‘The 5th Wave’ drowns in a convoluted plot (IANS Movie Review, Rating: **)

Film: “The 5th Wave”; Language: English; Director: J. Blakeson; Cast: ChloE Grace Moretz, Nick Robinson, Ron Livingston, Maggie Siff, Alex Roe, Maria Bellow, Maika Monroe, Liev Schreiber; Rating: **

With “Harry Potter”, “Twilight”, “Hunger Games”, “Divergent”, “Maze Runner” and now “The 5th Wave”, teenage novel series turned film franchises are starting to wear a little thin. Teenagers fighting for something in a dystopian world is not novel anymore.

Based on Rick Yancey’s teen novel of the same name, the film follows an Ohio teenager, Cassie Sullivan as she tries to survive in a world that is devastated by planned attacks from an alien species called “Others”.

These aliens make their presence felt by hovering in spaceships and releasing waves of destruction on Earth. The waves include electromagnetic pulses that black out cities, tsunamis, quakes and diseases.

As one of the last few survivors, Cassie has to learn the hard way to trust no one. She also has to rescue her kid brother, Sammy from being sent to a training camp established by the “Others.”

The film starts off with promise as a survival action film, when Cassie shoots a guy in self-defence. But then as the narration progresses, the film gets swept off and drowns in its own convoluted plot that includes a battle for survival against the aliens and a half-baked romance, giving the film an inconsistent tone.

The screenplay written by Susannah Grant, Akiva Goldsman and Alex Pinker, seems to have intentionally kept the best part of the novel out of the film. Also, the first three waves as well as the denouement are hurriedly compressed, making the narration feel like a rushed job.

The middle of the film feels dramatically inconsequential with forced, uninspiring scenes and overripe dialogues, making the film unsure of its pace and flow.

Packed with a bunch of young actors whose performance varies from natural to perfunctory, the film rests on ChloE Grace Moretz shoulders. As Cassie, she is convincing, both as a responsible individual and a smitten teenager who falls in love with Evan Walker.

In poorly developed characters Alex Roe as Evan Walker is eye candy with a perfectly chiselled physique and a charming face, Nick Robinson as Ben Parish – Cassie’s love interest before the siege – is wasted, Zackary Arthur as Sammy Sullivan is cute and Maika Monroe as Ringer their compatriot, is the only other standout performer nailing the tough girl part.

Among the adults, Maria Bellow as Sergeant Reznik, Liev Schreiber as Colonel Vosch and Ron Livingston as Oliver Sullivan – Cassie’s father – add some weight, but they simply don’t have enough screen time to make an impact.

With good production values, the film is still a let down as the visuals lack basic vision. There is nothing exceptional, every frame seems to be a derivative which includes computer generated images. Also, the production designs as well as the background score are run-of-the-mill.

Overall, Director J. Blakeson’s “The Fifth Wave” is watchable only if you have nothing better to do.

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