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Book-to-Movie Review: The 5th Wave

The 5th Wave movie is definitely a film with mixed reviews…

Book-to-Movie Review: The 5th Wave

The 5th wave movie review rick yancey

As a Movie

Well, well, well. If it isn’t another YA book to movie adaption. Now that The Hunger Games franchise is officially over, we have two Divergent movies left and NOW The 5th Wave movie.

My only pull toward this movie was the fact that I’ve read the book, which I really enjoyed! If I hadn’t read the book, based solely on the trailers, I probably would have waited to Netflix this one.

The acting: I like Chloe Grace Moretz. She’s a good actress, and there’s something about her that always seems to draw me in. I think she was well cast in this movie.

Most of the other cast were pretty fresh – other than Nick Robinson (Ben Parrish) who was just in Jurassic Park, and of course Liev Schreiber, who is in all the things.

I ADORED Alex Roe, who plays Evan Walker. Team Evan all the way based solely on his performance. He and Moretz have fantastic chemistry. Also he seems so darn innocent and endearing.

The plot: As far as pacing goes, there was a good balance of build-up, background info and action. The problem is that in book form, the story felt fresh – aliens in YA was not being done too much back in 2013.

However, in movie form, the ideas presented came off as pretty recycled because viewers won’t just compare the story to the YA book genre but to a whole history of movies.

I wish there had been more time to see Cassie’s true transformation – you see her fend for herself and become stripped of her old life, but I was never truly convinced she could really survive on her own (cue hot boys to help).

Also, my biggest pet peeve was one thing happening and then a HUGE light bulb goes off and every secret is suddenly clear. It was a stretch, and any viewer will see right through it.

As a Book Adaption

If you’d like to refresh yourself, check out The 5th Wave plot summary here.

Despite two and a half years between myself and reading the book, nothing stood out to me as glaringly different.

Small details were definitely changed – one in particular that paints a character in a much more lovable light – but nothing that messed with the overall feel of the book.

The “big reveal” at the end also plays out a bit differently in the book – more slowly and convincingly.

I was pleased with how well the book was presented on film.


The 5th Wave movie was a mixed bag. While I enjoyed seeing a book I loved on the big screen, I realized that was my only reason for seeing the movie. It didn’t come off as original or innovative, despite the fantastic acting of Chloe Grace Moretz and some new faves.

I would recommend only true fans to see The 5th Wave movie…everyone else, maybe just wait for to rent or Netflix it.

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.
  • I totally agree with you! I just got out of the theater like an hour ago. And I very much enjoyed the book when I read it last year, but this movie felt like the typical YA dystopian, and I think people are going to see through that and not give the story the credit it deserves.

    But like you said, Chloe Moretz did a really good job! I really enjoyed her acting and her relationship with Evan.

    Your review here is great because it put to words my feelings after seeing it. I couldn’t add up why I loved the book and didn’t love the movie, despite it not really deviating from the storyline. But I think what you said explained it well.

  • Chat Ebooks

    The points you pointed here are spot on! Sometimes there really is a tendency to over-exaggerate the movie adaptation since the words should be translated into film in a way that it doesn’t veer away from the storyline. I think The Fault in the Stars is one of the best movie adaptations ever.

    ChatEbooks recently posted https://www.chatebooks.com/blog-Writers-Network-6-Benefits-of-Connecting-With-Successful-Authors

  • Angel Haze

    I was about to pick this one up the other day but my hubby chose Dirty Grandpa instead. I haven’t read the books. I hate when they kind of fast-forward some stuff in the movie which makes seem really unbelievable. They did that in Twilight. One minute they don’t like each other and suddenly, there was this switch and they were instantly in love. Really? The third and fourth movies held the action and emotion but the first was a flop and I almost didn’t see the rest. In fact, the only reason I did was because there was a Twilight marathon on TV and I could watch it that way. Oh well, I’ll still watch the 5th Wave. I did look good.