Oh Lord, save us from stupid aliens.
As a low-budget sci fi flick, The Fifth Wave starts quite promisingly with a more logical continuation from the opening scenes of “Independence Day”. The end of the world is nigh. An alien spacecraft has put itself into a threatening earth orbit (note: actually ‘orbiting’ – as a nod to science guys like me – rather than just inexplicably hanging there in the sky, as Douglas Adams once put it, “in much the same way that bricks don’t”).
The aliens are throwing calamity after calamity down at small-town America in ‘waves’: earthquakes; tidal surges; modified bird flu; and bombings.
Against this stressful backdrop, the ever-reliable Chloe Grace-Moretz (“Kick Ass”; “Let the Right One In”) plays Cassie who after getting separated from her younger brother Sam (Zackery Arthur) faces the dangers of a cross-country Alabama trek to rescue him.
Like I said, quite a promising premise, and it flows quite nicely until the family get to a Fort Wilderness style sanctuary in the forest. There however the plot goes awry, with the aliens making a seemingly ridiculous strategic move:
ONE MANN’S MOVIES PLAYHOUSE THEATRE
SCENE: A safely orbiting alien spacecraft orbits safely around the earth in a totally safe and secure manner. Captain Kraag approaches General Allafi on the bridge.
KRAAG: Going well General. 94% of Earth’s population depleted. What shall we do for Wave 5? More bombings? Perhaps a different sort of plague – those swine flu cultivations are coming along really nicely?
ALLAFI: I think not Captain. Let’s now leave our safely orbiting ship and go and engage in hand-to-hand combat.
KRAAG: B-b-b-but Sir…
ALLAFII: No buts Captain! Who’s General?!
Jaw-dropping dumbness now follows with a rather obvious plot-twist casting Cassie onto her solo-mission, and the film declines into a rather poor ‘Hunger-maze-giance’ wannabe with Cassie torn between the affections of old crush Ben (Nick “Jurassic World” Robinson) and mysterious saviour Evan (Alex Roe). Much muscle-rippling and skinny-dipping ensues as Cassie oohs and aahs in a girlie fashion that erodes her kick-ass (no pun intended) characterization to date.
The director is J Blakeson…. no, me neither. This is only his second feature, and is a big ask.
The film rather obviously cues up a sequel: this is the first of a series of – apparently quite good – books by Rick Yancey, with the next in the series being called “The Infinite Sea”. I don’t think I will be rushing to the cinema to see the sequel, if it does happen.
A disappointing film that starts with real promise but then loses its way. Grace-Moretz really does deserve better. Nice animated Gif poster though!.
Fad Rating: FFf.