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I’m going to sound like an old coot right now, but here I go.
When I was a young fella, young adult science fiction had some goddamned backbone. Some of that stuff was actually really good, especially one particular science fiction series. Please picture me on a rocking chair with my pipe and hooch, accompanied by slow banjo music, while reading the next couple of paragraphs.
We had this alien invasion book series called The Tripods that our school required us to read, and it featured the novels of John Christopher. They focused on some young kids trying to make it in this world while trying to avoid alien control. It was well written, kind of exciting, and I think it’s actually to blame for a lot of the tween bullshit we have to endure now at the cinemas.
If The Tripods was the prototype for tween science fiction, The 5th Wave is its absolute bastard abomination, at least in its movie form. Yes, I was reminded of The Tripods because of the similar “teens try to kick some alien asses while going through their social awakening” theme.
The 5th Wave is based upon the young adult novel by Rick Yancey, the first in a trilogy. God willing, this movie will be the only one to receive a movie adaptation. Further cinematic installments will cause me to punch myself in the face and thus hurt my standing in the workplace, at social gatherings, etc.
Chloe Grace Moretz plays Cassie Sullivan, a normal teenage girl who drinks beer at parties, drools over high school football guy Ben Parish (Nick Robinson) and calls the guy from Office Space (Ron Livingston) dad. Things go from routine to wacky for Cassie when a big metal spaceship thing parks over Ohio and starts messing with the human race in “waves.”
The first wave involves an electromagnetic pulse that knocks out all power and renders PlayStation 4 useless, while the second wave brings earthquakes and tsunamis. The third wave involves plague, while the fourth includes survivors battling with aliens in human hosts. The fifth wave—well, that’s a mystery, a mystery you will solve really quick if you put forth even the slightest effort.
The first three waves are actually kind of interesting, although the subpar special effects and meager budget don’t allow for much elaborating. They are over relatively quickly, and we are left with Cassie running around in the forest. She’s captured by dreamy dude Evan Walker (Alex Roe), a character so lame he’ll make you miss Twilight’s Edward Cullen.
As briefly explained above, the aliens occupy their human hosts by crawling in their heads somehow and wrapping around their brains. We never do get to see this actually happen. Had we seen this process, the film might’ve had a decent scene or two. What we do get is a couple of hilariously bad scenes where we see the aliens in horribly rendered x-rays that make old eighties Atari games look state-of-the-art (yes, picture me rocking on my chair with that hooch again).
Goetz in an interesting young actress, but she makes a lot of bad movies. I haven’t been blown away by one of her movies since Hugo five years ago. She looks lost this time out, her bid for her own Twilight or Divergent a sad, sad thing.
Liev Schreiber and Maria Bello chime in as military personnel, each doing nothing to advance their film careers. One of last year’s “It” girls, Mika Monroe of It Follows, plays young alien resistance recruit Ringer, a Goth girl who takes the time to put eye makeup on for the apocalypse. Hey, one has to keep up appearances, right?
As for The Tripods (Wait … let me take a sip of my hooch and puff my pipe), it was made into a failed TV series back in the ’80s, but there has been some buzz about making a new movie from the books. If they do, please keep Chloe Grace Moretz, the girl from It Follows and Taylor Lautner’s abs far away from the project.