Review: ‘The 5th Wave’

Review: ‘The 5th Wave’

Julia Zaksek , Staff writer

In the 21st century era of dystopian and apocalyptic fiction, a film of this now overused genre must be wholly original, creative and engaging to stand out among the deluge of end of the world films.

Common cliches such as the ever awkward love triangle, the ordinary albeit actually beautiful heroine and overused plot twists should be avoided at all costs.

“The 5th Wave,” written by trio Susannah Grant, Akiva Goldsman and Jeff Pinkner and directed by J Blakeson, seems to relish its status as a young adult novel adaptation. It happily flaunts and pushes nearly every cliche of the genre. The writers and actors alike seem equally bored by their scripts. The female lead Chloe Grace Moretz and supporting actors Nick Robinson and Alex Roe deliver an overall lackluster performance.

The premise of “The 5th Wave” is interesting enough: the world is under attack by an unknown alien force who seem to be cleansing the Earth of humans in a series of waves. The first wave, an electromagnetic pulse that kills all power with the second, an earthquake that pulverizes cities and sends jaw droppingly huge tsunamis on the coast with the third wave, a mutated version of the already deadly avian flu with the fourth wave, the coming to the Earth of the aliens themselves, in human form of course. The fifth wave, the inspiration of the movie’s title, is yet to come.

This intriguing concept is buried under the main plot of the movie, which centers around the protagonist Cassie’s search to find her brother Sam who was accidentally separated from her and taken by the army for training to combat the future fifth wave. This potentially symbolic and satirical idea of child soldiers is buried under the grunt of the plot as well. The majority of the movie consists of her wandering the woods of Ohio, trying to make it to the military base her brother was shipped to.

An extremely forced romance between Cassie and fellow survivor Evan eats up the remainder of the film’s middle. All real emotional punch the film could’ve carried is sapped out by the flat monotone the actors use to deliver it, particularly the monologues by Cassie. The acting is overall cringe-worthy and the characters one dimensional, save Maika Monroe’s sharp shooting, foul-mouthed soldier Ringer.

An exceptionally clever plot twist near the film’s end gave a glimmer of hope for the conclusion, but overly subdued reactions and another flat speech stripped the moment of its impact and quickly glossed it over.

Overall, “The 5th Wave” is simply disappointing. The worst films are not the ones with poor or ludicrous concepts, the worst films are the ones with truly original concepts that are poorly or ludicrously executed. I give “The 5th Wave” a generous D+.