Let’s talk about The Meg.
Shark movies are usually terrible. Yes there’s Jaws but that’s pretty much it. It turns out it’s very difficult to make movies where the primary danger can be avoided by not going into the water or leaving the water. All the Jaws sequels are absolute trash, the serious shark movies tend to be very boring and while I can understand enjoying the shark schlock that SyFy pumps out, you have to admit that they are all garbage as well. Even Sharknado. Especially Sharknado.
So The Meg doesn’t really have to do much to be liked in my eyes. There’s no point comparing it to Jaws because that’s a classic that is rarely surpassed anyway, so you can only really compare it to other shark movies. And honestly, there’s nothing else worth watching in that genre. Well there are some documentaries that are very good but when we are talking shark movies, we’re more looking for humans getting eaten by sharks than the documentation of the horrible things we have done and are doing to sharks.
This is a movie that is marketed as being Jason Statham fights a massive shark so you are probably wondering about the tone. With that sort of thing going on, you might be expecting and wanting some sort of silly B-Movie. But it’s definitely not wrong. Now it’s not on the other end of the scale here, the director Jon Turteltaub is smart enough to know that’s impossible, as there’s plenty of jokes and daft visuals. We do see Jason Statham stab a flying shark at one point so there’s definitely a willingness to be silly. Upon further research, I did find out that Turteltaub directed the National Treasure movies and if you’ve seen them, you’ll know what you are getting into here. That sort of movie where everything in it is very silly but everyone takes it so seriously. And some how it all works.
So, how are the shark bits? Well they are fun. The movie does well building up the mythos of the shark early on, having it mysteriously attack a deep water vessel in the darkness for what feels like the first 40 minutes. This is the nearest it gets to horror though it’s not at all scary. But then the shark, which is in fact a long thought extinct mega shark called a megalodon, manages to break free from his prehistoric home and enter our seas. He even attacks a sea base our heroes are in, though for some reason he only takes one bite then decides he’s not in for that. So you get all the scenes you’d expect from a movie like this. You have the tense moments where they can’t find it, you’ve got a shark cage scene, you’ve got some ‘we need a bigger boat’ stuff and we even have a scene where the shark goes to a public beach because we need to honour Jaws in some way or form. That said, the shark barely does anything other than pull some jetties about so it’s a poor showing from the supposed mega shark.
It leads to a lot of fun scenes, especially when Jason Statham gets into the mix. He plays Jason Statham once again and it goes exactly as you expect. He’s had enough of everyone’s s**t and just wants to get the job done which is kill this mega shark. He gets all the best one-liners, he gets all the best action scenes and he is the most fun to watch. The movie suffers early on because while Statham is in the opening scene, he then disappears for about 30 minutes so the movie can establish themselves. And no character is as fun or interesting as Statham’s. So the movie stutters and doesn’t really get going until it heads to Thailand so it can drag a drunk Statham back into the sea. That is the problem when you create a star vehicle, the movie struggles when it doesn’t have the star it was obviously built around.
Well there is another star and that is the shark and again, the movie suffers when the shark is not in it. It’s obvious that the movie doesn’t really care for anything that doesn’t have the shark in it because nothing really happens. There is meant to be some tension between Statham and a doctor because of mistakes the former has made previously which led to the deaths of many people but they resolve it so quickly it was pointless even bringing it up. There is also a romance between Statham and the marine biologist Suyin but again, that’s not that interesting. There’s very little actual chemistry between them and you just sort of accept it because movies like this always have a weak romance in them somewhere. But while scenes without Statham and shark suck, the scenes where Staham and the shark together rock as if they know they have to make up for the rest of the film.
The Meg is pretty much what you’d expect. It’s a daft shark movie where Jason Statham gets to fight a shark. It’s not too silly, but it’s not too seriously. It’s the right amount of silly. It’s boring in places yes but it does make up for it in other places. If you go into the movie not expecting a Jaws-like classic and instead an amusing blockbuster that you don’t have to think too hard about, you’ll get plenty of bang for your buck.