This may come as a surprise to everyone….. but the young adult genre has hardly ever impressed me. The YA genre that usually impresses me the least is the post-apocalyptic genre because it tends to really water down what a post-apocalyptic world would look like in order to sterilize it for a younger audience. The Hunger Games is a pretty good example of this; though there is enjoyment to be had in The Hunger Games movies, the overall franchise is really harmed by the YA kiddy gloves it needs to put on in order to appeal to its demographic.
And unfortunately, The 5th Wave is an even guiltier culprit of this.
I really could not find very much to enjoy about this movie. This may be due to the fact that I am not a teen, but I would argue that The 5th Wave really doesn’t work all that well as a movie anyway.
For starters, as I said before, this movie does not really handle the end-of-the-world topic very well. I was constantly taken out of the movie by how held back everything was. The end of the world is scary when it needs to be, it’s tragic when it needs to be, and nearly all the rest of the movie it goes easy on our young female protagonist. There isn’t a feeling of real hopelessness even though the movie tries to get you to feel that. This is mainly because the sequence of events that lead to the end of the world were rushed through to get to the main plot that was not all that interesting anyway.
On top of not feeling very realistic, what also took me out of the movie was how terrible everyone was at acting. I was pretty disappointed in Chloë Grace Moretz’s performance, especially because I know when she’s given to a good project and/or director, she’s actually a pretty good actress…but she wasn’t good in this movie. The father’s acting is also pretty lame and his decision making skills are pretty lackluster.
And dear sweet heaven, was the little brother’s acting rather terrible. There were times where I had to keep myself from busting out laughing whenever the kid was required to pull an emotional performance. Such is the curse of the child actor.
Everyone else in the movie was either bad at acting or just kind of meh, so I would guess that whoever directed this trash did not know what he was doing. There really isn’t a single ounce of inspiration in this whole film…
There were other things I can think of that I didn’t enjoy; the camera work was obnoxious and/or sloppy at times, occasionally the film was rather naive about guns, and the pacing was rushed at parts.
Quite possibly though, the worst thing about this film is how much it relies on cliched YA themes. There’s the whole theme of how we need to keep ahold of our humanity, how important love is and how love is a trait that’s unique to humans, and it even has touches of we’re-bad-to-our-planet dialogue. And of course, as it is with almost all YA films, there’s a love story that’s poorly developed and relatively unnecessary. Again, there are lines in this movie that are so cheesy and dumb that I almost felt like my eyes were in a perpetual state of rolling. All of these themes harmed the movie extensively.
I was kinda bummed that this film really could not manage to do anything well. There were a few parts in the movie that flared with potential, but they were drastically weighed down by all the poor acting, YA cliches, and the unrealistic post-apocalyptia. I really can’t recommend this movie to anyone except teenage girls. And even then, a week ago, I talked to a middle school girl about what she thought about the novel this movie was based on, and she said, “It was good… I couldn’t get through it all, because all the other books I was reading at the time were more interesting.” Sadly enough, nearly all of the underwhelming young adult movies I’ve seen were also better than The 5th Wave, and I’m giving this movie a 3 out of 10.