Sunday, 31 January 2016

Review: The 5th Wave

World of Blackout Film Review

The 5th Wave Poster

The 5th Wave
Cert: 15 / 112 mins / Dir. J Blakeson / Trailer
WoB Rating: 4/7

Because if an Oscar-winning actress like Jennifer Lawrence can cash cheques from YA cine-franchises, then there's no harm or shame in a talent like Chloë Grace Moretz following suit, right? An alien invasion (in the form of effects-budget-friendly body-inhabiters) sees Chloë star as Cassie, a normal teenage girl in a crisis situation, trying to be reunited with her younger brother as society collapses around them and Earth's last line of defence against a series of quasi-biblical plagues designed to wipe out humanity. She gets to watch a hot guy washing down his chest in a river, too, which I think is meant to represent hormones, or something.

Credit where it's due, The 5th Wave is a far better teen-adventure flick than it is a survival thriller (that's right Evan, if you're ever on the run, just start an open fire in unlit woodland at night, that won't give away your position in about a second). Because yeah, seasoned veterans of The Walking Dead (*raises hand*) will take issue with some of the strategic techniques used, and the story's "twists" are telegraphed from the first fifteen minutes of the film. All you can do after that is at least enjoy the movie for what it is.

It's an entertaining enough ride and certainly earnestly acted (although too much so, in the case of Maika Monroe) but there's no real depth to any of what we see (y'know, the extinction of humanity) and any message or subtext which manages to slip through the net of one author and three screenwriters is neither new nor unique, sadly. The 15 certificate certainly helps the tone of the film, but at its heart, this is a 12A (not that there's anything wrong with that at all).

You know Cassie's going to be alright in the end though, since the first act shows the 16yr old girl firing a Colt .45 for the first time using only one hand, and absorbing all signs of recoil effortlessly. That's survival skills, right there. And of course, no Sony movie would be complete without the obligatory product placement (this time for a cell-phone which the screenplay has already told us won't work again for the rest of the film), but we also get a couple of separate Spider-Man references, too. Y'know, in case you thought the studio had lost the web-slinger.

All things considered, human civilisation in The 5th Wave seems to be taking the unannounced arrival of an alien spacecraft and subsequent genocide of their species quite pragmatically; in any other invasion flick, it'd be absolute bedlam from day one. Although we only really see it affecting Ohio, so maybe they're all a bit more relaxed about the whole thing.

But hey, grumbles aside The 5th Wave is still better than Independence Day. And it's better than Skyline.

Although being stabbed repeatedly in the shins with a rusty cake-fork is better than Skyline

So, watch this if you enjoyed?
I Am Number Four, How I Live Now.

Should you watch this in a cinema, though?
Being shoved out at the end of January into not many cinemas, you might be lucky if you can find it (I only caught the film because I was in London).

Does the film achieve what it sets out to do?
Oh, probably.

Is this the best work of the cast or director?
It isn't.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?
I won't.

Yes, but is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
I didn't hear one.

Yes, but what's the Star Wars connection?
Level 2: The 5th Wave stars that Liev Schreiber, who appeared in The Butler, as did David 'Kallus' Oyelowo.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
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