The makers of the young adult fantasy “The 5th Wave” must have decided to aim their movie low, at teens who have never seen any other movies.
Every plot turn and every line of dialogue has been borrowed from somewhere else, and everything is utterly, totally predictable.
And further, for the few teens who never have seen a young adult fantasy, this movie boldly steals material from (but does not stop at) the “Twilight,” “Hunger Games” and “Divergent” franchises.
Assuming viewers are uneducated, or that they simply do not care, the film’s off to a swell start.
Unseen aliens have taken over the earth, coming in five “waves.” The first is an electromagnetic pulse that knocks out all power. The second has (CGI) earthquakes and floods. The third is a deadly disease.
The fourth: Aliens can disguise themselves as humans (a neat trick to save money on alien makeup and FX), even though it’s really not difficult to discern who is who. The fifth is the “surprise,” which isn’t much of one.
Our plucky heroine is Cassie Sullivan (Chloë Grace Moretz), who must get to a military base to rescue her younger brother (Zackary Arthur) before he and her high school crush Ben (Nick Robinson) go off to battle.
She’s helped by a handsome, moody fellow (Alex Roe), who has a few days’ chin scruff and is nice enough to occasionally remove his shirt. Now she has two men competing for her affections! Alas!
A few grownups (Ron Livingston, Liev Schreiber and Maria Bello) are around, probably wishing they had something better to say than the dialogue that the ever-present Akiva Goldsman (the Michael Bay of screenwriters) has given them.
Goldsman, along with Susannah Grant and Jeff Pinkner, adapted the young adult novel by Rick Yancey. And, heaven help us, it’s the first of a trilogy.
As “The 5th Wave” slogs through its plot, it ignores anything ironic or intelligent. There’s nothing said about children with guns, or the nature of invasion. It’s just… taken seriously.
Once, teens could go to movies about teens and have fun. Now it’s all agony and suffering. “When you’re a teenager, everything is the end of the world,” Cassie says early on. If that’s true, then teens don’t need any help from this movie.
The 5th Wave
One and a half stars
Starring: Chloë Grace Moretz, Nick Robinson, Liev Schreiber, Maika Monroe
Written by: Susannah Grant, Akiva Goldsman, Jeff Pinkner
Directed by: J Blakeson
Running time: 1 hour, 52 minutes