Chloe Moretz Grace, The 5th Wave

Movie Review: The 5th Wave (2016) “Does The Sixth Wave Have the Ending?”

Chloe Moretz Grace, The 5th Wave

With the hordes headed to the movie theaters today to watch the poorly-reviewed Alice Through the Looking Glass and X-Men: Apocalypse, I decided to put that disappointment off and clear through some of my early 2016 backlog.  Films I can count on to disappoint without having to stand in line for them.  This is largely my rationale for having watched The 5th Wave.
Ron Livingston, The 5th Wave

The 5th Wave is based on a YA novel by Rick Yancey.  Yancey has written a series called “The Monstrumologist” which is quite good and I mention that upfront because I like to maintain a positive tone to reviews and I want Mr. Yancey to know I appreciate him overall even though this adaptation of another novel of his stole two hours of my lifespan.

If nothing else, you have to admire the efficiency of the alien invaders who have come to wipe us out in The 5th Wave.  Twenty minutes into the film and they’ve run through waves 1-4, wiped out most of the population, rendered the Earth a diseased, powerless wasteland and set Chloe Moretz Grace on an epic quest to reunite her brother with his teddy bear.  Yes, I’m being glib, but that’s not in any way an inaccurate summary.

The 5th Wave

Moretz Grace is a scarily good actress and has been riveting ever since she showed up as Hit Girl, but this is a complete waste of her talent.  There’s not an original thing in this casserole of Independence Day, V, Red Dawn, and about a dozen other genre films.  Why Liev Schrieber also donated time to the film escapes me, but what really irritated me most about it was that the film assumes its own success.  There is no ending to this movie.  That the YA craze is over has already been confirmed by the dwindling returns on The Hunger Games, the disaster that was The Divergent Series (still ongoing…kind of) and finally a reluctance on Hollywood’s part to sink any more development into this dried-up well.  There are several more books in Yancey’s series, but as of this writing there has been no greenlight for the continuation of The 5th Wave.

The 5th Wave, Chloe Grace Moretz

I try to look for some way to compliment even films that were a waste of time if I see them do anything ANYTHING clever, and The 5th Wave did do something I don’t know that I’ve ever seen.  They filmed a scene for the trailer one way so you assume you know how it goes when it arrives in the film and it goes very much another way.  That was a clever bit of misdirection, and given trailer’s propensity for giving away too much information, why not fill them with red herrings?  That ends my compliments of an extremely blah action film with the extremely annoying, tone-altering one MPAA allowed F-bomb.  Ugh.  I miss Hit Girl.

8 thoughts on “Movie Review: The 5th Wave (2016) “Does The Sixth Wave Have the Ending?””

  1. I wonder why YA novels have had almost no success being turned into movies? The craze generated so many popular books, and a lot of them were really good. Maybe it’s because the films haven’t been so great, but that raises its own question: why has it been so hard to get them right?

    There is at least one terrific series that has yet to be mined: Artemis Fowl. Those books lack depth, but they are extremely fun, and tailor-made for the big screen, because they play on the conventions of cop movies and heist films, and because each book is self-contained. It’s hard to adapt something like Lemony Snickett, which is sprawling and episodic and depends on keeping track of a rich mythology. I wonder how the Netflix series will go? I love NPH, and I think he’ll make a better Olaf than Jim Carrey, who is a brilliant, elastic-faced master comedian, but winked too much at the audience in this particular role.

    I had no plans to see the 5th Wave, the reason being that I forgot it existed, but even if I were to disagree with you and actually like the film, I’m not going to invest any time in it if it has no ending. So thank you, good sir, for the heads-up.


    1. Disney owns the rights to Artemis Fowl and Kenneth Brannagh is attached to direct, but it’s been in development hell for years now and it may have missed the YA boat. I did like the series. I thought Lemony Snickett was a 12 book tease to absolutely nothing whatsoever. Back in the days when I was reading physical books and not e-books, Book 13 got thrown across the room a lot. Maybe more than any book since Hannibal.


      1. Hannibal Lector had become a beloved character in the years since Silence of the Lambs, and Hannibal was Thomas Harris throwing that in everyone’s faces by making the character a romantic hero. Hannibal shows that Harris has utter contempt for his own fan base.

        I get what you’re saying about Lemony Snickett, but the process of getting to that (admittedly) disappointing finale was so much fun that I have a hard time complaining. If the people behind the Netflix series are smart, they will give the story more of a payoff.


      2. Wow, man. You really hated those books. A lot of people do, BTW. I’m pretty sure they WILL rethink when they turn the whole thing into a miniseries. I guess I just put more stock in the getting there than the destination. It’s how I remain a fan of Stephen King, and the Sopranos.


      3. No I loved them until the last book but it was like Spectre. It was an ending so bad it tainted the whole effort and Handler seemed very aware of what he was doing as he was doing it which really made me mad…..clearly. Letting go of things is not a personality trait I excel at.


      4. I actually was not surprised by the way the final book turned out. I enjoyed the hell out of the series, yet at some point towards the finish I started to get an uneasy sense that Handler was not just being arch and ironic, but had a genuinely, severely jaundiced way of looking at the world. The second to last book cemented my feelings, and by the finale I was thinking, “Of COURSE he ended things this way.” You have to be careful about giving these books to kids, because while some will be able to take it all in stride, others will be left with an unhelpful worldview. Kid’s books are supposed to be hopeful. There will be time enough in life for disillusionment.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

Gravatar Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s