The 5th Wave
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The 5th Wave

What of the richest sources of materials currently being mined by screenwriters is was known As ‘YA’, young adult fiction. Examples such as ‘The Hunger Games’, ‘the Twilight Saga’ and ‘the Divergent Series’, such a bountiful vein or material undoubtedly be supplying Hollywood for a number of years. Among the latest offerings from this trend is ‘The 5th Wave’. The source material was an adaptation of Rick Yancey’s 2013 novel of the same name which is the first installment of an almost finished trilogy. There was a gamble for the offer to sell the rights to an unfinished saga. The first two novels are complete and published the third one is set for release later on this year. Considering the film comes across as a lackluster rehashing of an overplayed post-apocalyptic trope, association with the film the might be the cause of some concern for the publishing house handling the third novel. The movie made back less than $38 million budget albeit only a few million dollars that is sufficient to place the translation to film it down for the remaining two books. As the title suggests the audience comes into this story in Medias res. Earth has suffered an invasion by hostile extraterrestrials released four waves of attack upon our planet. The first rape was the power outage, a blackout that point of the world back to a time prior to any modern technology. The second wave was the induction massive seismic events which among other things resulted in tsunamis that devastated the coastal cities of the globe. Next the road was visited by the third wave; an avian plague of pandemic proportions. The most recent attack resulted in the activation of alien brains implanted in hapless humans that have survived the onslaught thus far. They have seen much of this before; albeit not in such a well-defined, serialized fashion distort reality of filmmaking, particularly in the very specific genre of YA post-apocalyptic sci-fi, the bar has been set amazingly high while everyone involved in this production obviously gave their best to achieve success is an uphill battle with the incline set too steeply to permit access to anything even close to the filling it’s potential. A major part of this is its full potential fell short of similar works.

As the movie begins be introduced to Cassie Sullivan (Chloë Grace Moretz), a very pretty young woman who happens to be carrying an assault rifle. This is the film can be said to be get in the middle. What Cassie emerges from a wooded area onto an old road with an abandoned gas station and begins to search it for anything that might be of use. She hears a noise, a man crying out for help. She’s met with a man holding a gun on her. As the boat begin to lover their weapons and a sense of mutually assured destruction, Cassie notices the glint of metal as the man pulled something out of his pocket. She merely shoots and but the audiences shown that the glint came from a crucifix. This pushes us back into a flashback that is supposed to explain how we came to this particular time and place. However it is representative of how much of the film is presented. The audience sees the flesh or something that appears interesting, sufficiently intriguing us to want to see more only to be mired down in exposition. In this case, however, there was a special necessity for the technique. The audiences informed about the four previous waves inflicted upon earth by the invading aliens known only as ‘The Others’. It is a prudent measure here it is not makeup of the other times for the audience is enticed by something that doesn’t pan out completely.

Cassie is a young woman on a mission. She had vowed to herself that she will rescue her 5-year old brother, Sam (Zackary Arthur), from the clutches of an alien reeducation camp. But how attractive and proficient the young actress in the lead may be a solo mission would be far too difficult to implement. As such Cassie is surrounded by other members of the squad looking to fight back against The Others. During this initial flashback to get a brief glimpse as to the last moments of normal life for the planet Earth. After the massive disruption of the first waves most of the population is scattered and disoriented, many herded into makeshift refugee centers. It is during this part of the film we are introduced to Cassie’s family. A mother, Lisa (Maggie Siff) is lost during the third wave. Her father, Oliver (Ron Livingston) is lost during the fourth wave. After this she is set upon the familiar plot device of the rolling stone that gathers additional characters rather than moss. The first is a high school classmate introspective boyfriend, football player Ben Parish (Nick Robinson) who goes by the nom de guerre of ‘Zombie’. When Cassie is injured she is helped by a stranger, Evan Walker (Alex Roe). Cassie finds herself drawn to him in a relationship does seem to begin. While this Good Samaritan seems innocuous at first he is shrouded in mystery that is concealing his decidedly sinister motives.

There is considerable set up of various storylines during the second act as his cadre of post-apocalyptic wanderers meander around the desolate landscape that is occasionally punctuated by some action. It should be natural in such a scenario to create believable dangers at every turn whenever the nomadic team is faced with danger it usually appears as contrived. This is really a shame since if handled properly this could have been a very exciting film. As with everything Hollywood is all about timing. The studios were hoping that now that most of the major blockbuster YA franchises have concluded this one could’ve been the bed next big thing. My trouble that wasn’t counted and unsuccessfully handled was the necessary reduction material found in the novel in order to make a movie realistic running time. In most cases entire plot threads exorcised on the story. A few of the less crucial storylines are removed in their totality. This frequently necessitates dropping a character or two along the way was never introducing them. In the case of this story extraneous plot lines were retained in the running time achieved by making cuts within the remaining threads. This led to a serious problem in how the story unfolded.

The film contains far too many potholes to overlook. It is almost a genre defining quality that fiction of this sort requires a special degree of suspension of belief in order to pull the audience into a war defined by the context story. This is almost impossible to achieve in this movie. I was never able to establish a sense of being transported into a dark and dismal future that potentially could happen. Although the cast has proven themselves of possessing a considerable degree of ability there is little if anything to showcase your talent in this movie. At the end of the first act of a trilogy is an understandable necessity to leave certain plot points open leaving the audience wondering how the next installment will address those concerns. Unfortunately here the open-ended plot threads comes force is distinctively unfinished in such a fashion that the audience has insufficient attachment to the characters to be overly concerned with the story continuing. As the credits roll you have an overwhelming sense of unfinished business rather than the desired effect of concern for what happens next to your favorite characters.

Posted 04/25/2016

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