Chloe Grace Moretz in The 5th Wave

MOVIE REVIEW: The 5th Wave (2016)

By Dixielord

Chloe Grace Moretz in the 5th Wave

Chloe Grace Moretz in The 5th Wave

I know if you are anything like me, you have always wondered, “What if Stephanie Meyers had given up on the Twilight franchise, and instead had written the screenplay for a crossover of Independence Day and They Live ?” Well now thanks to The 5th Wave you don’t have to wonder anymore. The 5th Wave is the new horror/scifi/adventure/teen romance/whatever movie starring Chloe Grace Moretz (Let Me In, Carrie). It also stars Liev Schreiber (Wolverine), Maggie Siff (Sons of Anarchy), Maika Monroe (It Follows), Ron Livingston (Office Space), Nick Robinson (Jurassic World)and Alex Roe (The Calling). So it's a decent enough film, it should be OK, right? Eh, not so much.

Liev Schreibner in The 5th Wave

Why am I in this movie? My agent is so fired if there isn't a sequel.

Now full disclaimer, this is a young adult movie, based on a young adult novel. It's nowhere near real horror or even real Science Fiction. Still, even giving it this handicap it's pretty bad. The 5th wave was directed by J Blakeson, in his second feature direction. The plot is basically aliens send a giant ship (Ala Independence Day) to circle the Earth and release “waves” to destroy us humans. The first wave, which is actually the most impressive is an EMP (Electro Magnetic Pulse), which sends the planet back to the dark ages, and kills a lot of people. The second wave is world wide tidal waves, the third wave is a modified bird flu, fourth wave is aliens disguised as humans, and the titular fifth wave is, well that's the big reveal, more on that later (SPOILERS!!!).

The heroine of the alien apocalypse is young Cassie Sullivan, played by Moretz. Cassie is an awkward 16 year old high school student, a role Moretz should have down by now. She lives with her parents and younger brother Sam, when the “others” attack. Her parents quickly fall victim to the evil aliens and her brother Sam is recruited by the military. There he is trained as part of a children s crusade to wipe out the aliens, alongside Cassie's high school sweetheart Ben (Robinson). Cassie sets out to rescue him, and along the way finds love and loses her virginity (assuming she had it to begin with) with ruggedly handsome and well dressed farmer Evan. But off course, all is not what it seems, not with the army, not with Evan, and definitely not with this film.


Chloe Grace Moretz in The 5th Wave

The 5th Wave

Ever since Chloe Grace Moretz came to my attention in Let Them In, I have predicted a bright future, and that she would turn into a wonderful actress. While she can claim success, it is time she really showed some potential as an actress. It's past time. She should probably be more selective in the roles she takes. It's sad that some of her more interesting roles like Let Me In, Kick Ass, and Hick came early in her career. I'm assuming she took this role for financial stability, hoping for a franchise along the lines of Twilight. I don’t see that happening.

Not that she is horrible in The 5th Wave. But it's the same awkward, mopey teen role that we have seen so many times before including Carrie, Kick Ass 2, and even to some extent in Let Me In. She does play that role well, but at what point does it cease to be acting and become repetitive motion.

The movie itself starts off with a bang, and the most emotionally charged “real” scene in the movie. It's brutal and what an end of the world film should be. It posits Moretz as a gritty character having to make hard, and wrong decisions. Sadly that feel doesn't really continue after that. Instead we get a typical teen romance/drama with aliens thrown in. There are just so many silly moments, silly decisions that I couldn't enjoy it. 

Since it's based on a book you could blame a lot on the original subject matter, but since when does a movie have to stay true? Movies have obligation to fix bad points in the subject matter not parrot them. I haven't read the book but from a synopsis it looks like the movie actually expands some of the worse points. For one instance in the movie the aliens genetically alter avian flu and release it on mankind. Why? Why alter an earth flu when they could introduce an alien disease from their home world. An alien common cold that would be harmless to them but wipe us out. In the book, as far as I have heard this is closer to what happens.


Chloe Grace Moretz takes aim in The 5th Wave

The best scene in The 5th Wave with Chloe Grace Moretz

The earthquakes and tidal waves were left unexplained. It comes off as bad in the film, suddenly huge wave almost takes out our heroine, then magically recedes leaving no discernible damage in it's wake. But reading a book summary it's probably best to not go to deep into it's goofy cause of the quakes.

The fourth and fifth waves are just as silly. The fourth wave is they can apparently possess humans. They do this to kill the human refugees, which we are lead to believe they possess a couple of hunters who prowl the woods killing anyone they come across. We find out later the fourth wave is actually a way of initiating the fifth wave so it's a bit of a dodge But here's the kick. They can either posses or replicate the military. They use this to gather children and train them to hunt other humans. Why do they need human kids to kill them? You have guns, planes, tanks and training. Do it your damn self

The fifth wave is where the story blatantly steals from They Live. The children are told you can only spot the aliens wearing special glasses. Glasses that make the alien humans appear to be a green glowing skull. Seriously. I was half expecting Roddy Piper to come back from the grave and start kicking everyone’s ass. Starting with the director and writer of the film.

Of course eventually Ben finds out the truth. That they are killing other humans and he very casually allows one of his friends to shoot him in the belly. You know, non fatally. No big deal. Doesn’t hurt much apparently.

Meanwhile Cassie is on her way to rescue Sam, and runs across hunky, hipster farm boy Evan. Evan teaches her the finer points of disarming an opponent, and in true Mary Sue fashion she gets it down pat in one lesson. Which is fitting since she learned how to fire a pistol in one lesson (that only consisted of “this is how you remove the clip”), and learned to fire an assault rifle with no training at all. Her and Evan hook up, which we all knew was coming, and he turns out to be an alien hybrid. Or spy or something, who knows. It of course follows that Twilight theme of taboo love between different species. All we can say is Cassie must me a wiz in bed, er in abandoned vehicle, cause one lay and Evan defects to the human cause. Once you go homosapien, you....well... forget you're an alien, I guess. Forget I said anything.

Now back to another point which bothered me. A lot of people might say I'm nit picking but it bothers me. The first wave, world wide EMP blast. The film clearly states, no electricity, no running water....then how the hell is everyone clean shaved, except neatly shaved Evan, and clean. How are they always wearing clean clothes? Even after Cassie is abandoned and alone, shes always clean and in clean freshly pressed clothes! I'm not the world's biggest Walking Dead fan, but at least they try to make the survivors look grungy. Except for Norman, I think he just likes the look. Even when they FINALLY put some dirt on Chloe's face, it looks like it was professionally applied by Merle Norman himself.

And why does the family leave their home? Yes there is no running water and lights, but it has a roof, walls and presumably a basement. As well as a closet that seems infinitely full of clean clothes. But no, they leave their home to move to a tent city in the woods. You know, where the aliens can wipe them out all at once, no walls, no defenses, but already with crops planted and harvested.....I know this is young adult fiction, but come the fuck on!

So here's my thing unless you are a teenage girl, or a dude with the hots for Chloe Grace Moretz, avoid The 5th Wave. There are tons of other movies out there. I wasn't expecting much, and it delivered not much in spades. There are much better alien films out there, better teen adventure/romance, and much, much better Chloe Grace Moretz films to be seen. As far as adult, science fiction or horror fans, don’t bother. One giant green skulled alien star out of ten.


Posted by Allen Alberson

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