Let’s talk about Meg 2: The Trench.
The greatest shark movie ever made is Jaws. Sorry for spoiling the review but it is and it will never change. Jaws is one of the greatest movies of all time and you’ll never knock it off the top of the shark mountain. So how do you make a shark movie knowing it’s impossible to be the best? Well instead of trying to make something serious, you just go full-on daft. Which is the right way to go with a movie genre where the simple answer is often ‘Just don’t get into the water’. And so we’ve had a lot of shark movies but all of them are pretty disposable, even the first Meg movie which came out a few years ago. Now we have a sequel which looks like it might have more to sink our teeth into.
Jonas Taylor goes on an expedition to the trench where the megalodons come from. However when a rogue mining company below attacks him and his crew, they accidentally blow a hole in the barrier between the trench and our world, letting the sharks back through into our world.
When I watched the trailers, I wondered what the film was on about when it was subtitled with ‘The Trench’. Nothing seemed to get shown about it but I did hear a lot of barracuda while a giant shark killed tourists. But oh boy does it take up a lot of the movie and it is really poor. Where the film gained an audience was in being a bit daft and over the top. It’s a giant shark movie, you couldn’t do much else. But in this first half when everything is down in the trench, it doesn’t have much fun. It’s dark, it’s poorly directed which is a surprise from Ben Wheatley who is usually very good, and just a chore to get through. It’s also not very funny as the script decides to get serious to try and up the stakes of the whole film but it’s not what you want out of this.
But thankfully the film does get out of the trench and realise that it is a very silly shark movie. A villain monologues before getting devoured in a scene that is about to get sued by Deep Blue Sea, a returning character has suddenly become a brilliant fighter and has a desert eagle and everyone has a quip in the pocket ready to go. This is the movie I wanted from this. It’s stupid, it’s silly and exactly what a big shark movie should be. There’s a lot of creativity in the shark scenes from the incredibly funny squeaky pedalo chase to the shot that’s within the shark mouth of them just eating everyone. But even here, there’s problems. There is the introduction of a grant killer octopus which does lead to a lot of funny moments as people look to escape it. But they never really introduce it. It’s teased for a bit and then it appears without any real acclaim. Like it doesn’t need much but I could do with a big orchestral swell and Jason Statham going ‘Oh my god it’s a giant octopus whatever will we do’ just so we know it’s a big deal.
Meg 2: The Trench is a fragmented film that is a lot of fun when it eventually gets to what it needs to do. You have to sit through some really boring stuff in the trench where it feels like it’s trying to be a serious action thriller and at that point, this film is well on it’s way to ending up on my Worst of 2023 list. Thankfully as soon as they get back onto the scientific rig thing and then onto Fun Island, it becomes the pulpy, camp B-Movie it should have been from the start. Maybe for a second because they got an acclaimed director on board they thought they could go for the shark movie crown and be better than Jaws but then realised no, that’s stupid and reverted to type. If only they had stuck to type throughout.