Ever since Jaws captivated us in theaters and made us think twice before setting up our beach umbrella right next to the water, shark movies have mesmerized us. From Spielberg’s terrifying shark to the campy creatures raining down on us in Sharknado, we can’t seem to get enough. Now along comes Jason Statham to go prehistoric on us in The Meg.
The movie is set to three very distinct acts. The first breaks open the deep-water barrier that’s kept prehistoric creatures submerged for eons. The Meg is attracted to their lights and attacks. Statham, who insists he’s had an encounter with the Meg before, is called in to lead the rescue.
Next is the realization that the fossil had followed them back. They have to figure out how to track it and kill it. Finally they figure out there is a SECOND Megalodon, and it’s even smarter than the first and is headed for a crowded beach. We’re guessing it has a Yelp account and knew right where to go.
Honestly each of these could have been their own movies, and we have the distinct feeling that if Peter Jackson had gotten ahold of the project, they would have been!
Sta The Course
We’re not sure who is the star of the movie: The Meg or Jason Statham. The movie is clearly made for Jason. It features 90 minutes of Jason Statham doing Jason Stathamy things. He’s snarky. He’s fearless. He’s shirtless.
Essentially it’s Fast and the Furious on the high seas. He’s not stretching his acting muscles one bit. But his fans don’t go to his films to see him stretch his acting muscles! The super-sized sea creature tries to steal the show, but in this day and age of The Rock’s Rampage and an excessive amount of Godzilla movies (another one coming next year!), it’s gonna take a lot more than a CGI monster to terrify audiences.
If anyone steals the show, it’s Shuya Sophia Cai, who plays the precocious eight year old who’s smart enough to worry but sweet enough not to be obnoxious about it. There’s no great depth to her character, but she’s fun to watch and the writers didn’t give her any gratuitous opportunities to save the day. You know, like hitting the detonator to the bomb swallowed by the shark.
At the end of the day, this movie never quite figures out what it wants to be, and it shows in the way it’s been marketed. Commercials show campy scenes of a swimming dog in the shark’s path and hundreds of swimmers panicking in a very funny way. They even put Bobby Darin’s Beyond the Sea over the chaos!
But this is really set as a drama with a few snarky lines thrown Rainn Wilson’s way. It’s as if the editors got the footage and told producers, this is all we can do. We found ourselves laughing at a few moments that weren’t supposed to be funny.
In the end, this is an acceptable way to fill time on a rainy afternoon at home on your big screen. However, if you do want to see it in theaters, spring for the 3D experience!
The Critic’s Cocktail Recommendation
A Shark Bite. It’s as blue as the ocean, with just enough red to make it look like blood in the water.