By Biv Abellana (Cebu City, Philippines)
Adapted from a YA novel, The 5th Wave created a lot of brouhaha that promises to follow in the footsteps of similar apocalyptic-themed YA novels adapted into films such as The Hunger Games and the Divergent series. It seemed to show a lot of potential in becoming the next blockbuster when various impressive trailers showed up online and in cinema previews by late last year.
This time aliens are the antagonists instead of the usual dictatorial and corrupt government that brought about a dystopian society, calling President Snow in Hunger Games and Kate Winslet (character name escapes me) in Divergent. Indeed, the movie in its first 15 minutes (or so…) was, in all fairness, riveting when the first 4 waves of alien attacks – power outage, earthquakes, tsunamis and disease – were being narrated by the protagonist Cassie, played by the beautiful and talented Chloe Grace Moretz. I actually felt teary-eyed when Cassie’s Dad along with the other parents were massacred by the aliens disguised as the US Army, and when Liev Schreiber is part of the movie, then you start convincing yourself that, yep, this movie is money worth guaranteed.
And surprise, surprise that’s the only part that was ever good in the movie. It turned for the worst when you realize that suddenly an eerie Twilight zone feel is creeping up when Cassie and love interest by a brooding, ‘too good looking for his own good’ boy, that turned out to be an alien, are falling hard for each other. With its familiar Edward Cullen-angst and non-human abilities (alien remember, just like the vampire geez), we are subjected to the cheap old tricks of the earlier YA genre (please enough with vampires, werewolves and zombies already, grrrr!).
It was like watching a trashy romance novel (50 Shades sans the BDSM), with the clichéd innocent girl paired with the obsessive (stalker much?), way too good looking guy, with all its broody and muscly glory (sigh). I was up for that because I like trashy romance novel (LOL!), but when my friends, my movie dates, complained that the 5th wave of the alien attacks didn’t make sense, I started wondering that, yeah, they are right. Why use human children to kill the last remaining humans? Why indeed? Is it because it’s a YA novel and the only way to attract its audience is to use children/teenagers as much as possible as the main characters? Oh well, don’t get your expectations too high on this one because you’re bound to be sorely disappointed.
The only saving grace in this part of the movie is the ‘Evans’ character and actor (Hello Alex Roe, what’s your number?); because I’m a romance novel junkie, remember? And thanks to Chloe Grace Moretz’ acting, it didn’t entirely turned out to be too Twilight because of her (whew). But I guess every potential young actor on its way to become an A-lister will have to undergo these kinds of genre movies, like sort of a “rite of passage” thing before they star in Oscar-worthy movies.
Cassie Sullivan: The first wave knocked out all the power, then the second wave hit. An earthquake strong enough to shake the entire planet. With the third wave disease spread across the world. By the fourth wave, they were among us.