The 5th wave as you would expect consists of 5 waves, and we are taken through them from first to fifth as we follow Chloë Grace Moretz experiencing them with her family, and some folks she meets along the way.
From the start we are deep into the story after wave four has kicked off, where we find our heroine scavenging for supplies. We are there with her when she has to decide to kill and live for sure, or hope that the man she finds curled up in the back room of this very picked over gas station is not one of them.
Shortly after their sudden arrival the visitors kill all electrical systems on earth with one big EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) This brings down our plans, sends our cars crashing into each other and even removes the utility services like running water. Anyone left is now either running for cover anyplace, or just sitting at home and staring up at the sky.
Next they cause shockwaves to send all large bodies of water rushing up, and over any coastal, lakeside towns and islands are wiped clean. Killing off anyone in those areas completely.
The dirtiest so far by far. The visitors take the most virulent of viruses that we have yet seen (the avian flu) and make it more virulent and much deadlier. This kills most of the remaining folks, but some are of course immune, and the rarest few even get sick, then recover.
Now that there are so few people left and most are holed up hiding wherever they can the visitors have taken to using sleeper agents who are partially alien themselves and were seeded on a previous visit. These agents act like us and look just like us. They were human by all descriptions until something was switched on in them that removed their Humanity, and makes them want nothing more than to kill the remaining few humans.
So this is where we come in just before we discover what is to be The 5th Wave. Our young champion has had to grow up quickly with everyone around her dying off, or possibly becoming the enemy themselves. Having been separated from her little brother who she will do anything to protect, and who was just taken by the soldiers to “safety” we can feel her need to get to the location that her brother has been taken to and get him back.
The story is very much a straight forward Aliens invade man gets squished story with that little bit of human magic running through it. Against odds that should be the level of ant to magnifying glass our girl finds friends in unlikely places, and people who she felt were gone forever are there when she needs them. The ground is always breaking up or water is rushing in just behind them in the endless running, or driving scenes to build micro tensions in the Macro of it all. A teen romance film is the core, and action is the meat around it.
The effects are really excellent. The CGI is tight, you can not see overlays as the gigantic waves smash into the tiny little 50+ story buildings. The scenes are set up really well with destruction everywhere in all its forms. I was left wondering how they ran a fleet of school buses through all that wreckage on the highways, but I let it go.
The musical score is provided by Henry Jackman with songs from Coldplay, Sia, Pitbull & Ne-yo, Mark Ronson ft. Kevin Parker, as well as Madeon ft. Passion Pit. Very light hearted popular music that fits the circumstances of the moment.
The strength of the human spirit is the magic that makes this type of movie work, and as long as you take it in with that in mind it all works. Last minute rescues, and nature saving the day here and there through sheer luck are the norm, and in this case they work. Maybe it was my desire as a human male to never see harm come to an innocent little animal like Chloë, but I really wanted her to succeed.
Now, if I was asked to tell you right now if I liked this movie or not I would say that I did, and that it would be something that you could take the whole family to. Chloë swears more than most of the soldiers, and there is a lot of blood, but that really is the worst of it. Gamers will get a lot out of this movie as it plays out like a game. Solid pacing.