Weekly Review: The 5th Wave (2016)

The first wave knocked out the world’s power. The second sent earthquakes and tsunamis across the globe. The third wave killed the majority of the population with an engineered virus. With the fourth wave, they were among us. What will these aliens do for the fifth wave?

The 5th Wave is based off of a book of the same name by Rick Yancey, the first in a trilogy. I haven’t read the book, and I was completely unaware of it before seeing the movie. Based off of the previews, I was expecting the movie to be more of a disaster flick, an alien invasion movie similar to something like Independence Day. That’s not what it is. Don’t be fooled.

The overall plot of the film is really interesting, and I was really enjoying it, up to a certain point. The beginning of the movie starts with this series of waves, each pretty decently interesting. Unfortunately, the movie seems to rush through them. I would have enjoyed seeing more of the first three or four waves, rather than the movie focusing on the impending fifth.

My main issue with the movie was that at a certain point, it changed from being about an alien invasion to being a mixture of several different YA novels meshed into one. Suddenly, there was a forced romance subplot that took away from the overall goal of the main character. It drags the movie down, and it really took me out of it.

Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 7.19.47 PM

Now, the main character in The 5th Wave is Cassie, played by Chloë Grace Moretz. Normally, Moretz plays really spunky characters, but her portrayal in this movie is kind of flat. I was disappointed. I’ve read in other reviews that the movie really waters down the Cassie character in the first place, so there’s every possibility that Moretz didn’t have much to work with. I can’t really say.

Other actors that show up in this movie and bring some star power are Ron Livingston, Maria Bello, and Liev Schreiber. Schreiber plays a magnificent, menacing character as usual, so I wasn’t disappointed there. I was also happy to see Maika Monroe (It Follows) playing a fun character in this movie. You’ll also see familiar faces in the two love interests, Ben Parrish played by Nick Robinson (Jurassic World) and Evan Walker played by Alex Roe.

Like I said, the overall story with the alien invasion was really interesting to me. It was fun to try to predict what the fifth wave would be and who wasn’t actually human. It was just that forced romantic subplot that really killed it for me. Again, I haven’t read the book, and I’m sure, as with most movie adaptations, the book is better. The book may even present the situation differently so that it’s not distracting. I can’t be sure unless I read it myself.

Overall, I was really excited for The 5th Wave. I was sure it was going to be a movie that I really enjoyed, but it ended up just being pretty forgettable in a sea of YA movie adaptations like The Host, Divergent, and Maze Runner. Other reviews I’ve seen have similar thoughts on the subject, and the movie has average to negative reviews online.

Many reviews do recommend the book though, so if the trailer interests you, like it interested me, maybe the book is a better route to go.

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