At this point, the dystopian sub-genre of YA (Young Adult) fiction is beginning to feel like Mad Libs. There are only a finite number of story templates in the world, but if you can literally plug-and-play the formula to guess the entire story arc, it can feel a little generic.
Thus is the case with the first trailer for Sony Pictures latest novel-turned-franchise “The 5th Wave.” The story – originally written by YA author Rick Yancey – follows Cassie (Chloe Moretz) as she attempts to navigate a world gone to hell in the wake of an alien invasion. As the titular 5th wave of attack looms, Cassie vows to find her baby brother and rescue him from the “Others.”
There could be a unique angle to this film, but the trailer sure isn't doing itself any favors. Replace aliens with “zombies” or “the Capitol” or “Jeanine Matthews” and you could barely tell the difference.
Based solely on this footage and the official plot synopsis, I created a fill-in-the-blank to accentuate how many times we”ve seen this story play out.
In a post-apocalyptic world, a girl named _______ lived with her family. They made the best of a bad situation by loving each other unconditionally. Then one day [catalyst] happened and [closest family member] was lost/in danger. Only the girl named _______ with her luscious hair and [unique color] eyes could rescue them. Taking only [sentimental object] as a remembrance, the girl vowed to train for her new life and survive [catalyst]. But then boys happened. Specifically [Boy A] and [Boy B]. While complete opposites, the girl was attracted to both. Though not equally attracted, with preference usually given to [Boy A]. Insert 200 pages of angst over choosing a boy, becoming hyper-competent at [skill of choice], and saving [most important family member]. In the end, [closest family member] comes to irreparable harm for “realism.” The girl and [boy of choice] wander into dystopian sunset. PTSD optional.
What do you guys think? Am I close? Did I leave out any crucial details of the dystopian teen genre?