Sunday, May 1, 2016
Video review: "The 5th Wave"
It’s funny how in young adult novels and their movie adaptations, young adults are always the key to saving the world.
In real-life it’s pretty rare for a teen to have a momentous impact on history -- Joan of Arc, King Tut… not many others.
Oh, well. It’s a central conceit of much popular storytelling that the audience sees themselves in the main character -- so why not tailor the character to them?
Here it’s Chloë Grace Moretz as Cassie, an unremarkable kid in a normal town when alien invaders swoop in and take over. They do so slowly, in stages, targeting humanity’s technology, environment, etc. in succession. The fifth and final wave is infiltration of human hosts by the invaders’ control.
There’s a lot of similarity to both “The Hunger Games” and “Divergent” franchises. The female lead is indoctrinated into a militaristic existence in which young people are expected to fight and die for the cause. And, exhaustingly, there are multiple cute boys wandering into the tale to tempt and/or betray our heroine.
Here they are Ben (Nick Robinson), a classmate Cassie was sweet on, and Evan (Alex Roe), a somewhat mysterious country boy she stumbles upon after all the youngsters are rounded up by the U.S. Army, conveniently leaving her behind.
There follows some gun fights, hand-to-hand action in which our formerly mousy protagonist suddenly becomes a badass, etc. There are a couple of large plot twists, which will only seem surprising if you haven’t been paying any attention.
“The 5th Wave” isn’t bad, but after a dozen or more of these YA movies it’s hard to enjoy something when you see everything coming.
Bonus features are pretty good. The DVD comes with a feature-length commentary track with Moretz and director J Blakeson and two making-of featurettes: “Inside The 5th Wave” and “Sammy on the Set.”
Upgrade to the Blu-ray and you add three more featurettes -- “The 5th Wave Survival Guide,” “Training Squad 53” and “Creating a New World” -- plus deleted scenes and a gag reel.