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Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Fifth Wave: Pretty Good, Actually

Just saw The Fifth Wave on Starz.  The film received a fistful of negative reviews - see the summary on The Fifth Wave's Wikipedia entry - but I find critics to often be pretentious ignoramuses anyway, and guess what, I liked the movie.

Which is not to say it's great - far from it - but it has a lot to like.  Apropos Starz, it has a lot of impressive star power, with Liev Schreiber (Ray Donavon), Maggie Siff (Sons of Anarchy), and Maria Bello (kitchen sink) in very well-played supporting roles.  And as to the leads, Chloë Grace Moretz, Nick Robinson, and Ron Livingston are more than good enough to carry the story.

And what is the story?  Well, alien invasions are as cliched as they come, but this one manages to break some new ground, in the five-stage (five waves) strategy they apply to rid the Earth of us, the human inhabitants.   The key is explained about two-thirds through the movie: you bomb a house for insects, but some always survive, so you have to devise more innovative, hand-to-bug methods to get the very last ones.   It's a strong idea, straight from the 2013 novel of the same name by Rick Yancey.

Since I haven't read the novel, I don't know if the one part that bothered me is due to the book or the movie adaption.  It was a ham-handed love conquers all theme, wherein an alien guy falls in love with the heroine Cassie, and turns on his own kind to help her and humanity.   Not that I object to love as a motivator.   But laying it all out in a five minute narration was not very convincing, and only made it because Chloë Grace Moretz as Cassie is so innocently appealing.

But when the movie was over, I found myself wanting more of the story, which means with all its flaws, The Fifth Wave did a lot right.   Let's hope there's a sequel.  And, critics, should you see it, get your heads out of your backsides and learn to relax and enjoy a movie.

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