By Bradley Griffith
Just as the trend of superhero movies is picking up speed with still more superhero movies coming out this year and more planned for many years to come, the fad of post-apocalyptic movies based on books aimed at teenagers is starting to wane. Several of the entries in that genre have been a surprise and several have been a disappointment. “The 5th Wave” falls somewhere in the middle and is available now for home rental.
Cassie Sullivan (Chloe Grace Moretz) is a normal high school girl. She has a best friend, loves her little brother, Sam (Zackary Arthur), and is afraid to talk to boys. In all, she has a pretty great life. Until the alien ships arrive.
For ten days nothing happens. The ships of the others, the humans call the aliens the others, simply hover above the earth in many locations across the globe. People start to panic, families pack up and leave big cities. Cassie’s high school is almost abandoned as most kids stop coming to class.
The first wave of attacks from the others is a electromagnetic pulse that takes out everything that relies on electronics. Electricity, cell phones, cars, and airplanes all stop working. It’s difficult to find food and water. This leads to the destruction of civilization as we know it, and this is only the first wave of attacks.
By the time the fourth wave of attacks has concluded Cassie has lost just about everything she once cherished, everything that was important to her. There’s no such thing as being safe or secure anymore. It’s all about survival. Everyone who is strong enough to have survived the first four waves of attacks gets the pleasure of joining the army and fighting back.
As the fifth wave of attacks begins Cassie finds herself on a journey alone to find Sam. On the way she meets a young man named Evan Walker (Alex Roe). Evan vows to help Cassie find Sam, but she can’t decide if she can trust Evan. The fifth wave of attacks involves the others taking over human bodies as parasites. Cassie doesn’t know who to trust.
“The 5th Wave” is slightly different from “The Hunger Games” and “Divergent” trilogies. “The 5th Wave” involves aliens destroying our way of life where in the other series it’s humans who destroyed each other. The real problem for Cassie and her friends is that it’s impossible to tell who are humans and who are the others. She can’t rely on appearance alone to determine who she can trust, just like in the real world.
The entire movie has a “Walking Dead” feel to it. There’s an apocalypse of sorts. Most of the population is dead and you can’t trust anyone who isn’t dead. Your day-to-day existence is not about enjoying life, but is about survival. Everyone carries guns and knows how to use them.
“The 5th Wave” is based on a book of the same name that was marketed as a book for teens. But the movie is not just for teenagers, it’s also entertaining for adults, though it’s not a good movie for younger children.
If you like “The 5th Wave” you may get to see more of the story. When the movie ends the story does not. It’s clear that there’s more of the story of Cassie and Sam and her friends that wasn’t revealed. It’s set up perfectly for a sequel, if the studio decides that a mediocre performance at the box office warrants another movie.
“The 5th Wave” is neither great nor terrible, but the ending did leave me wondering what happens next.
Rated PG-13 for violence and destruction, some sci-fi thematic elements, language, and brief teen partying.