In a wave of dystopian young adult novel adaptations – in which 3-4 teenage spirits of similar theme released every year – J Blakeson’s adaptation of Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave might just be “another entry” to the genre tropes. It has another girl to change the world in Chloe Grace Moretz; it has an effective background to the dystopian world; but most importantly, it has every cliché that you have ever seen in a YA adaptation.
Moretz is Cassie Sullivan, an ordinary high school girl in Ohio; she’s a going-home-on-time kind of girl and her family is a lively one. Yet, it’s all short-lived when a mysterious alien spacecraft suddenly appears on the sky.
What makes the alien different is: it’s not a once-for-all apocalypse bringer. They instead deliver the apocalypse in multiple modes, hence the titular “wave.” Firstly, electromagnetic waves are released to shut down the world’s power. Secondly, mega-scale earthquake delivers catastrophe; following is tidal waves all around the world sweeping the land as the third wave. The fourth wave is a pandemic avian flu wiping out the rest of humanity. Before the titular wave, big things happen to Cassie and what follows is: banalities.
Cassie lost her mother during the fourth wave and her father during an evacuation gone wrong by military. Then, she gets separated from her little brother, Sam (Zackary Arthur), during the evacuation. After a rushed but effective background to the apocalypse, the middle act of The 5th Wave is a bit of letdown.
I, personally, thought it has a promising start in the beginning as I started to wonder what would be the next wave and what the motive of the alien is (which I could correctly predict because it’s too obvious). However, it suddenly becomes a half-baked thriller that attempts to put everything inside – from a banal romance that suddenly blooms, a corny love-interest, and yes, twist. There’s a slight of hope within the ‘sibling bond’ which, in the end, becomes unstable and forgotten. Yet, the corniest is a strange love-triangle which sparks during the end is the biggest letdown.
The most annoying part for me is: inconsistencies in story-telling. The 5th Wave’s narrative is mostly narrated by Cassie through voice-over, limiting the point of view only from her. However, during the middle of the movie, this POV suddenly goes broader – with another character’s POV, such as Sam’s and Ben Parish’s (a boy that Cassie admire, portrayed by Nick Robinson). That leads to a very underwhelming twist, which doesn’t give any surprising effect at all.
In the end, I must say The 5th Wave does not suffer from being bad; it suffers from being less special. Even, Chloe Grace Moretz could only pout at it.
The 5th Wave (2016)
Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Coming of Age, Adaptation Directed by: J Blakeson Written by: Susannah Grant (screenplay), Akiva Goldsman (screenplay), Jeff Pinkner (Screenplay), Rick Yancey (Novel) Starred by: Chloë Grace Moretz, Nick Robinson, Ron Livingston, Liev Schreiber Running Time: 112 mins Rated PG-13