Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Movie Review #370: "The 5th Wave" (2016)

Movie"The 5th Wave"
Ticket Price: $9.75
Director: J Blakeson
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 52 minutes
Image Source
A spaceship begins hovering around the United States. The invading aliens start to systematically wipe out the human race one "wave" at a time via earthquake, disease, flood, etc. The few remaining survivors, including Cassie (Chloe Grace Moretz), must find a way to survive and fight back. The only problem is, the invaders look just like us. 

Dummmmmmb, da-dumb-dumb........
Dummmmmmb, da-dumb-dumb-DUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUMB!!!

"The 5th Wave" is the latest in a loooooooong series of seemingly never ending science fiction/dystopic future/end of the world/young adult book-to-movie adaptations. This one revolves around an alien invasion and the systematic termination of the human race. Of course, for some random reason, kids are always the ones who can somehow stop the impending doom??? This movie starts out a little bit interesting, but falls apart quickly before it really even gets a chance to begin. First off, the pacing is atrocious. Within the first 20 minutes, we found ourselves antsy, bored, and agitated, something that doesn't happen very often when we watch movies in the theater. There are so many scenes, one after the next, that just drag on and on and on with no end in sight. On top of this, since the beginning of the movie deals with these "waves" taking place, literally and figuratively, earthquakes are happening, floods are happening, the entire first portion of the movie is a CGI-fest but the effects all look absolutely terrible. If Alex Garland can make a robot in "Ex Machina" look completely real with a $15 million budget, you damn well better believe we expect water to look like water in a movie with a $38 million dollar budget.

The vast majority of the characters here are poorly developed, too. Since this film is based on a book, we don't know if they were just poorly written from their source material, or if the screenplay writer butchered the characters in development. The film primarily focuses on Chloe Grace Moretz's character named Cassie, who spends most of her post-invasion time roaming the Ohio countryside trying to stay alive so she can find the military base where her brother Sam, played by Zackary Arthur, has been taken. The rest of her time is spent creating a relationship with a random guy named Evan, played by Alex Roe, who "stumbled upon" Cassie after she is found incapacitated by injury. Cassie's focus is split between ~*really wanting to find her brother*~ and sleeping with some random she just met in the forest. Great lesson to teach the youths, movie! Of course, secrets are revealed, yada yada blah blah blah, which are hardly secrets at all considering how blatant and obvious this film really is at its core. Meanwhile, at that military base where Sam has been taken, we are introduced to another entire cast of characters who really have no development whatsoever, but for some reason, the filmmakers want us to care about them. Even if the characters were developed, none of these characters are memorable in the slightest on top of being performed poorly. The acting is sub-par across the board, even from actors who have been good elsewhere (Maika Monroe and Tony Revolori, we know you're better than this), but for some reason, Hollywood wants us to believe people like Chloe Grace Moretz and Alex Roe are the next Bogie and Bacall. Yeah freakin' right. When acting is this poor from everyone involved in a project, we have let the blame fall on director J Blakeson, who is obviously not seasoned enough to know the difference between good and bad acting.

Beyond the aforementioned bad acting, poorly constructed characters, and snail-slow pace, we are also given a plethora of plot holes and inconsistencies throughout "The 5th Wave" that are nothing more than bad storytelling. We're not sure if these plot holes exist in the book, but they certainly exist in the movie. Plot hole after plot hole is introduced one after the other, and sometimes within the same scene, the movie contradicts itself. Without even Googling if this is a trilogy book series, we know "The 5th Wave" is meant to start another inevitable trilogy-turned-quadrility, but it is not a film that cannot stand on its own. Too much is left hanging in the air without explanation, from little things like how Maika Monroe's character Ringer alludes to 'being able to take care of herself,' which beckons an eventual backstory, to the cliffhanger ending about saving the rest of humanity. It is painfully obvious that Sony was hoping to build another franchise out of "The 5th Wave" because of these loose ends and unexplained elements, but ultimately, we are left with more questions than answers. What we witnessed in this first installment didn't leave us the least bit excited to find out what would or could be next for these characters. We've seen multiple instances over the past year (*cough* Terminator Genisys *cough*) where it was clear studios thought they could get to make multiple movies out of a fan favorite series, only this time, they flopped (and badly, we might add) to the point where we're simply left with a floundering jumping off point of a one-off standalone film riddled with endless holes and unanswered questions. Since this movie came in 6th at the box office its opening weekend, making around $10 million, we highly doubt we'll be seeing a sequel in for "The 5th Wave" in the future, so skip this one at all costs.

My Rating: 4/10
BigJ's Rating: 4/10
IMDB's Rating: 5.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 18%
Do we recommend this movie: No.

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