Somewhat Original Yet Mediocre | Review of ‘The 5th Wave’ (Film)

By Cynthia Ayala

'The 5th Wave' starring : Chloë Grace Moretz, Nick Robinson & Liev Schreiber Columbia Pictures Image Credit: The Cocoa Journal
‘The 5th Wave’ starring Chloë Grace Moretz, Nick Robinson & Liev Schreiber
Columbia Pictures
Image Credit: The Cocoa Journal

The human race stands on the brink of extinction as a series of alien attacks decimate the planet, causing earthquakes, tsunamis, and disease. Separated from her family, Ohio teenager Cassie Sullivan will do whatever it takes to reunite with her brother Sam. Fate leads her to form an alliance with Evan Walker, a mysterious young man who may be her last hope. Forced to trust each other, Cassie and Evan fight for survival during the fifth assault from the invaders.


A film that not even good acting and an interesting concept can save when presented alongside unbelievable plot devices that make the film tiresome.

Another mediocre film in the movie industry adapted from a book; some things just don’t translate well, and this is one of those films. However the film was not all bad and was, at the very least, a little entertaining and had good acting. There is talent here, that cannot be denied and given the material they were given; they did the best they could. I do not want to insult the story because it was creative and unique. The film follows and alien invasion and shows just how the aliens are working to destroy the humans, it builds momentum and keeps an element of surprise regarding how the alien invaders appear. No one knows what they look like creating paranoia within the film and addressing the aspect of humanity and what the destruction of humankind means for the people left alive. It is an excellent concept, which is probably what made the novel was a bestseller and winner of various films. However, that does not necessarily mean that the concept would travel well onto the screen. Let’s face it, the market of the movie is young adults and teens, and they do not have much money to burn, especially with movie prices going up.

So with the audience for the film a little narrow, the film has to make it work and make this movie appealing to the masses. It did not work. Sure, the movie looks interesting but there are some incredibly unbelievable scenes right from the beginning that stay with the audience, and not in a good way.

The film opened up very well throwing the audience into to thick of things, hooking them to the movie and the plot, rewinding to see how the character Cassie Sullivan (Chloë Grace Moretz) went from being just a regular girl to the gun-wielding scared girl on a journey to save her brother. The film does a good job of going building the story from the past to the present, raising the momentum of the tale by making the fear of the story and creating the intrigue surrounding the “Others” and their invasion. It is slow, but the energy regarding those scenes is captivating. While this was not an impressive film, it does have the right amount of energy, tension, and action to the movie the story along.

The biggest fault of the film is the moment with Cassie and her brother Sammy (Zackary Arthur). [Spoiler Alert if you have not seen the movie.] They are being evacuated, and he will not leave without his teddy bear, so his sister gets off the bus to get his bear and, of course, the bus leaves without her, leaving her to chase after it. So what does her brother do, he stands at the back of the bus and cries for her instead of saying something. Moreover, when he gets off the bus, he does not let anyone know that his sister got left behind. It was unbelievable especially since kids are conditioned to do the opposite, conditioned to bring attention to themselves and do something about being lost and forgotten. It was annoying, it was unbelievable and sorry, it was a stupid plot device to move the story along. Not to mention, it was predictable and cliché. It might read better on the page and to readers who are not critical and read for fun, which many do, but to the audience, who is viewing it in a different mindset, it was stupid. If that is how it happened the novel, which I promise I will read, it is one of those moments that does not translate well onto the screen. Not everything does.

That one moment stays with the viewer, and as I said before, not in a good way. It is irksome and sets the attitude for the rest of the film.

Not only that, but there are some continuity issues within the film every time it goes back and forth between Cassie and the military base. The span of time is not well addressed and raises some questions about what is going on when concerning one another. It is not cohesive, and one should not have to read the novel to follow the film.

It was not a terrible film and would be enjoyable for anyone really, but time slows at the worst moments and with scenes based on unbelievable plot devices it does not make the audience eager to stay. This is one movie where it is probably best to skip and read the novel. Again, interesting concept with interesting character but hampered by what is probably an ill adaptation. (★★☆☆C-)


—Film Credits—

Directed by J Blakeson

Based on The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Screenplay by Susannah GrantAkiva GoldsmanJeff Pinkner

Starring: Chloë Grace Moretz, Nick Robinson, Ron Livingston, Maggie Siff, Alex Roe, Maria Bello, Maika Monroe, Zackary Arthur & Liev Schreiber

Genre | Length | Rating: ActionAdventureSci-Fi  | 1h 52min | PG-13

Distributed by Columbia Pictures

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