The 5th Wave 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

YA adaptations are similar to comic book movies in the sense that it takes a lot to make one stand out. We’ve gotten so many YA movies over the years that they all seem to run together. There’s nothing particularly wrong with THE 5th WAVE, it’s just that it doesn’t break any new ground or offer any original takes on the genre. In fact, the film felt so familiar that on several occasions, I was able to quote the next line of dialogue before the characters spoke it. So either I’ve seen too many movies or THE 5TH WAVE followed too specific of a formula.

The 5th Wave

The earth is under attack by a far superior alien species that needs the earth for its new home. To take it over, “the others” have deployed a series of 5 waves. The first took out the electricity, the second was a series of floods, the third was a severe virus, the fourth wave was the appearance of The Others among humans and the fifth wave is kind of a mystery. We follow Cassie (Moretz) as she deals with the invasion, trying to protect her younger brother. She eventually gets separated from her brother as he ends up in an army training camp with other young kids. That divides the movie as we bounce back and forth between Cassie trying to return to her brother and Ben (Robinson), who is one of Cassie’s friends training at the facility.

The 5th Wave

I don’t like picking apart the plots of these types of movies, but THE 5TH WAVE is just asking for it with many of its head-scratching moments. The first is the very existence of the waves of attacks. The audience has to believe that a superior alien race with infinitely advanced technology has decided that the best way to rid the earth of humans is to train little kids to kill them? How does that make sense when compared to the other waves? It doesn’t. But what it does is put kids into a very adult situation, which seems to be the only goal of YA adaptations.

Speaking of YA clichés, everything Cassie goes through is meant to make her feel strong and beautiful. I’m sure that works very well in the books, but in a movie, it’s groan inducing. The moment Evan (Roe) said he changed his ways because he fell in love with her the moment he saw her, I knew screenwriting team (three of them, never a good sign) didn’t care so much about story and were more interested in playing into the hands of the traditional YA audience.

The 5th Wave

The production value of the film was actually pretty high. The CGI worked pretty well with the larger destruction scenes and a bit iffy for the combat scenes. Everyone involved did a good job given the terrible script and J Blakeson did what he could with the direction. The fault doesn’t lie with anyone involved with making the film, aside from the screenwriters. The problem is that THE 5TH WAVE is about a decade too late. Between THE HUNGER GAMES, THE TWILIGH SAGA, MAZE RUNNER and several others, this has all been done before and I suspect even the target audience is getting sick of the genre.


Video: THE 5TH WAVE is another case of a transfer that’s only marginally better as a whole, but has a few scenes where a clear difference over the Blu-ray is clear.  There’s one scene that stood out to me as being a justification for the 4K format and that was the night scene where Evan fought off several hunters. On Blu-ray, that scene was tough to watch because it was so dark and difficult to tell what was going on. But on 4K, that scene looked incredible (even if it did highlight some of the film’s CGI shortcomings). Overall though, I’m not sure this is going to be a UHD title you’ll want to use to show off the new format.

Audio: The audio was fine.

There are no 4K exclusive features included on the 4K disc, but it does include a copy of the Blu-ray.


Click 4K Ultra HD to read more of our 4K reviews.


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