Hey, there! Movie lover! C’mere. Draw near.
Have we got a deal for you.
For the mere inflation-swollen price of a single movie ticket, you can gain admission to what amounts to a mini film festival. So step right up, lay your money down and get ready for “The 5th Wave,” aka “Virtually Every Disaster/Dystopia/Sci-Fi Picture You’ve Ever Seen in Your Whole Entire Life”!
Gawk in awe at the giant alien mother ship, a clone of the one from “District 9,” hanging ominously over a panicked Earth.
Marvel at hijacking the plot of “Independence Day,” where nasties from outer space come and do the dirty to dear old Terra. We’re talking disasters of biblical proportions: globe-shattering earthquakes, city-drowning tsunamis (even in Ohio, for crying out loud), plague and fire. Each catastrophic occurrence is a wave of alien-manufactured woe.
Good grief! Didn’t we see this in “2012”? And “San Andreas”? And “Hereafter”? Yes, yes and yes!
But wait! There’s more. So much more.
“Invasion of the Body Snatchers” is here, with devious extraterrestrials taking over the bodies of hapless humans. They’re among us, but who are they? Who can we trust? Paranoia strikes deep.
Here too is “Insurgent” mashed up with “Ender’s Game,” as young kids get military training and automatic weapons to fight back against the unholy foe.
“The Hunger Games” is present and accounted for, with a romantic triangle in which a feisty heroine feels torn between two hunky fellows with startlingly soulful eyes. We pause the action for a back-seat snuggle between her and a hunk, and pause again, in the midst of a frantic chase, so that she and he — one hunk — can lock lips while the other hunk looks on abashed.
Yes, you have seen this all before, every last bit of it.
Well, OK. This probably you haven’t seen: feisty heroine schlepping through the apocalypse with an assault weapon in one hand and a teddy bear in the other. Her mission: return that bear to her kid brother, who has been abducted by the alien menaces. Frightened, then fearless, shot then saved, hunted and heroic, she never lets that bear out of her sight. It gets almost as much screen time as the human characters, who are played by Chloë Grace Moretz (the heroine), Nick Robinson and Alex Roe (the soulful hunks), Zackary Arthur (the kid brother) and Liev Schreiber (the main baddie).
Adapting Rick Yancey’s 2013 young adult best-seller, director J Blakeson and a trio of screenwriters bring nothing new to the party. And yet there will be a sequel. Like “The Hunger Games” and “Divergent” and “Maze Runner” movies, this film’s open-ended ending promises more to come as Yancey’s novel is the first installment in a trilogy.
And that’s too bad, because this picture stands as the best argument yet that the YA dystopia cycle has passed its sell-by date.
The 5th Wave
☆ 1/2 out of 5
Cast: Chloë Grace Moretz, Nick Robinson, Alex Roe and Liev Schreiber.
Director: J Blakeson.
Running time: 1:10.
Rated: PG-13, for violence and destruction, some sci-fi thematic elements, language and brief teen partying.