In recent years, there has been a sizeable boom in the production of young adult movies. With successful franchises such as The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner, the urgency has been raised in a way that preteen movies rarely display. These kids are willing to kill one another for a cause. Piggybacking on the young adult trend comes The 5th Wave, a movie so generic and forgettable that it has likely already slipped under your radar.
Chloë Grace Moretz (who is racking up a random assortment of titles on her resumé) stars as Cassie Sullivan, a stereotypically bookish teen who must quickly develop survivalist tendencies when her world is taken over by intergalactic invaders. Moretz, by far the film’s biggest advantage, is able to showcase her ability to transition between being adamantly tough and emotionally aware.
The movie begins on a good note, but it doesn’t take long for everything to fall apart. The 5th Wave’s most glaring issue is that it doesn’t trust its audience to understand its plot. With overly detailed narration from cassie and blundering exposition from Colonel Vosch (Liev Schreiber), director J Blakeson has a terrible habit of spelling everything out for you. Even if your audience is 12-year-olds, there are plenty of examples of filmmakers who give adolescents the autonomy to put the pieces together.
In an attempt to keep viewers from leaving early, The 5th Wave tries to unload about four different plot twists in its third act, not of which are surprising or necessary. Having not read the source material, I can try to give the screenwriters the benefit of the doubt that they are simply staying faithful to the book. Still, it strains the movie’s pacing and demands enormous lapses in logic from the viewer.
While it is entertaining enough at times for teens to enjoy the movie at a Sunday matinee, The 5th Wave gives its audience very little reason to invest time, money, or brainpower on it. This is yet another example proving that January is where Hollywood ships most of its mediocre ideas. As we’ve seen in the past, young adult novel adaptations can be made appealing to a wide audience. This one isn’t.
Drink Every Time: you catch yourself rolling your eyes.