Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The 5th Wave

Year 9, Day 193 - 7/12/17 - Movie #2,687

BEFORE: Michael Keaton will be back here tomorrow, but for now I'm going to take advantage of some different linking to squeeze in this film, which doesn't link to a whole hell of a lot else, except maybe "Neighbors 2".  So now Tony Revolori carries over from "Spider-Man: Homecoming".

I had some time yesterday to really take a good, hard look at the schedule - I had no idea what I was going to screen when I get back from San Diego.  I found a few sci-fi themed documentaries on Netflix, like ones about the making of "Star Wars" or the rabid fans of "Ghostbusters", so I figured I could do a documentary break if needed, and that would give me 5 or 6 days to come up with a new chain.  But that won't be necessary, I figured out a way to keep my linking going after Comic-Con, then I may drop in that "geek week" of documentaries anyway, starting on August 1.  I swear, this will all make sense then.

But my linking opportunities are much greater, now that I'm considering a whole bunch of films that are on Netflix (or Academy screeners) that just weren't available to me, or at least I wasn't aware that they were, as little as 2 months ago.  Now it's a big jumble, I'll go from a film on Netflix one night to a film on a screener the next, then to the theater for a film in current release, then maybe something I burned to DVD a year ago - it's all fair game now.  The possibilities are much less limited, and I'm finding new pathways that I never considered before.  BUT, that doesn't really help reduce the size of my watchlist - I mean, it does, but it also sort of doesn't.

So the new plan, which will last me until about August 22, is a mix of films that has been on the list for a while, plus Netflix films, plus a couple screeners.  In the next 40 days, I'll at least remove 14 or 15 films from the Watchlist, and I can easily fill those slots again with what's running on cable now.  I'll also take about 22 films off the list of the films I WANT to add to the watchlist, which may get that list down to a manageable level, where I can check all the credits lists for those films, and organize it a lot better.  

All this is my roundabout way of saying that I've re-prioritized the list to get more of the films I WANT to see up closer to the top, and I'm starting to make a plan that will get me to the end of the year.  I know, it's July and the end of the year seems like a long way off, but it's really not.  I've got only 113 viewing slots left, 36 films in the current July/August chain, then (let's say) 25 horror films in October, and another 32 films that I want to watch in November/December - that's 93 films on the docket for 2017, and only 20 open slots.  But the November/December line-up is really 3 small chains that right now are not connected, I'm going to need some of those 20 slots to turn them in to one big chain, if that's even possible.  More research on this is required, but it means that I may not have as many open slots in September as I thought, and the end of the year is coming up fast. 

THE PLOT: Four waves of increasingly deadly alien attacks have left most of Earth decimated.  Cassie is on the run, desperately trying to save her younger brother.

AFTER: I'm not going to pretend like I know a lot about "young adult" literature - but I'm guessing that a lot of it is like this, it involves overcoming hardships while slowly outgrowing one's parents, taking those first steps into the adult world, maybe have one's first solid relationship.  But is an alien invasion backdrop really the best place for this sort of thing?  One of Cassie's parents doesn't make it through the third wave, and the other - well, let's just say this keeps my orphan theme from last week going strong.  So she figures she's got to go and find her brother, the only family she has left.  She doesn't know that he's fine, like all the other kids he's been taken away by the military to train and become a young solider, I mean, the children are our future, how else are we going to defeat these aliens?  They took away our technology, so we can't send robots or even drones to kill them, and forget about using planes like they did in "Independence Day"...

But this gives Cassie the chance to make goo-goo eyes at not one but TWO hunky teens, the one who defends her when she gets shot and nurses her back to health, and the other she meets later, an old high-school friend who's in the same military squad as her brother, and he's keeping an eye on him.  Really, what are the odds of that?

Thank God for plot twists - for a while there I thought I was watching the most boring movie ever made about alien invasions.  I saw this one coming a mile away, it was frustrating to wait for the characters to catch up and realize the truth about the situation.  The aliens look like regular people, or maybe they take over the bodies of regular people, we're not really sure - now, was this a calculated plot point or just a way to save money on make-up and costumes?  Anyway, we've seen this sort of thing before in all of the "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" movies, so really, the human race should have been better prepared.

But there's no real resolution here - it ends up feeling like the first book in a series, and God only knows if they're going to make more and continue the story or not.  I mean, this girl spent all of five minutes training to fight the aliens, it would be a shame for her to stop now.  Where else can we find someone so willing to stare directly into the camera with a look of concern?

EDIT: I forgot to mention the thought I had, after juxtaposing "Spider-Man: Homecoming" with this film - both of which deal with alien tech, by the way.  In the "Spider-Man" film, the Vulture steals tech that came from the Chitauri invasion seen in the first "Avengers" film, and in this film, aliens are the only ones with tech, after shutting down the humans' devices.  But right now, in the Marvel Comics Universe, there's this crossover called "Secret Empire", where the H.Y.D.R.A. organization, led by an evil Captain America (don't ask) has taken over most of the world, creating a human resistance, much like the one seen here in "The 5th Wave".  And at the same time, the Chitauri are trying to invade Earth again, but evil Captain America handled the alien invasion by creating a shield around the planet, which also had the benefit of trapping some of the resistance heroes in space.

But at some point it started to feel all too familiar - evil leader who built a wall around the planet to keep out aliens.  It's all quite Trump-like in its symbolism - was Captain America afraid that the Chitauri were going to take jobs away from Americans and decrease our standard of living?  Was H.Y.D.R.A. poised to "Make Earth great again"?  And how does this change the interpretation of "The 5th Wave"?  Are "The Others" here supposed to be code for something, like foreigners or gay people?  (They look just like us - but they want to replace us!)  I would guess that the teens' fear of adult aliens sort of plays on the arguments that all teens eventually have with their parents - the parents/aliens want the kids to behave/submit and do what they say - but the teens eventually will win out, because at some point they become adults, and the parents/aliens don't live as long.  That's a rough idea about what this film might really be about in the long run, but I'm only workshopping that. The rating below remains the same.

Also starring Chloƫ Grace Moretz (last seen in "The Equalizer"), Liev Schreiber (last heard in "Creed"), Ron Livingston (last seen in "Vacation"), Nick Robinson (last seen in "Jurassic World"), Maria Bello (last seen in "Prisoners"), Alex Roe, Maggie Siff, Zackary Arthur, Maika Monroe, Talitha Bateman, Nadji Jeter, Alex MacNicoll, Terry Serpico (last seen in "Premium Rush").

RATING: 5 out of 10 numbered dog tags

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