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The 5th Wave: Film adaptation of Rick Yancey’s novel a disappointment

Chloe Grace Moretz and Zackary Arthur star as Cassie and Sam Sullivan in The 5th Wave.

Chuck Zlotnick

1.5 out of 4 stars

Title
The 5th Wave
Written by
Susannah Grant, Akiva Goldsman, Jeff Pinkner
Directed by
J. Blakeson
Starring
Chloë Grace Moretz, Nick Robinson, Liev Schreiber
Classification
PG
Country
USA
Language
English

Except to surf enthusiasts, dreaded things come in waves: violence, heat, Star Wars sequels, nausea etc.

Likewise in The 5th Wave, a disappointing film formulaically adapted from Rick Yancey's engaging young-adult novel, we have unseen aliens dubbed "Others" invading Earth in a series of frightfully disabling stages that precede the sci-fi survival thriller's titular fifth thing. An electromagnetic pulse deadens a planet; a tsunami has London bridges falling down; a virus spreads cataclysmically; half-human/half-aliens hunt down survivors.

Survivors such as teenage Cassie (Chloë Grace Moretz), the story's coming-of-age protagonist, whose bee-stung lips tremble in the face of hunky boys and apocalypses, but who discovers an inner Jennifer Lawrence – she's a real Hunger Games baller – to fight a plot-twisting war as she seeks her tiny brother, one of the children conscripted into military service.

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Topical ideas on humanity, mistrust and alien-as-immigrant metaphors are a plus, but a laughable romance and a ridiculous wrap-up render the film as only a staging ground for the next two parts of the trilogy to come. Although waves don't have to be bad, this unambitious first one is ominous.

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About the Author

Brad Wheeler is an arts reporter with The Globe and Mail. More

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