Hey Jaws, that isn’t a shark… THIS is a shark.
A scientific research facility in the Pacific Ocean unearths a prehistoric threat in the form of a 75-foot-long megalodon, leading the team to hire disgraced rescue diver, Jonas Taylor, to sort shiznit out.
Yeah, look, I am not proud about what I am about to say here, but screw it, you only live once – I bloody loved The Meg! True, this movie is the definition of ludicrous (I mean, Chris Bridges is out of his depth here), but the film is heavily entertaining and all the better for it. This is dumb cinema at its finest and I cannot believe what I am about to do is explain to you why The Meg deserves your time and attention.
Ok, so you know those straight to DVD crap heaps like Sharknado, Ghost Shark, 2-Headed Shark Attack, Snow Sharks and other Oscar-bait goodies? Well The Meg is basically like a high-budget version of those with more, let’s say, ‘finesse’ behind it. Honestly, The Meg only truly works its magic if you watch it in the context of past dumb shark movies. If you dare enter the cinema for The Meg thinking it to be a straight and more serious shark movie like Jaws and The Shallows, you will leave your screening rather disappointed. Almost everything about this movie results in pure audience laughter – and trust me, I was pissing myself for most of this flick. I mean, where else am I going to get a visualisation of Jason Statham threatening a gigantic dinosaur shark? Yeah, thats right, nowhere… well maybe an upcoming Fast and the Furious movie.
The CG visual effects are honestly really good in The Meg with the titular shark appearing both appropriately silly and also seemingly horrifying. Although it takes a while for the shark to actually show itself, when it does, audiences are treated to non-stop shark mayhem, all fuelled by the bad boy heroicness of Jason Statham. The rest of the cast, on a whole, all sell the idea they are clashing with an impossible ocean threat whether through self-referential serious acting or oblivious-to-the-ridiculousness bad acting. Anything that anyone says or does, good or bad, just heightens the entertainment value of this movie, transitioning from the absurd to the genius.
To be frank though, I would not go so far to say this movie intentionally aims to be dumb. Instead, I believe The Meg to have partially tried to be somewhat serious. You can tell in some scenes, moments where the filmmakers actually got a bit ballsy and attempted to make a character death teary or a threat from the megalodon something to honestly panic over. This edge of seriousness probably came from the original pitch for the movie to be an Eli Roth directed gore fest, to which Statham had originally signed on for. Though the studio’s reluctance to label The Meg with an R-Rating led to it obviously becoming whatever this end product is. So yes, I believe with a more gorey edge, The Meg could have really become something special like the 1999 shark romp, Deep Blue Sea, but instead sits in the mid ground of trying to be serious at points but also devoting itself to being equally stupid.
The Meg is dumb fun, but its not always intentional… and that is mainly why I enjoy it so much.
What The Meg does so well is escalate in scale over the course of the film. So it begins in a rather confined rescue mission setting and builds and builds to a riotous beach attack that reaches all different levels of f****** off-the-rails blockbuster goodness. Now none of this is to say The Meg is a masterpiece. Its just a movie I highly enjoyed and I reckon is a fun watch if you just want two hours to waste. Rainn Wilson hams it up on screen and the ocean’s vastness can really leave a lasting impression when viewing this brain dead shark rambling B-movie exploit.
Like I said, negatively, the film does foolishly teeter between seriousness and silliness a bit too often and ultimately The Meg would have worked better with a comfortable R-rating, but who really cares… PEOPLE, this is a bloody giant shark. What the hell were you expecting? I mean, if Steve Irwin was here, he would say “CRIKEY”. And if Steve Backshall was here (to which he is; he’s basically Jason Statham with hair) he’d say that the megalodon belongs on the bloody ‘DEADLY 60’. I agree, boys, I agree.
The Meg is a bloody… CRUSADE!!
- Canyon Design Group 2018, The Meg (2018), IMP Awards, TMDb, viewed 20 August 2018, http://www.impawards.com/2018/meg.html (Featured Image)
- Gramling, C 2018, What ‘The Meg’ gets wrong – and right – about megalodon sharks, Science News, Society for Science & the Public, viewed 20 August 2018, https://www.sciencenews.org/article/what-meg-movie-gets-wrong-right-about-megalodon-sharks