The 5th Wave Parent Guide

Had this been a part of the first wave of post-apocalyptic teen adventure movies, this solid story would have been more impressive. Violence is the production's biggest content issue.

Overall B-

Four waves of attack by an alien race have left earth in state of disaster. Knowing another devastating round is coming, sixteen-year-old Cassie Sullivan (Chloë Grace Moretz) tries to brace for the worst while at the same time trying to save her younger brother (Zackary Arthur).

Release date January 22, 2016

Violence C-
Sexual Content B-
Profanity C-
Substance Use B+

Why is The 5th Wave rated PG-13? The MPAA rated The 5th Wave PG-13 for violence and destruction, some sci-fi thematic elements, language and brief teen partying.

Run Time: 112 minutes

Official Movie Site

Parent Movie Review

Here we have a screenplay starring a strong female character living in a dystopian environment where anyone over the age of 30 should be carefully assessed before being trusted. Add to this the opportunity for two young men to take an interest in the pretty girl. Sound familiar? It should, because The 5th Wave is about the fifth movie I can easily recall that includes these elements. It seems the best way to get a book published and optioned as a movie is to put a young protagonist in a violent world and, for bonus points, work a little romance in between the perilous confrontations.

Cassie Sullivan (Chloë Grace Moretz) is a typical American high school student—at least she’s movie typical. Blonde, beautiful and modestly shy about approaching her football-playing crush, Ben Parish (Nick Robinson), Cassie’s life is pretty fine—until some aliens park their flying saucer right over her neighborhood. Within short order the unseen foe from outer space begins killing off humans by first disabling their power grid with an electromagnetic pulse, followed by earthquakes, floods and disease. Within a half-hour of film time, Cassie moves from her happy place to being a lone girl in the woods with an automatic weapon, ready to kill on sight as she searches for what family she may have left.

Had The 5th Wave been part of the first wave of movies to explore this concept, I’d have been more impressed. The story is relatively solid, although I suspect most audiences won’t be too surprised by the few twists and turns in this plot. Chloe Grace Moretz does an admirable job of playing Katniss… er… I mean Cassie, and the rest of the cast turns in decent performances as well. The problem is we feel like we’ve seen it all before.

However, the repetition of these plot points also leads to the question of how does our entertainment reflect or contribute to adolescent attitudes? Are these frequent depictions of teens living in worlds without parents, where adults are either trying to manipulate or kill them, reflective of a society that isn’t providing for its children? Or is this simply teen-movie-angst—a modern day evolution of a rebel with a cause? That’s not to say there isn’t anything worthwhile here for young people. One possible positive message is the script’s exploration of how societies depend on an ability to trust their members in order to stay stable and sustain a sense of humanity.

Once the mayhem gets started, violence becomes the production’s biggest content issue. Realistic looking neighborhoods are shown in tatters with corpses lying throughout the streets. Cars crash and a plane falls out of the sky as Cassie and a few of her classmates look out the school window. As civilization dissolves, gun violence intensifies, and so do the portrayals of on-screen shootings and a mass killing. There is also a scene of teen sensuality with implied sexual activity. Profanities are relatively infrequent, although a single sexual expletive is still included.

Despite following in the footsteps of its genre predecessors, The 5th Wave is engaging and Cassie’s initial love for her family is commendable. With two more books to come in this series, the next titled The Infinite Sea, there’s a good chance another wave is on its way.

Directed by J Blakeson. Starring Chloë Grace Moretz, Maika Monroe, Maggie Siff, Zackary Arthur. Running time: 112 minutes. Theatrical release January 22, 2016. Updated

The 5th Wave
Rating & Content Info

Why is The 5th Wave rated PG-13? The 5th Wave is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for violence and destruction, some sci-fi thematic elements, language and brief teen partying.

Violence: An alien force is trying to destroy all of mankind. Humans have been subjected to loss of services like electricity, clean water and communications. Earthquakes and floods cause deaths. Many get sick and die from an epidemic. The movie contains frequent depictions of deaths from drowning and disease, extensive property destruction, explosions, crashing vehicles, planes falling from the sky, along with countless corpses. Characters resort to gun battles and fistfights, which result in bloody injuries, deaths, a massacre and several on-screen shootings. Characters’ lives are constantly in peril. The military trains children to be soldiers: drills, war games, target practice, self-defense exercises and children killing other children are shown. A lack of trust causes characters to shoot and kill others—innocent people die as a result. A parasite that inhabits a human host is shown. A bloody gunshot wound is seen and later stitched up without the use of anesthetic. Some death threats are uttered.

Sexual Content: The script contains some sexual innuendo. A couple of girls joke about sending a text message with an invitation for sex. Female sanitary supplies are briefly shown. Some male characters are seen shirtless. Ssensual glances are exchanged between a young man and a teen girl: kissing is shown and sexual relations are implied.

Language: A strong sexual expletive is used, along with infrequent mild profanity and scatological slang. Also included in the script are a few terms of deity and rude slang.

Alcohol / Drug Use: Teen-aged characters at a party drink something that might be alcohol. Medical drugs are administered and an IV injection site is shown.

Other: Medical equipment is used to implant tracking devices.

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More parents' guide for The 5th Wave after the break...

The 5th Wave Parents' Guide

As Cassie watches the methodical destruction of mankind, she makes some observations about the methods the aliens are using. What things did they do to separate the weak from the strong? What weapons do they employ to kill the survivors? In what ways are they psychological as well as physical?

Why is trust the glue that hold society together. Why does robbing humans of that quality also rob them of their humanity? What would you do if you lived in a world where you could not depend on, or predict, the motives of others? What human traits are mentioned that might save mankind?

More about the movie:
The 5th Wave is based on a novel by Rick Yancey and is one of a trio of books. The next title, The Infinite Sea, released in September 2014. The final book, The Last Star releases in May 2016.

Home Video

The most recent home video release of The 5th Wave movie is May 3, 2016. Here are some details…

Home Video Notes: The 5th Wave
Release Date: 3 May 2016
The 5th Wave releases to home video (4k Ultra/Blu-ray/DVD) with the following special features:

4K Ultra HD Extras:
- Feature film in 4K resolution with High Dynamic Range (HDR)
- Dolby Atmos soundtrack (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible)*
- Includes high-def Blu-ray featuring the film and special features

Blu-ray Extras:
- Commentary with Director J Blakeson and Chloë Grace Moretz
- Five Featurettes:
“Inside The 5th Wave
“Sammy on the Set”
“The 5th Wave Survival Guide”
“Training Squad 53”
“Creating a New World”
- Cast Gag Reel
-  Deleted Scenes
- Bonus sneak peek excerpt of The Last Star, by Rick Yancey

Digital Extras:
- Commentary with Director J Blakeson and Chloë Grace Moretz
- Five Featurettes:
“Inside The 5th Wave
“Sammy on the Set”
“The 5th Wave Survival Guide”
“Training Squad 53”
“Creating a New World”
- Cast Gag Reel
-  Deleted Scenes
- Bonus sneak peek excerpt of The Last Star, by Rick Yancey

DVD Extras:
- Commentary with Director J Blakeson and Chloë Grace Moretz
- Two Featurettes:
“Inside The 5th Wave
“Sammy on the Set”
- Bonus sneak peek excerpt of The Last Star, by Rick Yancey

Related home video titles:

Aliens also attack Earth in the movies Independence DayandWar of the Worlds. Other movies that use similar plot elements include Twilight, The Maze Runner, The Hunger Games, The Giver and Divergent.

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