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The 5th Wave




The 5th Wave (PG-13)
Film Reviews by Amy Diaz

01/28/16
By Amy Diaz adiaz@hippopress.com



 An alien invasion offers an excellent opportunity for teenage romantic entanglements in The 5th Wave, another one of these YA dystopia things.

Cassie (Chloë Grace Moretz) is just a regular teen girl who goes to parties with her friends and likes a boy — Ben Parish (Nick Robinson) — who may or may not know she exists. But then aliens show up, with their electromagnetic pulses and their ability to cause earthquakes and plagues, and life gets all topsy turvy. Mom (Maggie Siff), a doctor or nurse or something, dies during an aggressive bird flu pandemic and Dad (Ron Livingston) makes a rookie mistake when the army shows up to rescue a group of survivors at a refugee camp. Cassie, told to protect her young brother Sam (Zackary Arthur), soon finds herself separated from Sam and on her own in the woods where dangers both human and Other (the name for the invading aliens) exist. She doesn’t exactly have a plan for long-term survival, but her short-term plan is simple: get to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, where she believes the army has taken her brother, and get him back. 
Here’s what The 5th Wave has going for it:
•  Chloë Grace Moretz — As “still learning” teen actors go, she’s pretty decent. She is able to convey believable youthfulness and believable grit.
• A realistic sense of how the end of civilization can change a person, i.e. allowing your female lead to kill a human. 
• The smart decision not to show us an alien. This movie doesn’t feel like it had the budget to create non-laughable aliens anyway and it works better to have the Others exist as a terrifying unknown.
• The set-up for a romantic triangle (actually, for something of a romantic square) should this thing turn into a franchise but which doesn’t get in the way too much in this movie. 
As your end-of-the-world plus teenagers movies go, I liked The 5th Wave better than The Maze Runner and The Giver and at least as much as Divergent. Though this movie doesn’t have the strong adult performances of those movies — Liev Schreiber as an army colonel is all the acting heft this movie gets — it has less “rules of the dystopia” nonsense to get through and a more straightforward story. Sure, a few “twists” are telegraphed pretty thoroughly early enough that when their reveal happened I actually forgot it was a thing we weren’t supposed to know. But as Hunger Games also-rans go, this middling fare is just enough ahead of the pack. C+
Directed by J Blakeson with a screenplay by Susannah Grant and Akiva Goldsman & Jeff Pinkner (from the novel by Rick Yancey), The 5th Wave is an hour and 52 minutes long and distributed by Columbia Pictures. 
 





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