The 5th Wave (2016) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace

5th-Wave_posterBased off the three book series, ‘The 5th Wave‘ stars Chloe Grace Moretz as a young girl named Cassie, who after the arrival of an alien race finds herself racing to save herself and her little brother after a series of deadly events plagues earth. The film is directed by J. Blakeson and also stars Nick Robinson, Alex Roe, and Liev Schreiber.

It’s yet another book to film series where youths must race to fight back against the enemy, except this time its aliens. Having not read the books I will solely be reviewing the movie as it is. With these young adult adaptations the market for these book to film transfers is high, given we already have ‘The Hunger Games‘, ‘Divergent‘, ‘Maze Runner‘, and now ‘The 5th Wave‘. The idea of an alien race coming to earth and setting off a chain of events is different from what we’ve seen in the other franchises. So already you get invested and are curious as to what will happen next.

There are five waves that cripple the earth, starting with an electromagnetic pulse that shuts down power. The second wave is a series of large waves that destroys coast lines around the world. The third wave is a plague-like disease that spreads to infect the remaining populations which is followed by large swaths of death. The fourth wave is where “the others”, as they’re called, take over human hosts and blends in with the human population. And lastly the fifth and final wave is how “the others” will manage to make earth their new home by eradicating the remaining survivors.


In a nut shell that is the gist of the movie and what is to be expected. Unfortunately, the movie does a terrible job of keeping the viewers focus as the pacing and script are unbalanced. We see the ramifications of the alien invasion at the start of the film where we see Chloe Grace Moretz’s character, Cassie, fend for herself after losing her family and venturing to save her brother. I didn’t feel as if this role was a good fit for Moretz, let alone uncomfortable, as she looked out of place compared to other films she had starred in. There were moments where Moretz tries to show off fear or strength but never did it pay off because of her reactions to certain situations. Chloe Grace Moretz is a good actress who’s proven that in ‘Kickass‘, but compared to a Jennifer Lawrence in ‘The Hunger Games‘ it’s a bit of a disappointment.


We also see Nick Robinson who plays the leader of the fifth wave and is friends to Cassie and her brother Sam (Zackary Arthur). He didn’t bother me as much as Moretz’s character does where for Robinson his role actually suited him as being a leader. I feel as the though the series will surround Chloe Grace Moretz as the main player, however, I could see Robinson play a much bigger role as time goes on. Then we get to the lull of the film as we mention Alex Roe who plays as Cassie’s love interest Evan Walker. Neither impressed or entertained by his presence, he seemed like a wasted opportunity. The same could be said for the film as whole.


There are sure to be differences from the book and the movie, but I have to say the execution for the first book is abysmal. It can be sensed from just the first 45 minutes that the studio was saving all the best parts for the next entries. And that in case is the problem I had because very little is revealed about who “the others” are and what they look like. Now it’s okay not to give everything away in the first installment because you want to carry the momentum into the next film; however, so little is given to keep the audience invested that you wonder if the movie was justified being made where so little happens. A good portion of the movie, primarily the middle section, is focused on Cassie getting to her brother and her development with Evan that it took away from the alien race itself.

Bottomline, this wasn’t a good start to the series. With very little to get excited about and a slow and drawn out drama with Moretz’s character of Cassie chasing after her brother your itching for way more. The studio took a safer bet but ended up suffering for it with a lack of suspense or action. Let’s just hope ‘The Infinite Sea‘, as the second book is called, will give us everything we want and then some.

Rating: 5/10


What do you guys think? Are you planning to watch ‘The 5th Wave‘? Comment below and share your thoughts on the movie.

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