By Héctor Guzmán
The 5th Wave is a science fiction novel series that is part of a 3 book trilogy. The film The 5th Wave was directed by J Blakeson, who is known for his thriller movie The Disappearance of Alice Creed. Chloë Grace Moretz stars in this movie as the main character. You might remember her from Kickass. Chloe also stars with Liev Schreiber and Nick Robinson. The film revolves around our world which is being overrun slowly by aliens. It focuses on a girl named Cassie Sullivan, which is played by Chloë, and shows how she is trying to survive the waves of attacks the aliens have done.
As the movie starts it gives us a glimpse as to what’s to come since it doesn’t start from the beginning. The first scene we are shown is Cassie running through the woods with a machine gun running to a destination. She comes to a stop next to a tree when right across from her she sees a gas station and a convenient store. Before she crosses the street she looks left and right to make sure no one is around. While she is crossing the street to enter the convenient store the camera angle shifts. We now get the view from inside the store as if someone is watching her approach the store. When she enters the store she scavenges what she can to take on her ongoing journey to an unknown place that we were not made aware of at the start of the film. While she is searching for things, she hears a sound inside the store. She searches the store and finds a room, inside that room she finds a man holding a gun with one hand inside his jacket. They both tell each other to put their guns down but Cassie tells him you first. When the man puts his gun down he tells Cassie that is was her turn. When she realizes that he has one hand in his jacket she tells him to let her see the hand he is hiding while slowly approaching him. Slowly the man starts to move his hand. The camera shifts again and zooms in onto his arm. Once he moves his hand far enough the sunlight cast a shine on an item he is holding, a scared Cassie presses the trigger shooting and killing the man. The camera shifts again showing us a terrified Cassie with her eyes and mouth wide open.
Colors give a movie it’s mood and feeling. Through out the movie, you don’t see many bright colors even in happy moments. The colors were very dull or very dark. The film was rated PG-13 not many dark moments in the film were shown but because the colors were dark and/or dull you could imagine what was going on. The brightest the colors got throughout the film was when they introduced the inside of the army base. The lights in that base were very bright which to me signified hope. Hope in the way that now the army has “rescued” them they have a fighting chance to actually fight back and push The Others away. The Others is the name that Cassie and everyone gave to the aliens. Even though the light was bright inside the facility everything else was dull and dark. While the colors of the film help play a big role in the movie the setting also has to play a part in how someone feels.
As to most movies the setting keeps shifting. We first start somewhere in the woods that is connected to some sort of highway as you exit out of them. the setting then shifts to the inside of a store. The store is nearly empty with windows cracked and everything messy. Since this is a post-apocalyptic film I wouldn’t expect a store to be filled with everything, I’d expect it to be empty or nearly empty as shown in this film. As the movie keeps going the setting shifts again, this time to a house party. This scene in the movie is very important, we get to see how life was for the people in film before The Others dropped in on them. Throughout all these shifts and changes of the setting, one thing kept repeating itself that helped the setting and clothing which kept changing stay together. The color. As I said above it helped give the movie that mood and feeling. While the clothing changed it didn’t change as much as the setting did. The clothing helped make the movie feel real. No one has the time to pack luggage’s and no one would have the time to struggle with it when the world is ending. While Cassie was running through the woods she clothing got dirty. This is what gave us the sense of realism. Scene after scene you can see her clothing stayed dirty. Another thing that helped make it real was the dirt on her face.The only time these 2 things changed was when she got shot and saved by Evan Walker who gets portrayed by Alex Roe. Everything in the film is believable until some of the effects begin. The tsunami effect didn’t seem as real as it could, especially with the technology we have today, they could have made the effects a lot better. The music also had to play a role in how believable the movie was.
Music in films add mystery, curiosity, danger, and excite the crowd. In this film the music we mostly get to here were instrumental. Some instrumentals were on point when it came to building suspense but on some points, it was completely off. One example of when it was on point was when they first were introducing the ship of “The Others. The instrumental was mysterious enough to make your eyes squint and made me lean forward while slowly tilting my head to the right. I like it when a movie makes me feel like this. It’s the reaction he was going for since we haven’t seen the ship. On another note, through the film, most of the music was on point. One part precisely that didn’t convince me was during a scene while Cassie was in school. All the electricity disappeared and all cellphones turned off. The kids looked outside and saw cars crashing into each other, complete chaos. They shifted their attention o the sky as they heard a weird noise. That’s when the mysterious instrumental kicked in. Normally I wouldn’t mind it, but seeing as we literally see an airplane falling down the mysterious music and element doesn’t do it for me. If he had placed an instrumental that inspired danger it would have been better since the kids were at risk of the plane crash landing on-top of the school. Another thing that helped the movie feel more realistic was the camera angles and techniques the director used.
A common technique used in movies is the Flash forward technique. The 5th Wave started with a Flash forward just to give people a feel for what the movie will be about or so people can see from the beginning how much one a certain character changed. Other common techniques used in this movie was the close-up, full shot, and the medium shot. Throughout the movie he uses a lot of close-up shots to make things feel personal, very rarely did he use the full shot. He also used the Medium Shot often when 1 or more character were involved in a scene. Another thing that helped the shots was the lightning. Background lightning was used to illuminate the background. One key lightning that was used was the Soft lightning. Through the dark scenes of the film this type of lightning added more drama and danger to the film. It helped us think what Cassie was thinking during her dark moments.
Chloë Grace Moretz could have done a lot better in the acting department. While a lot of part of the film were believable some were meh. Chloe’s character Cassie goes through a lot in this film, while i do understand that she needs to grow up fast, she grew up too fast. When her little brother Sammy, played by Zackary Arthur, Cassie goes back to get it leaving him on a school bus alone. She doesn’t tell the driver she’ll be back or anything. She hops off the bus and goes running in search of Sammy’s teddy bear. As she returns the bus closes it’s doors and starts driving away. Once the bus is out of vision she goes in search of her dad Oliver Sullivan, who’s played by Ron Livingston, who’s in a wooden house with the army and other adults. When the army tells the adults that they are going to a separate facility to get tested to see if they were being controlled by “The Others” one man takes a gun out while walking to the exit. The army points their guns at him but the man shoots. The army retaliates killing everyone inside that house. Cassie in the meanwhile is watching everything. Once everything is over she goes in to see if her dad is alive or dead. Once she confirms he’s dead she had to struggle in order to get one tear out of her eyes. That was a yellow flag for me. Soon after she collects a gun and the teddy bear and runs towards the forest. I was expecting her to cry all the way to the forest but that didn’t happen, she just ran. As she’s running she trips, while on the ground she realizes everyone she’s lost and launches a scream towards the sky. The camera goes black and all you hear is the echo of her scream. Throughout the movie, she doesn’t show any emotions and is just focused on trying to get her little brother home.
All in all, The 5th Wave was a good film. J Blakeson had some shining moments in the film that got me out of my seat. While Cassie’s performance could have been better the remainder of the cast did a good job. The color, the music, the lightning was great. It made everything connect with each other. One thing that stood out to me was Humanities will to survive. Even though it is a movie, I think Blakeson managed to transfer what we would feel in some situations into his film. Making some scenes even breath taking. As the film was ending it left us with a cliffhanger, what is the next step that Cassie and her allies will do? What will “The Others” try and do to get things back in the plan? these are all questions that the next installment of the film will answer. Granting us the privilege to see how he uses the techniques, music, and colors in the next film.