Movie Review- The Meg

Simple Review- MEH-alodon

Greetings fellow film fanatics! I want to apologize for being late to post this, I have been under the weather as of late, but not to fear, illness will not keep me from sharing my ramblings with you! So without further ado…

This weeks big movie release is the prehistoric shark adventure, The Meg. To be fair to The Meg, I only went into this movie with the expectations of a big, silly summer flick that we could all have a fun time watching, turn off our brains and chow down on popcorn. Unfortunately, this movie isn’t big enough or dumb enough to really have fun with, and that makes this feel like a missed opportunity.

I am going to try to avoid spoilers, however, there isn’t that much to spoil. ( And to prepare you, I enjoy saying Statham..a lot) A team of deep-sea researchers find an unexplored area of the ocean, and in the midst of their excitement, their research sub is damaged and they need to be rescued. Fortunately for them, there is only one man on Earth that can perform a rescue at such depths, Jason Statham. Yes, Statham’s character does have a name and is a rescue diver, but this is Statham being Statham, I am not saying that as a negative, in fact, it is one of the fun parts of the movie because Jason is in on the silliness of the movie, and his best moments are when he is having fun with the role. As Statham rescues the researchers, they accidentally unleash the megladon, a giant, prehistoric killing machine. Shark mayhem ensues. Nothing too complicated, sort of a peanut butter sandwich of a plot, easy to make easy to digest.

Let’s start with the positives that The Meg delivers. As I already stated, Statham does his best Statham. I like Jason Statham as an action star. He seems to know what’s in his wheelhouse, and he is a hero to us bald, or balding, men out there! He plays this role just right, winking at us to let us know this isn’t Shakespeare. Some of the best scenes he has are with the little girl, Meiying, played by Shuya Sophia Cai. He seems to have a playful side with her, that, surprisingly, makes his character actually human! Rainn Wilson and Cliff Curtis, do a good job with the characters they have to work with. There isn’t much depth to their characters, but each actor, like Statham, seem to know what this movie is and each brings a bit of fun into the movie. There are a few fun action pieces. The best one is when Jason Statham is the bait on the hook. That sequence had a nice blend of suspense, humor and kinetic energy to bring a smile to my face. The movie does throw a nice surprise at us, and the movie’s heroes, that amps up the danger. Sadly, that is all the positives that I can really find.

The main negative I have for this movie is that it didn’t go as crazy as it could have. It really felt like it was being held back from any real mayhem, in order to get a PG-13 rating. This is a b-movie about a giant prehistoric shark!! Give me some carnage so I feel like this thing is actually a threat. There is a part where this creature is swimming around the most densely populated beach I have ever seen!! Yet, the shark chomping is minimal at best. The filmmakers even try to set up the beach scene with an Alex Kintner homage, that just doesn’t deliver. The shark rarely seems to be that giant, which sounds odd. It never feels like any more than a great white. It would have been cool to see it attack a naval warship, or tear through a cruise ship, something to make it’s size that more threatening.

The bad part about holding back, the weaknesses in the script and acting become that much more obvious. The Meg is based off a novel, that I read a long time ago, but don’t let that fool you, this is a prime example of lazy screenwriting. The plot is paper thin, and the characters are stereotypical. Nerds are nerds, rich guys are bad and scientists all have nothing but noble intentions. There is zero depth in any of these people, and I don’t care if they live or die. I know what you are saying, ” What do you expect from a b-movie pretending to be a real movie.” That is where the problem is in holding back. If they would have gone over the top and had fun with creative shark attacks, it would not matter if the characters were likable or if the plot is basic. I do not think anyone is expecting this to be “Jaws”, so why not go for broke?

The acting is a bit odd, as well. Outside of Statham, and the others I mentioned, everyone else seems to be playing this straight, which drags the movie down. Plus they all have a weird mourning process. Some characters get killed, and everyone gets teary-eyed and can’t believe it happened. Other characters die, and no one even blinks an eye. I guess those characters may have been jerks around the office before we join them in this movie, so everyone was kind of glad they died. If only there was someone on the set to get all of the actors on the same page, instead of checking off boxes for the studio.

I don’t know if this will fall into the negative side, or if these are just Hollywood things, but I get a kick out of boats and submarines that start and stop on a dime like a car. They never seem to drift, or rock on the waves. I also love when the ONLY person that can help is someone like Jason Statham, It is never some fat, out of shape guy named Walter. I think that would make for a more suspenseful film, watching Walter fight off a heart attack as he dog paddles away from a big ole shark. Alas, we will never have the pleasure of seeing that movie.

To bring this rambling to a close, The Meg isn’t awful, but it isn’t the movie it could have been. Jason Statham does his best to keep us entertained, but I really wish the filmmakers would have let loose and given us some fun shark carnage!!

As always, thanks for your time!

The Movie Psycho