THE MEG Review – Getting Too Chummy With This Supersized Shark
The Meg Review — Somewhere Between Sharknado and Jaws
The Meg (which is short for Megalodon) is a wannabe blockbuster for the ages. It’s based on pulp-author Steve Alten’s action adventure novel about Jonas Taylor, a tortured, alcoholic diver and paleontologist who makes a stand against the most dangerous apex predator the world has ever known and comes out not only treading water but up for several sequels. Casting superstar tough-guy Jason Statham as Jonas was smart… too bad the script isn’t.
The plot is what it is—a colossal prehistoric shark is accidentally unleashed from beneath the Mariana Trench, finds its way to a snack-sized civilization, and goes on a rampage—but it’s workable. The novel’s plot and characters gave the filmmakers plenty to work with, but somehow the screenwriters, director and actors managed to drop the buoy and the result is the wrong kind of disaster movie.
The main problem with The Meg is its lack of commitment to tone: the trailer takes all of the one-liners and jump-scares, leading audiences to believe they are in for big, dumb, pulse-pounding fun. There’s nothing wrong with that. But what is wrong, is when eyebrow-waggling wisecracks and vicious shark attacks are square-pegged into the round holes of false accusations, alcoholism, infidelity, death and greed. It’s hard to balance light and dark, but Steven Spielberg sure made it work in 1975 with Jaws; humor, drama, and horror all come together swimmingly in that tale. Of course, it’s not entirely fair to compare any subsequent shark flicks to Jaws, but if director Jon Turteltaub had only picked a side—comedy or thriller—and stuck to it, we’d have a much better movie.
I will say that there are some imaginative action sequences and effective attacks in The Meg. But those do not come along until well into the third act; adding insult to injury, the press screening was not presented in 3D or IMAX. It might have been more fun to see it in its full visual glory.
For folks wanting nothing more than to see a CGI shark chomp bipedal fish-food, then The Meg is not all bad. It has its moments—I just wish there had been more of them.
1 hour 52 minutes
If this The Meg review intrigues you and you want to see the film, find times and tickets at Fandango.com.