The 5th Wave (15)

The Light Cinema, New Brighton
From 22nd January 2016

Reviewed by Redskye

The 5th Wave is the first film adapted from a trilogy of novels. Further films are planned and I felt this had an impact on the pacing of the film, as happened with the two middle films of the Hunger Games trilogy, with which this film is being compared.

"Where's the aliens? I thought this was an alien film?" my twofer says. I realise at that moment that the film appeared to be a typical American teenage angst film. At the beginning it runs at an alternating slow/fast pace, there's little indication of the time scales involved. The central character is 16 year old Cassie Sullivan (Chloë Grace Moretz) whose parents are killed by the aliens who are referred to as the 'The Others'.

The slow sections of the film at the start are a real drag. It's Cassie reflecting on her cosy middle class American life through her diary in flash back to the days before the first wave. The first wave caused by The Others, which destroys every electrical and electronic controlled device across the world, including cars and communications using an EMP (Electro-Magnetic Pulse) something to note. The second wave caused by The Others includes earth quakes and consequential tidal waves, which wipe out billions. Those remaining humans, including Cassie's mother, are killed off in the third wave through a lethal alien produced virus, spread worldwide by birds.

The Fourth wave is invasion. Cassie, her father and younger brother find a refugee camp and later the US military roll into camp. Immediately you question how are their vehicles and communications working? Remember that EMP…

Suddenly, the military are ordering children and adults to be separated. The children are driven off, allegedly for their own safety, to a military base. Cassie is left behind while looking for her brother's teddy bear. The military commander informs the adults that The Others are indistinguishable from humans. Cassie sees her father killed during a shoot out with the military at the camp. Later on, she is shot by a sniper and then found by Evan Walker (Alex Roe) who nurses her back to health. She constantly doubts whether she can trust him or not.

Back at the military base the children are trained as soldiers. Firstly they're injected with RFID (Radio Frequency Identity) tracker chips in the back of the neck, later given helmets that show The Others as targets for them to shoot while out on missions. However, things aren't as they seem.

As the film progresses you start to get drawn in, but you're really never sure of the time scale of any of the events is it days, weeks or months. If you enjoyed the Hunger Games then you may well find something of interest in this film. While overly long and slow during the first half, all the interesting action takes place towards the end. On reflection it doesn't feel like a self-contained film but rather an extended taster of future planned films.

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