By Devontae Comrie
The 5th Wave is an American science-fiction action and suspense film, directed by J Blakeson. The film is pretty simple. Actress Chloë Grace Moretz plays Cassie Sullivan, a girl who is on a journey to find her brother Sammy portrayed by Zackary Arthur, in the midst of an alien invasion on Earth. The aliens which they call The Others, invade the planet, giving off a series of “waves” that eliminates humanity. The first wave was a power out that indefinitely killed all electronics, from phones, to engines, to airplanes, all power was eradicated. The second wave was a massive earthquake that not only caused great fissures but created gigantic tsunamis that destroyed whole cities. The third wave was a genetically altered virus that was spread through the use of birds, killing millions including Cassie’s mother. The fourth wave was The Others leaving their ship and taking over human bodies as hosts. Following the death of her mother, Cassie, her dad, portrayed by Ron Livingston, and her brother make home at a refugee camp. They are soon separated as the army comes and takes the children to a base camp and leave the adults behind. However, Cassie gets left behind as well trying to retrieve a bear her brother left behind. As no one knew that she was left behind, she watches a meeting the army is having with the adults and witnesses a massacre as the soldiers kill all of the adults and leaves. Alone with no parents left, she sets off to go find her brother at the army base camp.
The reason I chose this movie was because of the trailer and the title of the film. The title of the movie struck me. Generally, when you hear the fifth wave you have to wonder what the first four waves could have been. This is when I looked up the trailer to get more information. The trailer of the movie was edited in a way where you see a lot of action and suspense in the film. We see firearms and weapons as well as natural disasters destroying the Earth. This comes off as the typical action blockbuster that grasps your attention and makes you want to buy a ticket and go watch the movie opening night. Also, I remember seeing actress Chloë Grace Moretz in a number of television shows and films in the past, and her performance is always intact with the role that she plays. So seeing her in the trailer was only more reason that I go out and watch this film.
The acting in this movie was done very well. Chloë Grace Moretz portrayed her role as Cassie perfect. She made the character round, progressing and adapting to the environment as she is exposed to dangerous situations like hidden snipers in the woods and danger such as sneaking into an enemy territory in order to save a loved one. She gives Cassie a sense of innocence and respectability as we see she is a normal teenage girl who is scared and just trying to survive the end of the world. Nick Robinson portrays Ben Parrish, a schoolmate of Cassie who was drafted to the same base as her brother. Throughout the film was also see Ben as a round character. He has a regular life as a football star in high school who is liked by all, and suddenly his world is changed with his family dying, and him all alone. We see how distraught and emotionally unattached Ben becomes, as he earns the nickname Zombie for having a dead and nonchalant face all the time. As the film progresses we see emotions begin to stir and take effect, such as him tying up Sammy in the bathroom so that he would not go on a dangerous mission with them and get injured.
The structure of this movie was unimpressive. The beginning started off well. Cassie is shown going through an abandoned market and coming across a wounded man. They both are afraid trying to convince the other that they are not aliens while holding each other still at gunpoint. The man puts down his gun and is about to show proof of his injuries, but the glare from his crucifix alarms Cassie, causing her to shoot him dead. Then the story rewinds back to the time before The Others came to Earth, and we watching the events one by one that led the film to the opening scene. I found that to be very well put. It gives the audience an idea of wonder and suspense, causing them to be anxious and eager to watch and see what events could have unfolded and led to the opening scene. I also praise director J Blakeson on the narration heard during the beginning scenes of the film. Cassie dictated clearly and extremely well. She faultlessly explains each wave with depth and gives the audience a great explanation for not only what is happening to the planet but what’s going on with her herself and her change. One particular part of the narration that caught my attention was when she explained the third wave. She tells us how there are millions of birds in the world, with about a seventy-five birds to one ratio between birds and humans. She then explains how The Others spread a virus through the use of birds. Because of her information about the number of birds on the planet, we see exactly how critical the situation is and how contagious and fast the infection was passed around.
The middle and ending of the movie were not so flawless. We begin to see some predictability and foreshadowing that makes it easier for the audience to know what is going to occur next in the story line. Colonel Vosch, who is portrayed by actor Liev Schreiber, gives off a questionable vibe throughout the film, leaving the audience to suggest he is a villain in disguise, which happens to be true. One scene we see this in is when the soldiers kill all the adults at the refugee camp. As soldiers, you would think their duty is to protect people and here they are seen doing the exact opposite. Evan Walker, portrayed by Alex Roe, is a man that saves Cassie after she is shot in the leg and left for dead on her way to find her brother. When Cassie wakes up and regains consciousness after being shot, she asks Evan for her gun to which he replies he never saw a gun when he found her. After looking into his room she finds her gun hidden under the floor. When she tries to leave he stops her, informing her that he only lied so that she would not shoot him when she woke up. The alibi that he gives was extremely up for grabs, leaving off a hint of dishonesty. Later in the film these feelings make sense as it is discovered that he himself is also an Other. The plot of the film also becomes purposeless as we don’t exactly get a feel for why the aliens are invading the planet. When Ben asks Colonel Vosch why his kind is invading the planet, he simply replies that they are occupying a space they need. This leaves us open-ended, wondering why such a planned out invasion for such a vague motive.
The color of the film was expressed to fit the theme. The majority of the film we see dark and dull colors. These show the dull and dreary mood of the world ending. The different shades of gray, blue and black suggest the struggle and negative emotions the characters are feeling. There are scenes where the colors aren’t so down and gloom. At Evans house, we see a lot of brown and green and yellow, giving off a warm color set. This usually represents comfortability and security. They represent a safe haven, which is what the director wanted as it was the place Cassie was taking too after being shot in the leg. At the end of the movie, we see bright and vibrant lighting. This gives us positivity as the enemy base camp is destroyed and Cassie is finally reunited with her brother. We also see vibrant colors towards the beginning of the film as well, showing how good and normal things were before The Others attacked.
The visual effects of this film were not as good as I had hoped for it to be. As an action movie, you would hope for more clearly and intact special effects. One example of this during the scene where the first wave hits and a plane is falling out of the sky uncontrollably. The plane crashed and pieces of the debris fly onto nearby cars, which then proceed to explode on impact. The way the cars explode were a bit too unrealistic. Another example of disappointing scenes was the fight scene in which Evan and Cassie are in the car and are attacked by other Others. Evan engages them in combat and fights with them hand to hand, but the scene is a bit too dark to see every move. This takes away from the fight as you a forced to imagine what is happening instead of being in awe of it.
One thing that caught my interest were some of the camera angles in the film. A lot of close up shots were used when the characters were speaking of something important or personal, for example, when Cassie and Evan are in the woods and he asks her about her brother. She explains how she has to go get him and how she is waiting on her. There was also when Cassie woke up after being shot, we are introduced to Evan, but we do not see his face, only a piece of his body which for the most part is mainly blurred out. I like how this as done, showing a bit of mystery and curiosity as we sit and try to wonder who was the hero that rescued Cassie.
In conclusion, The 5th Wave was an overall decent film. The color scheme was well put together, giving off the proper moods when needed. The camera angles and lighting gave the film symbolism and added a sense of enhancement. The acting performed by the actors and actresses really gave development and depth to the characters they portray. The negative of the film lies within the storyline after the plot is introduced. It leaves the film with a good arrangement of actors just to have a senseless tale. One thing of this negative, however, is that it gives room for a sequel, something that can be made to redeem the original film. I recommend this movie to anyone looking for a science fiction plot, with the whole aliens and end of the world plot the film has going on.