The 5th Wave is a movie that maybe five years ago I would’ve been OK with but with so many YA adaptations, it would seem Hollywood will make just about anything and while I don’t think this is the weakest of the bunch, hard to be worse than the Twilight Saga, it’s really not a very good movie.
The 5th Wave
Genre(s): Adventure, Fantasy, Science Fiction
Sony | PG13 – 112 min. – $34.99 | May 3, 2016
Date Published: 04/29/2016 | Author: The Movieman
THE MOVIE – 2.5/5
Well, another year and another young adult adaptation. The 5th Wave is the latest and although I’d classify it as passable entertainment, it’s just didn’t seem necessary and at times redundant with the likes, in certain respects, of The Maze Runner and Divergent with a soon-to-be dystopian world where the kids (17 and under) up against, primarily, evil, power-hungry adults.
Note: This section contains MAJOR SPOILERS.
Cassie Sullivan (CHLOE GRACE MORETZ) was your average teenage high school girl but all that changes when the Others (i.e. aliens) invades the planet. In subsequent “waves”, the first taking out all electronics and power, second earthquakes and floods and the third a plague wiping out millions on the planet, the fourth finds the Others taking physical form on the surface, disguised as humans and finally the fifth, total annihilation of the human species courtesy of military-trained children. Don’t snicker.
So, after both her parents are killed, her mother via the plague and father (RON LIVINGSTON) during a mass hysteria event, Cassie is in charge of taking care of her young brother, Sam (ZACKARY ARTHUR), but when he’s taken away on a bus headed for a military base without her, she must make way through the wilderness, outmaneuvering others who may be an Other but when she’s shot in the leg by a sniper, she’s on the verge of bleeding out. She awakens and finds she’s been patched up by Evan Walker (ALEX ROE) who has taken her back to his home, his own family dead during the “waves”.
On the B-plot, Sam and other kids are brought to a military base, run by Colonel Vosch (LIEV SCHREIBER), where they are placed in squads and trained to fight against the Others using a visual system that can see who is an Other and who is human. Heading the squad little Sam is in is Ben Parish (NICK ROBINSON) who happens to be Cassie’s high school crush. Also in the unit are Ringer (MAIKA MONROE), Teacup (TALITHA BATEMAN), Tank (FLYNN MCHUGH), Poundcake (NADJI JETER) and Oompa (CADE CANON BALL), though outside of Ringer and maybe Teacup, the rest are pretty much filler or throwaway characters.
Of course, these two plots merge by the end but not without some teenage romance that blossoms between Cassie and Evan not to mention the half-hearted relationship with Cassie and Ben, an aspect that was severely ignored as the pair only shared one brief scene early on. No doubt that relationship was chopped down to tighten the story in the hopes of expanding it in sequels that likely will never happen, but it feels tacked on.
Now, I’ve never read the novel this movie is based on, heck being an old fogie, I don’t even recall ever hearing of it, so my opinion for The 5th Wave is just on the movie and not how faithful (or unfaithful from what I’ve read) it was compared to the novel. Even from that vantage point, this isn’t a well made movie in spite of some spirited performances by Chloë Grace Moretz, who continues to be a solid young actress, and Liev Schreiber fulfilling the obligatory role as a name actor playing the film’s primary villain (see Patricia Clarkson in Maze Runner or Kate Winslet in Divergent). Schreiber really doesn’t get to do a whole heck of a lot but in his few scenes, he somehow elevates the material.
Make no mistake, The 5th Wave isn’t a good movie but it’s not terrible either, saved primarily to the charm that Chloë Grace Moretz possesses while Live Schreiber, albeit in limited screen time, elevates the material far more than it deserved. The direction by J Blakeson (The Disappearance of Alice Creed) is adequate enough but given the screenplay I can’t fault him too much other than any on-the-fly changes he could’ve done to make a tighter, and better yet, more entertaining film.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 3.0/5
This release comes with a title-embossed slip cover. Inside is a code for the Digital HD copy.
Audio Commentary – Director J Blakeson and Actress/Star Chloë Grace Moretz provide a nice and informative track discussing various topics from location shoots to working with the cast members.
Deleted Scenes (25:10; HD) – There are 11 scenes either cut down or removed entirely that didn’t add much to the plot but more character moments. None of them were bad, actually, though not sure how much better they would’ve made the movie… ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Gag Reel (3:17; HD) is filled with line flubs and on-set mishaps.
Inside The 5th Wave (14:26; HD) – This is a behind-the-scenes featurette with on-location footage and interviews with the cast and crew including Moretz, Blakeson and others.
Training Squad 53 (5:09; HD) is a boot camp featurette on how the actors trained for their scenes including stunt work like hand-to-hand combat, etc.
The 5th Wave Survival Guide (2:11; HD) – This is an EPK featurette where cast members give tips on how to survive an alien or apocalyptic-like scenario.
Sammy on the Set (6:57; HD) is a profile on the young actor, Zack Arthur.
Creating a New World (5:58; HD) gives a glimpse on the visual effects work.
Previews – Pride + Prejudice + Zombies, Money Monster, Ratter, The Driftless Area
VIDEO – 4.5/5
|Sony releases The 5th Wave onto Blu-ray presented in its original 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio and a 1080p high-definition transfer (MPEG-4 AVC codec). It’s a fantastic looking transfer with sharp and clean detail levels throughout and colors look nice and bright in spite of the dystopian-like landscape. There are some darkly lit scenes that does show fairly well though perhaps too dark as in one scene it was hard to see what the heck was happening. Still, there were no major flaws like aliasing, artifacts or as something like banding.|
AUDIO – 4.25/5
|The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track shows off some clear dialogue levels throughout and some nice depth with the action-centric sequences which has excellent robustness. It’s nothing mind-blowing, unfortunately, all things considered yet every channel is utilized while the generic/forgettable score by Henry Jackman coming through well enough.|
OVERALL – 2.75/5
|Overall, The 5th Wave is a movie that maybe five years ago I would’ve been OK with but with so many YA adaptations, it would seem Hollywood will make just about anything and while I don’t think this is the weakest of the bunch, hard to be worse than the Twilight Saga, it’s really not a very good movie though Chloë Grace Moretz and Live Schreiber make it semi-tolerable. The Blu-ray released through Sony offers some nice features and solid video/audio transfers.|
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.