The Meg (2018) — Wet and furious

“Meg versus man isn’t a fight… it’s a slaughter.”

Justin’s rating: How far — yet not far at all — we’ve come since Pac-Man was eating dots.

Justin’s review: It’s a stone-cold, undeniable fact that you can’t out-Jaws Jaws. Steven Spielberg did shark movies pretty much perfect right out of the gate, effectively baring his chest at wanna-be contenders and snarling that they should look elsewhere for inspiration. Most took the hint, but every year or two, some dense filmmaker tries to contribute to this creature feature category with a lame twist: smart sharks, tornado sharks, suspenseful sharks, and so on. They’ll never stop because we’ll never stop watching them.

Anyway, here we are.

The Meg, therefore, is “biggie-sized sharks” on a PG-13 diet with Jason Statham hoping that the toothy wonder will divert you from noticing that he’s dining during the AARP hours at IHOP. Statham plays Jonas, a rescue diver who has a knack for bumping into prehistoric mega-sharks multiple times while everyone else is like, “Mega-shark? Oh, you’re nuts, Jason Statham! That’s impossiAAARGHHH!”

As with every other shark movie since Jaws 3-D, there’s a giant underwater facility that has invested plenty in giant window hallways and very little in structural integrity. It’s kind of a double-dog dare to any swimming monstrosities in the area, but what are the odds?

Oh hey, look at that, a megalodon has time traveled from millions of years ago to start playing tag with scientists, a billionaire (Dwight Schrute, on loan from Dunder-Mifflin), and increasingly cranky Jonas. Just by looking at him in the opening scene, I knew he was going to be one of those heroes that is scrappy and capable at the cost of a whole lot of stern lectures.

Because PG-13 means “no blood,” The Meg is best seen as a blend of Godzilla and Jurassic Park’s residents. Just there to help bite through scenery, be Really Big, and keep audiences satiated by mind-blowingly expensive CGI. For added fun, they’ve got underwater sports coupes masquerading as submarines in the deepest part of the ocean. I think this one fact alone caused at least a dozen oceanographers worldwide to collapse in mewling misery.

The increased scale of the shark doesn’t really seem to justify this flick making over a half-billion dollars. It’s a paint-by-numbers creature feature that sacrificed whatever genuine edginess and suspense it could’ve had to be a mindless Statham vehicle instead. Perhaps it was the array of pretty likable characters and the audience’s memories of those giant megalodon mouths that you find standard at every science museum in the world.

With The Meg, what you expect to find going into this is exactly what you’re going to get. There are no hidden depths, no surprises, no amazing twist endings. Maybe that’s what you need. Maybe not. I didn’t. In any case, Jaws is still better.

Didja notice?

  • People enjoy having their smells commented upon
  • Spikey-hair girl rocks the ‘do
  • It’s a kraken attack!
  • Sharks love to play around flares
  • “Tell me this isn’t the world’s best I-told-you-so.”
  • Unnecessary Jason Statham eye candy
  • Baby whale is TOAST

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