‘The 5th Wave’ Review: “Everything that happens is possible.”

Book to film adaptations are always a very tricky endeavor, especially when it comes to best-selling book series (Note: The Hunger Games, Twilight, Harry Potter,etc). Book-lovers such as myself know the stories by heart and tend to have a much more critical eye. However, I have to say that The 5th Wave cast and crew did a wonderful job.

Without giving too much away, what makes this story so unique to other YA titles is that everything that happens is possible. You watch the world crumble in a way that some of us fear everyday, which makes it ten times more terrifying. No, we have never had an alien mothership circling our planet, but large earthquakes? Check. Tsunami? Check. Widespread fatal illness? Check.

Overall, the film followed almost exactly in the same sequence of the book. I was incredibly impressed on how paralleled the two aligned and I think fans will very much appreciate that. I also noticed direct quotes from the book placed into the film.

There are a lot of twists and turns in the story that make you stop in your tracks, go back, and re-read. Fortunately those surprises were very well executed in the film, giving those who have not read the books that same feeling of surprise. Unfortunately one of the biggest surprises in the book involves the character of Ben Parish/Zombie, played by Nick Robinson. In the book due to character POV and his nickname, you do not learn that Ben is alive until almost 3/4 of the way through. However, it’s quite impossible to execute this in the film adaptation without altering the story.

As for the cast, I admit that I was skeptical at first when Chloe Grace Moretz was cast for Cassie Sullivan. However, I was pleasantly surprised that she portrayed the character very well. Zackary Arthur, who plays Cassie’s little brother Sam, simply amazed me. The character, Sam Sullivan, goes through a lot and is forced to grow up quickly. For Zackary’s age, he did an outstanding job and was able to bring Sam’s character to life better than I could have imagine any other actor to do.


Another notable actress was Maika Monroe, who played Ringer. Ringer is a very dominant character in the story who doesn’t take “no” for an answer. Seeing Maika in real life, you would never put the two together. However, she played the role of Ringer to a tee. It’s refreshing to see a slew of powerful, lead female characters.

As for the rest of cast, I was quite impressed by everyone including Liev Schreiber as Colonel Vosch, Alex Roe as Evan Walker, and Maria Bello as Reznik.

As for a few critiques I have for film, one is the pace the story progressed. The beginning felt very well played out. However, I felt that the end was quite rushed. In the book you see a slower progression of each character arc. In the film I felt like those evolutions were crunched. To go off of this, the relationship between Cassie and Evan felt hurried. In the book you see the relationship fully develop and there is more time to watch their connection grow. In the film, their relationship feels almost random.

Additionally, some parts of the film came off a little cheesy including the rushed romance between Cassie and Evan I just discussed as well as the animation of the “aliens” inside of the humans which seemed unrealistic.

Overall, I think the film was pretty great. This is definitely a movie that book fans will enjoy but will also still capture an outside audience. I think the film has a lot of promise and I look forward to watching how the next two in the series unfold.

[highlight]MORE THOUGHTS[/highlight]

  • The 5th Wave by Ricky Yancy is no different. After scanning the interwebs for recommended books, I stumbled upon The 5th Wave. As most people do, I read the book front to cover in less than a week and when I learned a movie was coming, I couldn’t contain my excitement.
  • It’s always a book-lover’s fantasy to see their favorite stories play out onscreen, but that also comes with a double-edged sword.
  • Different perspectives in the novel which made it easier to play out on screen.
  • I have to say that being able to see all of the waves was amazing. They mention it in the book but don’t go into a lot of detail to what exactly happens. In the film you get to follow Cassie’s story.



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