February 24, 2016 The 5th Wave (Movie Review)
On January 22nd, 2016, Director J Blakeson (The Disappearance of Alice Creed 2009, The Decent: Part 2 2009) directed yet another captivating film that left us with questions that will for sure be answered in the sequel. The 5th Wave, rated PG-13, is categorized as an Action/Adventure and Sci-Fi movie, bringing a new meaning to Alien films. Chloë Grace Moretz (Carrie 2013, Dark Places 2015) is no rookie when it comes to portraying characters that are based on best-selling novels. This will most likely put her in the spotlight, seeing how great she delivered her character. Along with Moretz, the amazingly talented cast includes Liev Schreiber (Scream 3 2000, Salt 2010), Maria Bello (Secret Window 2004, Prisoners 2013), Alex Roe (The Calling 2000, Sniper: Legacy 2014), Maggie Siff (Sons of Anarchy 2008, Push 2009), Ron Livingston (The Time Traveler’s Wife 2009, The Conjuring 2013), and Nick Robinson (The Kings of Summer 2013, Jurassic World 2015), to name a few. With only approximately a $38 million budget, The 5th Wave has thus far managed to make over $84 million at the box office. This is not a typical Alien film, this movie shows not only what can happen if Aliens suddenly attack Earth, it also exemplifies the emotions and struggles a young teenager has to go through to fight for the ones she love.
The 5th Wave, titled the same as its book counterpart, is the story of Cassie (Moretz), a typical teenage girl who is in love with the typical teenage boy, unaware of what the future holds. The problem starts when everything in the world loses power. Everything that is powered by electricity fails, killing half of a million people on car crashes, falling planes, etc.; that is “Lights Out,” the first wave. Horrified by this outcome, Cassie, her father (Livingston), and her little brother are forced to run away to a safety camp where everything seemed normal at first. In the flashbacks, Cassie explains how a giant tsunami wiped out the coastal cities in every continent, killing about 3 billion people, making this “Surf’s Up,” the second wave. In the third wave, called “Pestilence,” 97% of the remaining human population died in slow deaths. They were infected by a strange disease which ended Cassie’s mother’s life too.
In the fourth wave, a.k.a. “Silencer,” the Aliens, aptly called The Others, began to physically interact as human form in an effort to eradicate the remaining people. Nobody knows how the 5th wave is going to happen, which starts the whole plot of the story. At the camp, US soldiers arrive in powered vehicles, and much to the people’s’ surprise, they trust them because who would not trust a US soldier? The children are all ordered to take a bus to another safe haven while the adults are ordered to stay behind until another bus comes along. As Cassie and her brother Sam hop into the bus, Sam asks Cassie to get his teddy bear – which is the last thing his mother gave him – and Cassie reluctantly accepts. She takes time looking for the bear and the bus leaves with Sam leaving her behind. She walks back to where the adult assembly was taking place and finds out the soldiers killed every single adult in there, including her father. Sadden by this tragedy, Cassie embarks on a mission to find her little brother and keep her promise to keep him safe.
Later, Cassie is shot in the leg and taken by a mysterious guy. She wakes up in a barn days later and quickly gets worried and enamored at the same time by the person who took care of her. After healing completely, Cassie asks Evan (Roe) to help her get to her brother. Cassie finds out that Evan is one of The Others and feels betrayed. She warns him to leave her alone and to stay there. She does not want his help.
Back in the new safe haven camp, kids are trained to be soldiers to seemingly kill any Alien threat Earth will get; especially with the fifth wave. Zombie, or Ben (Robinson), is alive, and along with other teenagers and Sam, is being trained by Sergeant Reznik (Bello). Sergeant Reznik tells Ben that Colonel Vosch (Schreiber) needs to talk to him and he goes to see him. Upon arrival, Colonel Vosch makes Ben the leader of the pack and warns him that the 5th wave is coming. He makes Ben take his group members to do a clean-up of any Others that might be lurking. Whilst fighting for their lives, the teens figure out that they are all the actual humans and the people who trained them are part of The Others. Ben decides to go back for Sam alone to not raise suspicion.
Cassie gets to the camp safe and immediately she start killing. She chokes Reznik and steals her uniform to walk freely and inconspicuously among The Others. She then meets up with Ben and they both go look for Sam; Sam is found just in time. While having problems with some of The Others, Ben and Cassie are relieved when they see Evan getting rid of them. Cassie realizes he is a good guy and confesses her love to him. Evan tells them to run fast while he gets all the detonators ready to blow the facility up. When they see the rest of Ben’s group in a Humvee, Cassie, Sam, and Ben get into it and drive off leaving behind a massive explosion caused by Evan; Evan assumingly did not make it out alive. Being on the run, the newly acquainted group plan for their survival. The camera pans out, ending with a cliffhanger for the sequel. Will the group make it out alive now that it is basically the whole world against them?
The 5th Wave goes hand in hand with other popular book series made-into-movie films, but what is different about this is how the end of the world was depicted. In other movies, we see how people struggle with the apocalypse, but never explain or show how it happened; i.e. Divergent (2014), The Hunger Games (2012), and The Maze Runner (2014). Here, we see how Aliens actually plan to take over the world and we see the not-so-typical hero – being just a weak teenage girl – fight the Aliens back. Moretz is genius in this role. Her character fits her like a glove and she is so good at being Cassie. After reading the book, one may think no other actor could have done this character justice like she did. Even though there were many contenders, Moretz was the smart option. The rest of the characters are great too. They each helped develop the storyline in an extraordinary way.
Arguably, the movie was not entirely the same as the book, but what movie is? Perhaps the most obvious change is Reznik’s gender-swap. In the book, Reznik was portrayed by a muscular and tough male Sergeant, and was definitely killed in a much different way. Regardless, the movie itself was great. It kept the audience wondering what was going to happen. It was perfect for people who had read the book and perfect for people who had not. Regardless of the genre or the rating, this film is the perfect choice for people who are eight or eighty. CrypticRock gives The 5th Wave 4.5 out of 5 stars.