Film & TV Reviews

FILM REVIEW: The 5th Wave


This month’s book club pick is Rick Yancey‘s 2013 post-apocalyptic alien invasion novel The 5th Wave. A film adaptation directed by J Blakeson (The Disappearance of Alice Creed) was released in January this year.

Chloë Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass, HugoIf I Stay) leads the cast as Cassie. Chloe is an excellent young actress and while she delivers a capable performance this is not her best work. I feel that she was not given an opportunity to explore her character in depth.

The script was penned by Susannah Grant (Pocahontas, Erin Brockovich, Charlotte’s Web), Academy Award Winner Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind) and Jeff Pinkner (The Amazing Spider-Man 2, TV Series Lost and Fringe).

Cassie (Chloë Grace Moretz)

Nick Robinson (The Kings of Summer, Jurassic World) and relative newcomer Alex Roe play Cassie’s two potential love interests Ben and Evan.

In the book Ben is the high school crush that does not even notice Cassie exists. In the film they share a smile at a party and know of each other. Robinson and Roe are both likeable in their roles but they don’t do much to progress the story.

Nick Robinson as Ben
Ben (Nick Robinson)
Alex Roe as Evan and Chloë Grace Moretz as Cassie
Evan (Alex Roe) and Cassie (Chloë Grace Moretz)

Another change – in the book the character of Sergeant Reznik is male. In the film the characters of Dr Pam and Reznik are merged together and Maria Bello portrays Reznik. This change is to add another adult female character to the mix – it could have worked but the character of Reznik was left out of most of the crucial action and was not fully developed as a character.

Liev Schreiber brings a sense of credibility and seriousness to the film as Colonel Vosch. Actors Ron Livingston and Maggie Siff portray Cassie’s parents but both are dispatched quickly so Cassie can continue her journey alone.

Maria Bello as Sergeant Reznik
Sergeant Reznik (Maria Bello)
Colonel Vosch (Liev Schreiber) and Ben (Nick Robinson)
Colonel Vosch (Liev Schreiber) and Ben (Nick Robinson)

The production design is excellent but at times the film feels like it is too brightly lit for a post-apocalyptic world. This was a deliberate decision by the filmmakers as the ‘others’ (aliens) do not wish to destroy the world just wipe out mankind. The flawless make up and perfect hair amongst the chaos is not realistic and also lets down the look of the film.

Those who have read the book will likely be interested in seeing the film adaptation otherwise to general audiences the film just gets swept up amongst a long line of more successful dystopian YA films.

It is unlikely that Sony Pictures will option the next film in the series.

I won a copy of The 5th Wave on DVD through Thanks Cam!

Book Club Pick

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Book Club Pick: September 2016


Book Details:

Title: The 5th Wave

Author: Rick Yancey

Series: The 5th Wave series, followed by The Infinite Sea (2014) and The Last Star (2016)

Country: United States

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group

First Published: 2013

Pages: 457

Publisher’s Description:

After the 1st Wave, on the darkness remains.

After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th Wave, just one rule applies: trust no one.

Now it’s the dawn of the 5th Wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered the Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother – or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.


This post-apocalyptic novel takes places in Dayton, Ohio following a wave of alien invasions that has devastated the Earth’s population (more than 99% of the population was wiped out before the story begins – dramatic backstory!).

Our central protagonist is sixteen-year-old Cassie Sullivan (short for Cassiopeia). She lost her mother during the 3rd wave, her father during the 4th wave, and her five-year-old brother Sammy went missing during the 5th wave. The story begins with Cassie searching for her brother.

The novel has multi points of view. The first and main narrator is Cassie. After being shot by an unknown sniper Cassie is being nursed back to health on a remote farmhouse by a mysterious young man, Evan Walker, whose girlfriend and family were killed during the 3rd wave. Cassie and Evan develop a relationship, but Cassie’s priority is to find her brother. Evan wants to help but she questions whether she can trust him.

The second first-person-perspective is from Ben Parrish, Cassie’s former high school crush, the star football player that didn’t even know she existed. Ben is at Camp Haven, a military base where a group of children and teenagers are training for the war against the aliens. He is part of Squad 53, they all have names like Zombie (Ben’s name), Ringer, Dumbo, Teacup, Tank, Flintstone, Oompa and Nugget.

It is inevitable that the two groups will cross paths. But will they be able to work together to survive?

In January this year a film adaptation directed by J Blakeson was released starring Chloë Grace Moretz, Nick Robinson, Ron Livingston, Maggie Siff, and Liev Schreiber.




Rick Yancey Official Website

Rick Yancey on Facebook

Rick Yancey on Twitter

The 5th Wave on Tumblr


Source: I borrowed a copy of this book from my public library.