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The 5th Wave Review

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The Young Adult adaption juggernaut continues to trundle onwards, but with the Big Two, Twilight and The Hunger Games, having run their course, who will step up to take their crown? Divergent and The Maze Runner had a good chance, but their later installments showed both series didn’t have much in the way of lasting power. Now, Chloe Grace Moretz steps up to the plate with her YA tinged alien invasion flick, The 5th Wave. Can it take the vacant crown? Short answer: no. Not even close.


Cassie (Moretz) was a normal teenage girl before a race of aliens, called The Others (how original), made their existence known to humanity. Following their initial encounter with Earth, The Others unleashed four waves of attacks, bringing the world to a standstill with an EMP, destroying several major costal cities with devastating tidal waves, decimating the human race with an engineered, far more aggressive form of Avian Flu, before coming to Earth to pick off the survivors themselves. Forced to fend for herself after her younger brother is taken by the army, she embarks on desperate quest to reunite with him.

The worst thing about The 5th Wave is that there is nothing new here. Just about everything here has been done much better before, from The Other’s plan to take the planet from us to the dystopia born from their, admittedly overcomplicated, attacks (seriously, just repeat wave 2 until the world has been destroyed completely, then come down and take out the stragglers). And, of course, this being a YA adaption there is a romantic subplot between Cassie and the mysterious Evan (Alex Roe) that feels completely undercooked and shoehorned in to unsuccessfully pluck at the heartstrings in the finale. The opening twenty minutes, as Cassie relates how the world fell, is the movie at its most interesting, but any good will it garnered is soon wasted as we just settle into an uneventful trudge towards the closing credits. The 5th Wave does try to juggle several storylines, but they all end up falling flat, especially its biggest idea of the army turning the surviving children into soldiers, which comes off as a hilariously misjudged teeny bopper Full Metal Jacket. And that is as eyerollingly bad as you would expect.


The biggest waste here is the impressive cast The 5th Wave has assembled. Moretz does try at least, but she isn’t given enough to elevate Cassie above the generic YA heroine. Jurassic World’s Nick Robinson is just bad, trying and failing to inject paths into proceedings and failing horribly. After her impressive turns in both The Guest and It Follows, Maika Monroe is wasted as the strong female rival to Cassie, not really doing much and just regurgitating the same old ‘tough girl’ lines we’ve heard numerous time before. Even the constantly reliable Liev Schreiber seems to be phoning it in.

The 5th Wave just serves as an example of how bad YA adaptions can be: cliched, derivative, and just plain boring. If you are a fan of this particular genre, just stick with the book.






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The Movie Bit: The 5th Wave Review
The 5th Wave Review
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