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Just what the world needs, another dystopian YA film. While watching this I thought of the films: Hunger Games, District 9, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Ender’s Game, Starship Troopers, Twilight, Contagion, and a few others. Now, take the worst tropes of those films and gear a film for teens, and you have this mess. It’s poorly directed, edited, written, and the only thing it has going for it is Kick-Ass star Chloe Grace Moretz.  The talented Liev Schreiber and Maria Bello are wasted as gung-ho military types.
So, aliens have attacked Earth and they’re killing humans in waves. If memory serves (even though I saw it last night), the first wave is literally…a wave. The aliens have all the water (lakes, rivers, oceans) creating massive tsunami like conditions. The second wave has a version of the bird flu virus killing a large part of the population. I forget the other two waves, but the 5th has aliens taking over human bodies and trying various tricks to kill the few human survivors on the planet. I was never sure how the filmmakers thought that the heroine would, after watching her parents die and trying to rescue her little brother — have time to flirt with not one, but two hunky guys (Alex Roe and Nick Robinson, doing his best young Johnny Depp impression).
It was cute when her friend texted her at school, something along the lines of “I’ll tell Ben Parrish (Robinson) you’re available for ‘end of the world’ sex.” At that point, things hadn’t been so horrific and you can see teens saying that. Yet when it gets to a point in the movie where Chloe can’t trust any other human, has already been shot and even shot somebody else…I don’t buy her going into the backseat of a broken down car, no matter how hunky the dude is or how he may have helped save your life. Sex is the last thing that’s going to be on your mind (especially when aliens could show up at any minute). But hey…she just saw those 6-pack abs as he was bathing in the river. What’s a girl to do?
At one point in the movie, the Army recruits (drafts) young kids to fight the aliens. This gives us a whole host of other characters and possibility to be interesting. It wasn’t; even with tough, goth female soldier, Ringer (Maika Monroe, trying her best to be like Emily Blunt in the fun Edge of Tomorrow). Unfortunately, her first few lines sound like Francis in Stripes (Bill Murray). She says, “If ya touch my stuff, I’ll kill ya.”
Yikes. I’d be sure to stay away from her footlocker.
It’s amazing to think that this movie was co-written by Oscar-winning screenwriter Akiva Goldsman (Beautiful Mind, Cinderella Man, I Am Legend) and Susannah Grant (Erin Brockovich, Pocahontas), whose been nominated for an Oscar.
There were too many unrealistic moments in this movies. That doesn’t just mean involving aliens, but the small stuff. In a flashback, we see Chloe at a typical teen party. Beer is flowing, boys are flirting, and…she gets home and tucks her younger brother into bed and sings him a song to help him sleep. Huh? What blonde girl on the school soccer team is coming home and doing that? Oh wait…that gives her the ability to say in voice-over narration, “That was the last time I saw my brother.”
The bad dialogue and weak acting really hurt a lot of this movie, as well as the score, which made it delve into Twilight territory.
There was also a lot less blood than you’d imagine, with 99% of society killed. They really wanted to nail that PG rating, so I’m guessing they cleaned up the violence from the book.
There were a few cool visuals, but when every single thing that happened was predictable, it really makes this a series (since it’s based on a trilogy) that isn’t welcome.
If you want to see teens fighting aliens, go back five years for the criminally under seen Attack the Block (with future Star Wars star John Boyega).
This movie could’ve been a lot worse, but really…if you’re over the age of 16…you’re not in the demographic.
1 1/2 stars out of 5.