tek's rating:

The 5th Wave (PG-13)
GK Films; IMDb; Rotten Tomatoes; Sony Pictures; TV Tropes; Wikia; Wikipedia
streaming sites: Amazon; Google Play; iTunes; Movies Anywhere; Vudu; YouTube

Before I watched this, I assumed I'd put my review in the science fiction section, and possibly link to it, secondarily, from the dystopian section. After watching it... I wasn't quite sure where to put the review. There's barely a sci-fi element to it, so I didn't want to put it there. And the dystopian (or rather, post-apocalyptic) element was iffy. (More apocalyptic than post.) I sort of thought maybe "action" or "war," but... eh... of all the vague possibilities, I guess apocalyptic is least vague. Oh, also I should say this is based on a book I haven't read. And it wasn't particularly successful, critically. But I liked it. It's not awesome and I probably will never watch it again, but I liked it.

The main character (and narrator) is a high schooler named Cassie Sullivan (ChloŽ Grace Moretz). The movie begins with Cassie looking for supplies in a gas station, sometime after an alien invasion has wiped out a large portion of humanity. It's very dramatic, but soon we flash back to the night before the invasion, when she was at a party. We learn that she has a crush on a guy named Ben Parish, though the two of them don't really know each other. The next day, a ship arrives in orbit around Earth. Over time, the aliens enact a series of waves of invasion. The first is an electromagnetic pulse that shuts down all power on Earth. The second is tidal waves that destroy all coastal cities and islands. The third is a virus that wipes out most of what's left of humanity. The fourth is infecting some of the surviving humans personally; the aliens are apparently parasites that latch on to human brains and take control of them.

Anyway... the third wave killed Cassie's mother. After that, she and her father and little brother, Sam, make their way to a refugee camp. Later, a military group from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base show up at the camp, to bus the kids to their base. The adults stay behind, since there aren't enough buses, but they're supposed to be taken to the base later. Sam gets on the bus, but he forgot his teddy bear, so Cassie goes back to get it, but the buses leave before she gets back. Meanwhile, the military is briefing the adults. It's then that we learn about the fourth wave... and the briefing ends in a massacre that leaves pretty much everyone dead, including Cassie's father. (After that, it seems she knows about the nature of the fourth wave, but I don't know how, because I'm pretty sure she didn't actually hear any of the briefing.) Anyway, she is determined to make her way to the Air Force base to find Sam. Along the way, she gets shot in the leg, but is then found and nursed by a guy named Evan Walker, who eventually decides to help her get to the base. Meanwhile, on the base, the kids are being trained as soldiers. This includes both Sam and Ben (code named Nugget and Zombie). Ben, or "Zombie," is the leader of his squad. Then a girl called Ringer gets assigned to their squad, and seems like a possible challenge to Zombie's authority. But she's fairly cool and badass.

Well... there are some plot twists (including the nature of the fifth wave), which didn't really surprise me. (At least one of them I saw coming all along.) Of course the heroes ultimately survive, and accomplish their goals. But I think it would be stretching it to say they "win," because the villains also survive and their plans haven't been remotely thwarted. (And I assume all this stuff happening in Ohio is just one of many areas where the aliens have plans going on.) There are a couple more books in the series, so I assume the unresolved issues are eventually resolved in the literature, but I don't expect there to be any movie sequels. Which is a shame. But whatever, I enjoyed watching the movie enough on its own merits.

post-apocalyptic index