Yesterday, I got the opportunity to interview one of my idols, Quentin Tarantino. The interview will be up shortly after this review is published. I'm very proud of it and it was quite a surreal experience. Not too long after returning home from the interview, I walked on down the road to my local cinema and watched The 5th Wave. I went from interviewing Tarantino to watching this piece of shit. I think it's safe to say that my day went downhill fast as The 5th Wave is five waves too many. I really didn't need this film in my life.
Based on the novel by Rick Yancey, The 5th Wave follows the story of Cassie (Chloë Grace Moretz), a teenage girl living out her everyday teenage life. Or, like every post-apocalyptic teen movie before this, that's what she thought. Soon, an unknown alien life force makes its way down to Earth, striking in waves. There has been four so far, the fourth one involving the aliens inhabiting human hosts. So this film is going to be about Cassie taking down the aliens and saving the Earth, right? Nope. At the start of the film, Cassie is separated from her younger brother, Sam (Zackary Arthur), and, with the help of a stranger (Alex Rose) she met and instantly fell in love with, she attempts to go and rescue him.... because reasons, you know.
From The Hunger Games to Divergent to The Maze Runner, every teen apocalypse movie attempts to bring something new to the table. Whether it's kids fighting to the death or kids fighting to the death or.... erm... kids training to fight to the death, they all try to be different. Sort of. With this movie, we get what may just be worse than all the previously listed franchises, although to be fair, The Hunger Games is pretty damn brilliant. The rest? Not so much, and The 5th Wave can be added to this list of shitty franchises that will inevitably get at least two, probably three sequels. It's safe to say I'm not looking forward to them.
Right from the opening couple of scenes, it's obvious this film is severely lacking originality. Everything from showing a dramatic scene from the middle of the movie and cutting back in time to the pointless narration about how everything changed to the "I'm just a normal teenage girl with a crush on a guy" plot, nothing here is new. And my god, it gets worse. As the plot continues, it just gradually gets more and more familiar, right up to the point where I had to ask myself "is this movie serious? Am I not imagining it?" Even the design of the alien ship is reminiscent to that of District 9, and I know which movie I'd rather watch.
Because of this familiarity, the so-called twists can be seen a mile away. Oh, this person isn't who they say they are? Knew it. These people aren't doing what they said they're doing? Knew it. This movie isn't actually a good movie? Knew it. It's as familiar as plots come, and when it finishes, it doesn't even feel like it's done. It's just part 1 of an unavoidable franchise that I know as a fact is going to happen because my session last night was packed. It sold right into the front row and yes, plenty of teenagers loved it. I didn't think that was humanly possible, but it was. Fuck me. Go watch Star Wars instead. Shit, go see The Revenant, if you must. It's not good, but it's better than this garbage.
Even ignoring the story and the possible future franchise, The 5th Wave just isn't a well made movie, either. The shots are bland and familiar, the visual effects are laughably terrible and most of the performances are cringe worthy. Chloë Grace Moretz is this film's only saving grace, and even she's been better. The cast, most of whom are very talented, are put to waste, none of them giving a performance worth mentioning. I didn't even realise Maika Monroe was in this movie until she appeared and I didn't think it was possible, but her performance here is far from the quality she's been giving as of late.
I have nothing against narration. If a movie needs a narrator, that is more than fine. If a movie doesn't, I'm happy with that. If a movie puts in a narrator for the sake of having a narrator, or simply because the book it's based on is written in first person and they want to replicate that, then I have a problem with narration. Films like The 5th Wave do not need a narrator, yet we get one. Moretz is describing the events of the film to us as they're happening, and damn, it was pointless. "I'm going to find my brother," she says, moments after telling someone she needs to find her brother. Books are books for a reason. The film adaptations don't need to be identical. The audience will survive without someone constantly jamming information down they're throats.
To sum up, The 5th Wave is the latest inexcusable excuse for a bit of money from studios attempting to jump off of the success of The Hunger Games. It's bland, familiar, poorly written, lifelessly acted and just not a well made movie. At all.
1 1/2 Stars