The 5th Wave (2016)
112 min., rated PG-13.
Another year, another adaptation of a YA sci-fi novel that’s only the first of a trilogy. It’s a problem when so many films of this ilk come out so close together that every new adaptation has a homogenized, been-there-done-that air about it. Case in point: ”The 5th Wave," based on Rick Yancey's 2013 novel, starts with enough promise before it goes by way of every other (post)-apocalyptic story about that one teenage girl who can save mankind but must also choose wisely between two hunky teenage boys. Life is tough enough when the world is coming to an end, isn't it? Director J Blakeson (2010’s impressive kidnap-thriller “The Disappearance of Alice Creed”) and writers Susannah Grant, Akiva Goldsman, and Jeff Pinkner—three screenwriters is rarely ever a good sign—don’t offer too many novel ideas to this generally derivative blueprint, but it is sufficiently entertaining in a mixed-bag sort of way and the dependable Chloë Grace Moretz does her best to fireman's-carry the proceedings.
“Twilight” and “The Host,” as will a gratuitous bit where Cassie spies on her paramour bathing in a river and revealing his cut torso.
As is to be expected from an 18-year-old actress of her caliber, Chloë Grace Moretz brings weight and pathos to Cassie. On the page, this character is a prototypically strong heroine, but Moretz is such an instinctive actress that she makes Cassie’s arc into an instinctive fighter more believable. Nick Robinson is up to the physical challenges, but he’s slightly underserved by the script, giving him few character traits as Ben Parish. As the resourceful third-wheel-with-a-backstory, Alex Roe is handsome to look at, but what seems to be between Cassie and Evan is derived by obligation rather than a natural connection or chemistry. Despite a jet-black hair dye job and goth eye make-up, Maika Monroe (who was excellent in “The Guest” and “It Follows”) can’t always sell the badass toughness of Ringer, but she sure is cool to watch. In the untrustworthy adults-in-control roles, following Julianne Moore and Philip Seymour Hoffman in “The Hunger Games,” Kate Winslet in “Divergent” and Patrick Clarkson in “The Maze Runner,” Liev Schrieber and an unrecognizable Maria Bello almost class up the joint as Colonel Vosch and Sergeant Reznik, respectively, but can only do so much.
Grade: C +