THE 5TH WAVE (2016) Review
Directed by J Blakeson
Cassie, played by Chloe Grace Moretz is an ordinary high school girl, going to school with friends, a high school crush and a loving family. Off from a party and heading home to her family to wrap another day, little did she know that that would be her last normal life.
You will feel like you’re about to see a film detailed in a very personal way as the opening sequences are being narrated. Then, “The Others” as what they call the aliens arrive quietly not harming anybody or not even making anything. Just hovering above the United States of America. No one knew if they were friendlies or has dark plans for us and our world until one morning at school, while chatting with her friend, Cassie’s phone died along with the lights at the room, then looked outside the window, cars crashing and an airplane just smashed into the streets, all in a dramatic way.
All of these waves that started tends to wipe out humanity seems a bit boring as no side wants to win big time. Everything is happening in a pace that drops the big details one by one hinting that a bigger event is going to happen. But as the hero in this story is a girl who lost her normal life through an alien invasion, a friend and mother in a viral attack and forced to leave their house for security reasons as “The Others” are now walking among the humans as humans. Things only about to get grimmer when the army arrives at their camp pronouncing their intent to save them. But it only got worse as families are divided, children from their parents. The army, having troubles identifying which humans are infected or pretending to be human, chaos emits the area as the grown ups try to justify their desire to be with their children, guns pointed at each other’s team resulting to the death of some of the army and all the fathers and mothers. Cassie wanted to be there but her father signaled her to go.
Chloe Moretz is a fine actress, and whatever she does, her acting isn’t the problem. So the weight of what just happened to her character is acted well. Cassie has no idea what to do, where to go and how to live now without any parental guidance but she has to, for her brother Sammy. So she ran as far as she can, try to live and find her brother at the army’s camp.
Sammy gets safely at the army’s camp. A lot of young ones seem to have the same fate as Cassie and Sam, including Ben Parish, Cassie’s high-school crush who is now called Zombie. Testing begins as why they’re there and pushing the young ones to join the army and take revenge to their own hands. They screened them for testing and showed how they will identify the humans infiltrated by The Others. A child on the other side, like an interrogation room with a mirror, he looks normal but when you put on an X-ray goggless, you see a spider-shaped parasite clutched in the brain of the child, controlling its mind. With rage and anger from these children, they are forced to accept the job of being in the army to revenge their loved ones. Sure, most young people are naive and will follow their feelings, they just lost their parent anyway, right? But you’ll already have your questions as to why kill all the adults and why make the kids join and fight with their own.
Cassie, on the other hand continues to journey and find her brother through the dangerous streets and forests with The Others‘ army hovering around. While walking on a highway, Cassie finds a group of people dead on the streets, she looks for anything helpful on the way but gets shot by someone afar. Wounded but determined to find her brother, Cassie then runs as far away as possible but got knocked out. She wakes up in a room not familiar to her, wound tended and drugged for her recovery. As she tries to get up and take off, her savior then approaches and the two made an understanding that she needs to rest and recover before she can leave, but Evan Walker played by the hunky Alex Roe-Brown is keeping secrets from her as she finds her gun in his house which Walker denied of its existence when she found her. They then have a cat and mouse chasing incident until Cassie thinks Evan has a good intention for her, saving her from revealing herself from The Others. This is where things get romantic in an unnecessary way. The treatment begins to shift as a romance film in a Twilight kind of way. Chloe Moretz embodies a strong woman in most of her films, especially Kick-Ass but here, she seems helpless when it comes to the guys. You get that she’s only in her high school years but she’s supposed to be the big sister type of thing and even with the romance coming in the way, her priority is to find her brother first. But Cassie is vulnerable when it comes to Evan, she felt weak around him and can’t find the urge to resist until she found out his true identity: he’s one of The Others. But arrived on Earth way before the ones attacking them did. This made Cassie angry and leave Evan and go on her own to save her brother but Evan warned her that that isn’t the real army who got Sammy.
With the training they’ve been having, Ben Parish aka Zombie with his team is dispersed for combat, ordered to kill The Others with the help of the goggles the army provided. But they were too much for them, as they go for cover, their teammate Ringer decides to remove her trackers, other members of the team including Zombie jumped when they saw Ringer having a parasite on attached to her brain. Everyone panicked but Ringer insists that she’s not one of The Others, Zombie then tries to calm everyone and removed his tracker also. Surprisingly for them, Zombie also has a parasite on attached to his brain. Then they realized that the army isn’t really the army, they are The Others and the reason why they keep sending kids to war is because they might have a better chance of convincing them and also the humans will likely have second thoughts on killing children because of our emotions. Then they removed all of their trackers and decided to run but Zombie left Sammy at the base so he needs to come back.
Cassie made her way into the base of the army and killed the sergeant in charged of testing the new recruits. She then bumped into Ben who just escaped from being killed. They get Sammy and try to escape the base which Evan Walker surprisingly destroys bit by bit and is about to explode in a big way. Cassie, Sammy and Ben successfully escapes with the help of Ringer and their friends while Evan is nowhere to be found. This is just a start of a planned trilogy so off course, the main man of the army escapes too.
The 5th Wave is obviously a blockbuster material, with a science-fiction genre, big CGI effects and Chloe Moretz as its lead. But it turned out to be disappointingly boring. The shifting from sci-fi to romance is unnecessary, there’s too much problem to deal with and taking a minute to be romantic shouldn’t be one of its priorities. The twists might make sense in all of its questionable start but in the end it didn’t matter because you found no thrill being in front of what should be a suspenseful movie experience. While there’s a lot of potential here, how they decided to put the romance in an inappropriate way is a let down.
Also, one does need to know that this is a first of a planned trilogy, yes that isn’t an excuse to make things slow but the selling point here is Moretz, though you might expect and wanted bigger action sequences and more thrilling scenes as it teased in the trailers, it failed to deliver the goods of a decent sci-fi film.
2 OUT OF 5 STARS
“The 5th Wave” is now showing in Philippine cinemas nationwide also in 2D/4Dx from Columbia Pictures Philippines. Rated PG by the MTRCB.