The 5th Wave Keeps Viewers Guessing

Kendall Carroll

I’m generally a big fan of movies based off of popular books, so when I heard The 5th Wave was coming out I was very excited. I didn’t get a chance to read the book before I saw the movie — a book nerd crime I have never committed before, but it is definitely high-up on my to-read list now.

The scene placement in The 5th Wave was fantastic. There were subtle hints at the ending plot twist throughout the movie, but it was never given away. I loved thinking back on the movie and realizing what hints they had put in. I also liked how they showed Cassie (played by Chloë Grace Moretz) and her family and friends before the Others (the aliens) showed up. For example, the movie started off with Cassie at a party with her best friend, Lizbeth (Gabriela Lopez). This shows Cassie living her life as a normal teenager. She even has an awkward encounter with her crush, Ben Parish (Nick Robinson), as I’m sure many high schoolers can relate to. Just days later, Cassie’s life is thrown into this apocalypse, and she starts to lose everyone. Showing her life before the Others gives viewers a chance to see how she changed in this situation she was forced into.

I thought the storyline and characters were really interesting as well. I liked everyone’s individual attitudes towards the end of the world and ideas on what to do. For example, Cassie, once she’s separated from her brother, realizes that she needs to take initiative and be tougher in order to get her brother back. She immediately switches into a mood where she is willing to do whatever she has to in order to get to her brother, giving her a different mindset than she had in her normal life. Meanwhile, Ben is in a place where he has to be a leader for other kids and help them fight back. All of the characters, not just those two, were intriguing and useful to the story in some way.

The storyline was incredibly captivating. It was fascinating to sit through the movie trying to guess the main plot twist to be revealed at the end: what the Fifth Wave would be. I had many guessed, none of which ended up being correct, but the real ending was even better. Throughout the entire movie, I was wanting to know what was going to happen next, not just what the Fifth and final wave would be, and there was never a point where I was disappointed with the outcome.

However, because I didn’t have time to read the book before watching the movie, I only knew what I had seen from the trailer. I recommend the movie to anyone who is basing the movie off of its trailer. I discovered that some of the key scenes from the trailer either weren’t in the movie at all, were taken out of context or were changed dramatically. For example, the very final scene shown in the trailer was Cassie telling a man to drop his weapon. He agrees and tells her he knows she isn’t an Other because she would have shot him already. I was assuming, going into the movie, that this meant that all Others would just kill any human they saw. As the movie progressed, not only did this prove to be false but that scene was also completely different.

The high quality of special effects made this dystopian future seem more believable. In the First Wave, there was a world-wide power-outage. Everything that ran on any type of electricity shut down. As unrealistic as it was to watch cars and planes crash, the special effects made it look like it was actually happening. The Second Wave sent earthquakes and tsunamis, and water covered entire cities, which, again, was very impressive and believable.

I have only seen Chloë Grace Moretz in If I Stay, another Young Adult novel movie adaptation, but that movie has a very different feel than The 5th Wave. Admittedly, I was originally unsure about whether Moretz could play a tough, strong protagonist instead of a young musician in a sad love story, but I was pleasantly surprised. She always seemed like she could handle herself, even if she was getting help in her task.

I liked how the major focus of the movie was Cassie trying to reconnect with her brother after they got separated. It’s a nice change of pace to see a teenage girl in a movie aimed at young adults not chasing after a love interest. There were, however, some romantic scenes between Cassie and another character that I found unnecessary. If they’re fighting for their lives in the middle of the end of the world, it doesn’t seem logical to have a romance when it isn’t mandatory to advance the plot.

This movie might have had some elements that were similar to other YA novel movie adaptations, but I found the storyline interesting and I’m excited to read the series and hopefully see the other movies when they come out. I’d recommend this movie to my friends, even if it had some flaws.