As Young Adult films go, this one is a wave of tired half baked ideas strung together in a nearly two hour feature that doesn’t excite for any further instalments or truly grip us in a new way for the danger of aliens taking over our planet. It’s hugely average at best and that’s the kindest statement I can muster.
After being thrown in to meet Cassie (Chloe Grace Moretz) embarking through the woods to her first kill we take a few steps back to see how Earth has come to be so dangerous. A massive alien spaceship began moving over our world before halting and sending down four waves of plague like disasters that sent the planet into near oblivion. Cassie needs to get back to her little brother who’s been drafted in by army Colonel Vosch (Liev Schreiber) to shoot down the enemy visitors before they take over and complete the 5th wave.
To be honest I wasn’t expecting much and thankfully I didn’t receive much either so that’s alright. It seems to be trying to take off sci-fi and the young adult brand into the stratosphere but even with technology and this ever present hostile threat hovering over the survivors heads, there never seems to be any spark about this story. The whole movie feels stretched and tired as if we’ve seen all of it before, either in better science fiction films or similar YA outings. I may severely dislike ‘Twilight’ but undeniably that took off in a big way and made vampires a trend for a long time. I can’t see this movie getting a following for the planned trilogy or wanting more of these never seen aliens that sit back hiding in human bodies.
Based on a series of novels by Rick Yancey this plot doesn’t live up to the cool and dark ideas it could have played around with. I have never read or even seen the books but hopefully they’re not as weak as the screenplay suggests. Jeff Pinkner, Akiva Goldsman and Susannah Grant all miss the point as they unite to sketchily tell this tale of how a new Katniss figure must save her brother and fight back. The story is so bland and annoyingly predictable that what is clearly designed as a twist becomes a yawn moment because it’s seen from the very first moment and yet they don’t announce it until the last act. Also the whole romance angle is scripted like basic amateur hour leading to no heavyweight involvement for us into the characters we must follow.
More often than not, this film came across like a Nicholas Sparks creation, the gaping distance between two pretty white leads, the desperate background they must work against to get together. Maybe of course on a larger and more death defying scale but the film really felt like that genre more than the explosive sci-fi disaster theme it could and should have aimed for. That’s the thing, the idea isn’t terrible and the explanation of the waves however exploitative are actually interesting to watch unfold but then after that, all proceedings become a hashing of things most audiences have witnessed before.
Chloe Grace Moretz is likable as the lead and gives a feisty edge to Cassie when needed but then a lot of the time she’s subjected to gasping, staring into the distance or waiting for cardboard fantasy Evan to save the day. Alex Roe as Evan Walker becomes a laugh out loud character as his intentions/background are unveiled and he flits in and out of action when necessary to help the good guys progress. Nick Robinson has the forced upon good guy role and deals well with the quite bland character. As he leads his troops he portrays the weighty responsibility with conviction. Liev Schreiber is so steely eyed and typically army led that the secret is out as he rolls up with his crew, sorry for the spoilers but if you didn’t get it at that first point then this movie is like MENSA for you. I’m gutted Maika Monroe cropped up in this film, she looked cool and gave a neat bad ass touch but she too became bland as the obvious hardened softie. I thought she’d pick better films but alas.
This film falls flat and never picks itself back up again, whether it’s washed out with cheap effects or stalling along with obvious plot moments this dystopian release may as well be waved goodbye.