The Fifth Wave: Not just another ‘Hunger Games’


Sydney Donahoe

A&E Editor, Rachel Smith, reviews the latest science fiction movie, The 5th Wave.

Rachel Smith, A&E/Opinions Editor

The bang of guns becomes a background noise, while the simultaneous feelings of desperation and romance mirror this recent release. The Fifth Wave follows the story of  Cassie (Chloe Grace Moretz), a young teenager from Ohio who must battle aliens in order to save her only remaining family member, her younger brother, Sammy (Zachary Arthur). The movie begins when a spaceship becomes visible from Cassie’s house and looms menacingly above the community, and everyone waits in despair to see what the new visitors will do. After a few days, the visitors’ intentions become clear as a series of “waves” occur, with the first being a massive power outage throughout the world, the second an earthquake, the third a series of tsunamis, and the fourth a massive disease epidemic that quickly wipes out half of the population. The fifth wave is the focus of the remaining half of the movie.

With over half of the planet’s population wiped out, the world is left crumbling and the aliens begin to make their way among the remaining survivors, taking the form of  human “hosts” to disguise themselves. All of this seems to take place so quickly that within a couple months, the remaining survivors don’t know who to trust or where to go. Such is the fate of Cassie, who narrates her story throughout the movie, effectively providing insight into the action, drama, and emotional trauma that she endures. First introduced as a happy high school girl with plenty of friends and an enormous crush on the school’s football captain, Cassie changes quickly as she is forced to be brave in order to take care of her brother. Upon his capture, she is forced to not only be brave, but to bear her own troubles as well. This shift in personality is expertly depicted throughout the narrative, for both Cassie’s actions and voice change significantly. Cassie becomes full of fear and a determination to do anything that needs to be done, even if that includes killing people. There is no one she can fully trust.

However, after countless intense encounters and gun fights, Cassie meets Evan (Alex Roe), a mysterious man who adds the romance that I was waiting for and who softens Cassie’s new rock-hard personality. Still, no romance is complete without an awkward semi-love triangle, which comes to life when Cassie once again meets her high school obsession, Ben Parish (Nick Robinson). Overall, the combination of romance and action is well-executed, with the romance helping to provide a break from the intense fight scenes.

The Fifth Wave not only incorporates romance, but also the story of Cassie and her younger brother, Sammy. While Cassie searches Ohio for her brother and endures countless dangers to reach him, Sammy’s experience is shown. His story centers around his experience in boot camp, where he is forced to train with other survivors to rid the Earth of the aliens (who can be identified through special glasses that reveal the alien taking over the host’s brain). In addition, he plays a small part in forming a group that stands up and fights against authority.

Overall, I was really impressed with this movie. Prior to watching The Fifth Wave, I assumed that it would be a poor attempt at another Hunger Games or Divergent, but I was pleased and surprised with how much I really enjoyed it. The cast was well chosen; the actors did an excellent job of portraying their characters. Chloe Grace Moretz was especially successful in getting the emotional aspect of the movie across and in embodying the role of a female hero. While some lines (especially those associated with the uncomfortable relationship between Evan, Cassie, and Ben) and even some of the action felt a little cheesy, the special effects were very realistic. Despite these small imperfections, I would highly recommend this movie because it never lacked an interesting moment or a shocking secret that left me on the edge of my seat.