So here’s my review of the 5th Wave – the movie.
On a scale of 1 – 5, this is ranked at 3, aka “Rental.”
Loved the book! Tepid about the movie. Glad I waited to rent it.
There are spoilers here … so if you don’t like spoilers … stop reading this, okay?
I enjoyed the book. But the movie was obviously made by a Hollywood committee with access to so-so CG.
The movie turned a book with a soul and objectivized it into quantifiable ticket seller.
These are the main detractors:
1. Book: Cassie’s dad told her that her enemy would try to take away her M16.
Movie: Doesn’t mention anything about this, aside from her dad giving her a 1911 pistol, which is much more palatable to Hollywood’s aversion to “assault weapons.” Can’t really image seeing a Hollywood committee write a script where a likeable dad tells his daughter that ‘you know your enemy by the ones who try to take away your M16.’ Like or hate this part of the book, its what gives the book a soul, including imperfections in the characters.
2. Book: Regarding imperfections, Cassie’s dad made some stupid decisions getting them into trouble, especially at camp ashpit.
Movie: The dad in the movie is pretty flat and there’s little back story. He’s just there to move the story along and die on cue.
3. Book: There was a really cool ‘green eye’ bomb thing that levels camp ashpit (so named because the refugee camp had to burn bodies nearby) and a stack of such bombs leveled the Others’ military base.
Movie: No cool bombs and at the end we’re just left to guess how Evan Walker blew a huge hole in the ground that literally swallowed an entire military based used by the Others.
These powerful, green, flashing bombs were not only cool, but instrumental in cluing in the reader as to who the real aliens were. After all, earth people don’t have scary bombs like that, do we? Well, anyway , the “committee” cut all that out.
4. Ben Parish:
Book: He’s hot but Cassie thinks he dies and then she falls in love with Evan Walker, an alien for grief’s sake! Ben also seems to fall for Ringer, the steampunk girl from hell or whatever.
Movie: Ben is not hot, and at the end, he seems to forget all about Ringer and flirts with Cassie. We don’t even know for sure whether Evan died. What???
5. Evan Walker:
Book: Evan is a hansom all American farm-type guy that really catches Cassie off guard. Yep, she’s hot for him but doesn’t admit it until later. And what’s really important here, Evan is an alien and actually ghosts into her body (if that’s what you want to call it), showing the depth of his feeling for her.
Movie: Is she forgetting about him for Ben just moments after he saved all their lives???? And the committee cut all this out about how the aliens can ghost or share their spirit with others, which makes them seem more three dimensional. The committee got rid of all that, of course.
6. Evan Walker Shoots Cassie?
Book: Evan shoots Cassie on the highway, but then regrets it, and saves her life. Now this has real soul and depth, particularly because it shows the conflict.
Movie: But of course the Hollywood committee screwed this part of the story up, and concocted something about Cassie getting shot by a different “silencer” and then Evan shots the other silencer, saving Cassie. Yeah, right, kinda sounds like George Lucas’ revision of Star Wars to make Han Solo shoot the bounty hunter second. Han Solo shot first, man!!!! And so did Evan! That’s why it makes his character so interesting. Leave it to the committee to ruin it.
I almost ranked this a 2, “Meh,” but frankly I’m a sucker for these kinds of apocalyptic, alien invasion, people-no-who-they-seem-to-be twists, and kids running around with guns. (I jest about this last point, but seems like Hunger Games and Battle Royal and the like seem to be pretty popular these days.)
So rent this one and be glad you didn’t spend 30+ dollars to see it on the big screen. More importantly, read the book instead!