For the full-on Movie Bears Podcast review of ‘The 5th Wave,’ check out the video below! For our mini-review, read on!
By now, the formula inherent to every young adult film franchise should be painfully obvious. Sci-fi dystopian futures, unique snowflake female leads, and tumultuous love triangles with two vacant-eyed model boys are all-too-familiar aspects of the genre, but when executed properly, can still provide an entertaining experience at the box office. Unfortunately, the latest sci-fi YA picture, ‘The 5th Wave,’ systematically deconstructs any goodwill its interesting premise might have earned with each passing frame, resulting in a mess of a film that will invoke enough eye rolls to have you reaching for the bottle of aspirin.
‘The 5th Wave’ has a setup that sounds great on paper; aliens have invaded Earth and have launched four waves of attacks on humanity in an effort to eradicate our species. High schooler Cassie (Chloë Grace Moretz) is left to fend for herself in a world drastically changed, and must rely on her wits and the help of a new friend to rescue her younger brother from a perilous situation. Unfortunately, Cassie is quickly stripped of her agency, forfeiting the bulk of the heroics to her male co-stars, making it hard to understand why the story follows her point of view to begin with.
To her credit, Moretz delivers as strong a performance as can be expected with such a weak script. Maika Monroe and Liev Schreiber are in a similar boat. Their characters are paper thin and clumsy, none of which falls on the feet of the actors who seem to be trying their hardest with the material. The same cannot be said for romantic leads Ben (Nick Parish) and Evan (Alex Walker), who both apparently called in sick on the day they were handing out charisma. When a film forces a female lead to hand her power over to male objects of interest, its cringe-worthy. When those male objects of interest are nothing more than personality-devoid zombies, it borders on insulting.
Unfortunately, ‘The 5th Wave’ is a hard pass for us. Even for those who enjoy the eccentricities of the young adult genre and can give some of the cheesier elements a pass, this film still falls painfully low of the bar set by other more successful YA franchises.
Written by Will Lindus, Movie Bears Podcast