The 5th Wave [Celluloid Hero]
The 5th Wave (2016)
I had seen the trailer for this movie a while ago, kept it floating in the back of my mind, but also knew that it was the sort of thing my wife would want to watch with me. Having a baby makes it tougher to find 120 minutes to spare, but we finally got around to it. My expectations were for a simple popcorn flick, and my expectations were met.
When a massive alien ship appears in the sky over Earth, no one is sure what will happen. After ten days of orbiting, the attack begins. The "first wave" is an electromagnetic pulse that cripples the entire planet. The next two waves decimate the population, forcing survivors to refugee camps. Cassie (Chloe Grace Moretz), her brother, and her father end up at a camp. The US Army bursts into camp, offering safety at a nearby base, and takes the children first under the pretense of protecting the helpless. Things turn tense, the family gets separated, and Cassie sets out on a mission to find her brother.
The trailer originally drew me in for the alien invasion, and because I'm a fan of Chloe Grace Moretz. I was hesitant because it definitely looked geared towards the "young adult" demographic, fans of Twilight and Percy Jackson and whatever the kids are into these days. I was hoping the actual movie had a bit more depth than the trailer, but it turned out to be what-you-see-is-what-you-get. It had a bit of a Hunger Games vibe (young heroine) plus some Twilight (bit of a love triangle) and maybe some Ender's Game (to be honest I've never seen it, but the trailer is about kids at war). As a grizzled old cynic, I rolled my eyes at the storytelling, but I understand how it would appeal to the proper group. It had that typical teenage wish-fulfillment plot - who wouldn't want to step away from homework and group texts, and end up fighting aliens?
Things actually started off well. Rather than the "Independence Day" style of hovering over a city then just blowing it to smithereens, these aliens orbit the Earth, seemingly gaining intelligence on our species, then attacking in strategic waves. I know applying realism to an alien invasion movie is fruitless, but it felt like these aliens had more of a game plan; they looked at this war like a real army would. Once the plot turned to the Army, things started to get predictable and nonsensical. Plot holes abound, actions take place with little logic, and the deeper you dig the more questions go unanswered. The source book is part of a series, and the movie ends looking towards a sequel, but everything left me underwhelmed and unlikely to continue the saga.
On the [Celluloid Hero] scale, "The 5th Wave" gets a 4 out of 10.