I feel pretty much up to my eyeballs lately in alien invasions, which is odd, since in both Colony, which I’ll review (starting on Thursday) and the upcoming movie The 5th Wave, debuting January 22, we never actually see them, or have any idea of what they want. But alien invasion movies, shows and books are right up my alley, so this trend (along with the summer’s sequel to Independence Day) is just fine with me.
The new entrant is The 5th Wave, based on the book of the same name by Rick Yancey. Unlike Colony (see my preview here), these aliens want us gone. Gone, dead, extinct. And they’re not kidding. Not taking prisoners, not negotiating. The movie looks to be very faithful to the book, a young adult novel that was the first in a trilogy.
What is the 5th wave? The first wave was darkness. Lights went out, planes fell from the sky. The trailer’s a little confusing on that – if there’s been something like a global EMP event, affecting all electronic communications, how can there be TV broadcasts? Maybe it will be explained, or maybe we’ll all be confused. The second wave is literal – monster tidal waves drowning huge segments of the population. The 3rd wave is illness – horribly contagious, terribly painful illness, wiping out large numbers of those left. And then we’re up to the 4th wave, which the book calls Silencers; and the 5th wave, related in many ways to the Silencers. But if I gave you more info on these, I’d be letting too much out. So, no more spoilers than you’ll get from the trailer, below!
The book follows two characters independently, for the most part, which made the first 2/3 of the book very spare and direct. Cassie (played in the film by Chloe Grace Moretz) is a high school student, not particularly resourceful or popular – an average 14 or 15 year old girl, with parents and a younger brother, Sam. After her mother dies of the aliens’ plague, her brother is taken with other young children by the military, and her father is killed, Cassie is on her own. She quickly learns that popularity means nothing, but she has to learn to fight for herself in her effort to find her brother. She meets another survivor, Evan (Alex Roe), who is also on his own, but by now, she has learned not to trust anyone – “people” may not actually be human.
The other is also a high school student, a football star, a Big Man on Campus. But by the time we meet him in the book, he’s survived the first four waves, and is rescued by the military and trained to become a fighter. He’s nicknamed Zombie (played by Nick Robinson, and we don’t learn his real name until late in the book), and quickly learns that all of his high school success means nothing in this new world. The film also stars Liev Schreiber and Ron Livingston, and was directed by J Blakeson.
The book was written toward a young adult audience, and the movie looks like it may be focused on the same audience. But it was fast-paced, well-detailed and exciting, particularly the last fourth of the book, where things come together and you learn more about the aliens. The next book in the series is The Infinite Sea, followed by The Last Star. I haven’t read these two yet, but they’re on my list, after how much I enjoyed the first one. Let me know in the comments below if you’re looking forward to the film!
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