If there’s a YA (Young Adult) novel or book series sitting on the shelf at the bookstore, odds are Hollywood is going to adapt it. The next stop on the adaptation train is The 5th Wave starring Chloë Grace Moretz. Instead of vampires, greek gods or shady government officials to deal with, Cassie (Moretz) must survive an alien invasion with visitors dead set on claiming Earth as their own by any means necessary.
Surprisingly for a generic aliens taking over the world YA premise, The 5th Wave starts out strong. The first 45 minutes are devoted to telling the story from Cassie’s perspective of a high school girl who goes from partying at keggers to trying to survive on the run from the invaders. The alien waves of attack are freaky, but have a sense of realism to them imagining if aliens really were among us and were on an extermination binge with people as the targets. Moretz is excellent as the happy-go-lucky teen turned survivalist and is the big reason the first half of the film is quite good.
The young actress delivers a solid open, but is not strong enough to overcome what happens in the second half of The 5th Wave. The film loses its serious tone and takes a turn for the worse into cheesy YA territory. The remaining child survivors, including Cassie’s lost little brother are recruited to fight the invasive creatures in a kid soldier angle that is down right silly at times with the little kids running around in full military gear. What’s worse is the child army plot isn’t even the worst part of the film.
What ruins The 5th Wave is the forced love story with Cassie and a mysterious stranger she meets named Evan played by the hunky Alex Roe. You can see the twists and turns coming a mile away in their relationship and the love story just seems so out-of-place with the film’s dark tone in the first half. The romantic side of The 5th Wave causes the film to come to a grinding halt and wastes the talents of Chloë Grace Moretz in what started out as promising experience for the viewer.
Overall, I give The 5th Wave 2.25 out of 4 stars.