We meet our protagonist Cassie Sullivan (Chloë Grace Moretz) in an idyllic middle class suburban setting with high school crushes, sleepovers and smart phones.
And one fateful day, everything changes. An alien spaceship parks itself somewhere in the sky and then launches a series of attacks. As it affects human civilisation’s basic necessities, one by one and millions of people die. The rest are left to survive ‘the 5th wave’ that threatens to wipe mankind off the face of the earth.
This is the premise of The 5th Wave. If it sounds interesting to you, then you may want to read the novel it is based on. I haven’t read it but it seems to have got a fair amount of acclaim, often described by critics as it having done with aliens, what the Twilight series did with vampires. A comparison with Twilight is hardly flattering in a literary sense. But at least, it seems to have struck a chord with the target audience of the young-adult category, reimagining the alien-taking-over-the-world trope in a teen romance setting.
But the film makes nothing with this; something that is already there. It merely props up the skeleton with a mediocre ensemble cast and follows the narrative of the novel.
It has the grit and subversive ambitions of The Hunger Games but doesn’t have compelling enough characters that deserve to be heroes in an epic.
The only time the film feels charged up is when the first big twist is revealed. But that, too, wanes away taking us back to the mind-numbing dullness of it all. The film tries to mirror ‘real’ global issues in its apocalyptic world: such as water and electricity shortage, Tsunami-like giant waves engulfing coastal areas, bird-borne diseases, and the contentious commitment of the US Army. But there is never any real sense of threat, only occasionally visual spectacles typical of a disaster movie.
Even the CGI usage is bereft of imagination — same old, same old. The 5th Wave is one of those movies that a critic uses as an example to get back at people who say they are jealous of the fact that we get paid to watch movies.