seabiscuit, Brothers), directed by J. Blakeson (The Descent: Part II, The Disappearance of Alice Creed), and stars Chloe Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass, Hugo, Carrie) as the main character. Not to mention from what some reviews I read about the book, it’s apparently a pretty good book, so what happened here? It seems like the writers of the film were more focused on making their characters look good and hot for those teenage girls in the audience over telling a decent story.
Four waves of sudden deadly alien attacks have left most of planet Earth destroyed. Against a backdrop of fear and distrust, teenager, Cassie Sullivan (Moretz) is on the run to save her younger brother, Sam (Newcomer, Zachary Arthur) before the fifth wave hits.
She teams up with a young man named Evan (Alex Roe-The Cut, The Calling, Sniper: Legacy) who may become her final hope to save the world as well as her brother from the Others (yeah, does every young adult sci-fi movie need to have an odd name for supernatural or inhuman creatures?), but can she really trust him?
That’s basically the film’s plot in a nutshell, overall it’s a pretty weak young adult sci-fi film, however to its credit, Chloe Grace Moretz and Alex Roe do the best they can to work with the script, but they’re not enough to save the movie. Plot elements that don’t go anywhere, the aliens literally come out of nowhere, we don’t know what they look like, what their plan is, why any of the film’s events are happening, it’s almost like the film is fueled by sequel filler, original and interesting ideas take a backseat for the traditional young adult clichés we’ve all seen a million times by now, dating back to Harry Potter and Twilight.
I gave Moretz and Roe credit for their performances but the characters are developed rather poorly and they didn’t give me much of a reason to care for them. I want Blakeson to watch a few movies, I want him to watch Hunger Games, I want him to watch Harry Potter, and I want him to watch the Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings and I want him to think “Why do I care for these characters, what are they not doing that I did with this movie?” at least they’re more interesting than the lifeless Twilight characters.
Hopefully the plot will make more sense with some sequels, I’m willing to give it another shot if a sequel is make, because as is it’s confusing and uninteresting, despite a lot of talented people working on it, the film just could not be saved. If you’re a fan of the original book, maybe you’ll like something about the movie, I wouldn’t know because I have not read it myself, but maybe it’s for people who read the book, however if you’re thinking about coming into this movie with little knowledge about it, this probably isn’t your flick.
Sorry Maguire and Moretz, better luck next time.