The Fifth Wave (2016) Movie Review: Teen Apocalypse Rolls Into Lackluster Shore

Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for every Wave.

Take a Sip: each time Cassie narrates some shit. Take Two: if it’s about “humanity”.

Do a Shot: anytime there’s an Independence Day moment with a ship in the atmosphere.

Take a Drink: whenever the teddy bear gets some screen time.

Take a Drink: every time you wonder why a white girl wouldn’t scavenge a fucking scrunchy ASAP.

Shotgun a Beer: for the finale “Master Plan” monologue.

Community Review

How many beers do you recommend for this movie?
1 Beer! A Toast! Great Movie!2 Beers! Good Movie!3 Beers! Okay Movie!4 Beers! Mediocre Movie!5 Beers! Awful Movie!6-Pack! Bad movie! Do not be Sober!

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Movie Review

By: Felix Felicis (Four Beers)-

Just when you think it’s safe to leave the house, you find out man braids (and yet another teen franchise flick) are a thing. There are three truths we film critics here at MovieBoozer hold self-evident. The sun will rise in the east and set in the west, Die Hard and tequila are the only things you need on date night, and just when you think the whack-a-mole roller coaster of young adult novel adaptations is slowing down you’ll get slapped upside the head with one. Science fact.

This is not a drill, I repeat, this is NOT a drill.
This is not a drill, I repeat, this is NOT a drill.

The Fifth Wave follows Chloe Grace Moretz as, uh, hold on I’m plumbing the depths of my alcohol-soaked brain cells for the plot… Right, okay. We follow Moretz as “Callie” as aliens attempt to Independence Day the dominant species on Earth, which happens to be mostly attractive teens. Callie narrates the entire plot in-between watching her family succumb to wave after wave as she battles her way toward love, saving her brother, and an “explosive” finale. Get it? ‘Cause shit blows up? Yeah. Sorry not sorry for that one.

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Just watch this .gif on a loop for two hours instead. Trust me.

A Toast

The Fifth Wave (adapted from Rick Yancey’s young adult novel) earned my incredibly rare “better than the book” badge. Although, with this source material, that’s not exactly saying something because the novel literally made me dumber for having read it. Literally. Made. Me. DUMBER. The dueling dichotomy of mature concepts married with an incredibly childish style of writing caused my brain to explode trying to make sense of it. A team of trained ferrets is ghostwriting this review as we speak.

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A dramatic reenactment of my experience with the novel.

I didn’t hate myself for buying a ticket to this flick afterward but I can’t think of anything memorably positive about The Fifth Wave other than I definitely didn’t get stabbed in the parking lot on my way out and I got a good laugh during the finale (more on that later). But if you like visual vanilla pudding, then have I got the mediocre teen franchise flick for you!

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… And up your alcohol intake.

Beer Two

The Fifth Wave is where all of the plot holes lost in the dryer (and the last of my dignity) went to die. This flick is a hot mess of ambiguous, convoluted details simultaneously mixed with with the dumbest possible story arc. Take a ball of yarn, throw up on it, and stick it in a blender. Press “puree”. Now try and piece that gloopy shit back together.

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Congrats, you’ve now experienced The Fifth Wave.

I started writing down a list of all the plot-related WTF?! moments only to realize I was basically transcribing the entire script. Hall Of Lame Nominees include:

  • Writing in a diary during the apocalypse (BITCH RUN, DROP THE PEN AND FUCKING RUN FOR YOUR LIFE)
  • Thinking the aliens were done after the third or fourth wave (Like, they just flew billions of miles to fuck with us A LITTLE BIT?)
  • Not trusting anyone then IMMEDIATELY trusting Hipster Paul Bunyan (I’ve made better judgement calls blackout drunk)
  • Stopping during a search and rescue finale action bonanza to hash out relationship problems then make out a little bit (It’s cool, not like you’re IN THE MIDDLE OF SOMETHING PRETTY TIME SENSITIVE OR ANYTHING)

Sometime during bullet point number four I began laughing uncontrollably (it was either that or start lighting shit on fire). Judgement calls were made.

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-Me, 100% of the time during The Fifth Wave.

Beer Three

I spent most of The Fifth Wave in a constant state of deja vu because, as it turns out, this flick is a carbon copy, Frankensteined-together bitch of pretty much every other movie ever made. Giant Independence Day alien ships in the atmosphere? Check. Illicit, Host-like romance? Check. More Host-y desperation to rescue a sibling? Check. Pacific Rim-waves of increasing attacks on the earth’s population? Check. More Host-ish parasitic aliens indistinguishable from regular humans? checkkk-wait. This movie is basically a shittier version of The Host… And that’s saying something.

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Channing Tatum does not approve.

Beer Four

The characters in The Fifth Wave had about as much depth as a puddle and/or dealer’s choice Kardashian; I’ve been more emotionally invested in Dance Moms than this aggressively “meh” ode to young adulthood. So little time is spent developing anything other than the absolute basic motivations that we’re left to fill in the gaps ourselves or just let shit slide because, hey, that cute guy is half naked in a pond! Ooooooooo!

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-My internal monologue the entire time.

The PG-13 rating also left little wiggle room to create tension with violence or sex, you know, the good stuff. The most we get is simulated war, wrapped bodies, and some implied banging in an abandoned vehicle. I’ve seen more done with less and what potential The Fifth Wave had was flushed down the toilet faster than drugs during a Coachella Fest raid. Allegedly.

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Drugs not hugs, kids.

Verdict

Forgettable in every way, The Fifth Wave is like taking a mental nap with your eyes open where you blink and two hours of your life are gone. Go see Sisters instead. Trust me, I’m a *doctor (*highly functioning alcoholic).

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About Felix Felicis

Filled with smart-assed sass and armed with the expletives to prove it, Felix Felicis is a critic adrift in a sea of dirty thoughts and tawdry humor. If you see her float by, toss Felix some beef jerky and a taser. She'll take it from there.

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