Film Synopsis: Four waves of increasingly deadly attacks have left most of Earth decimated. Against a backdrop of fear and distrust, Cassie is on the run, desperately trying to save her younger brother. As she prepares for the inevitable and lethal 5th wave, Cassie teams up with a young man who may become her final hope – if she can only trust him.

Release Date: 15 January 2016

The 5th Wave is another young adult novel series adaptation coming soon to movie screens. The 5th Wave is based on the science fiction novel by Rick Yancey, first released in 2013, which we’ve previously reviewed. The story follows Cassie, played by Chloë Grace Moretz (Carrie, Kick-Ass, Hugo), a girl, who through the waves of attacks, is trying to find her brother. The trailer very briefly gives us a glimpse of the first four waves: darkness, destruction, infection, and invasion while Cassie provides voice-over from her perspective. The fifth wave is still left as a mystery to those who have not read the book. This is definitely where the hook is in the trailer.

Even though there is no doubt that Mortez will be able to pull off the strong female lead, the trailer and plot does seem rather formulaic. Strong, young female lead gets entangled in turmoil and through her own strong-will and male companions, not only rectifies the issue, but becomes a stronger, tougher, inadvertent leader in the process.

Maybe with the onslaught of the Hunger Games and Divergent series, I can’t help but wonder if this movie was made because it will be good and different or if it will just be like the other movie series. After all we’re not shy to the fact that Hollywood likes to capitalize on what works, The 5th Wave being yet another potential ‘fight the system’ movie. The concern is more that Cassie’s character will be adapted on screen to be just another Katniss or Tris. If the movie is going to work and succeed, I hope they put more bank into the circumstance and aliens.

Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures

With the five waves, The 5th Wave’s world has more uniqueness. It isn’t just another dystopian world, yet. It is set on Earth, attacked by aliens, an aspect more relatable than Panem or some future post-apocalyptic Chicago. Once the movie reveals the fifth wave, I assume in this movie, I could very well see the other two books in the trilogy be slated as movies. If you haven’t read the book you can get a faint hint at the end of the trailer of what the fifth wave is comprised. However, if you still want to be left in suspense, I would recommend not heading towards the novel’s Wikipedia page.

Having the mystery around the alien beings is always alluring. What will they look like? What is their true intention? This is very much why Signs and Cloverfield may be a cautionary tale. The films needed to strike a balance between the suspense and then the delivery of the reveal. If either are too imbalanced, the audience tends to be left disappointed. While The 5th Wave is on my radar, I wish I could get more excited about it, but the very déjà vu characters and possible end-game coupled with an alien aspect that could go wrong, leaves me a bit weary.

The most interesting thing about the movie’s release to me is that the final book of the trilogy has yet to be released. In fact, the final installment of the series, The Last Star, is scheduled to release in May 2016 (the fifth month, I see what you did there). While I hope the movie does well and delivers, hopefully adding to the reception of the third book, it has always felt like the Hunger Games movies have overshadowed its similar films.

What do you think – does the plot set it out from the pack? Do you hope or not hope the movie will diverge from the source material?

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