There was a point in The Meg when I wanted to leave. This B movie without the class, is a slow and dreary muddle of a film, that strangely seems to lack any introspection on what it actually wants to be. The first clue I had, was the title of the film, that serves to offer no clue as to what we are to expect. At least with Sharknado, you know what you’re getting!
The Megaladon takes it’s time making an appearance, and when it does it seems as confused as the rest of the cast. For a prehistoric giant shark, it seems a bit lackluster in it’s initial attempts at eating things, and when it finally arrives Jaws style at a crowded beach resort, the mayhem is tame and inconsistent.
Jason Statham plays Jason Statham, who has previous experience with this kind of underwater peril, and is called in by a group of marine biologists that have found a new part of the ocean unseen by humans before due to a cold stream, or something. Funded by Dwight, from The American Office, they disturb The Meg and allow its passage into our waters. There is a series of set pieces with the cast in different underwater scenarios that look more science fiction than under water, and as you watch things unfold, why not spend the time wondering who will get eaten and who will survive.
If you are watching carefully you will probably guess the lucky ones that get to leave the screenplay before the last scene.
Along with the painting by numbers tropes of such a film, shark cage – tick, harpoon attack – tick, shark leaps on boat – tick, you get the usual action movie lines that show a lack of originality that permeates the whole screenplay. You have seen this all before in better action adventure films. There is a scene in this film, escape boat being chased by shark with helicopter overhead, that is so under whelmingly undramatic, that you even wonder why they bothered to include it.
We also get a moment where the crew find some dead sharks in the water, missing their fins, and one of them, (they were all interchangeable character wise), states that poachers have killed these sharks and stolen the fins for “a bowl of soup”. However, they emotion is lost, as they then spend the rest of the final act doing their best to murder the shark that they disturbed in the first place. This is a prehistoric giant shark that has been extinct for millions of years, and has been unfairly poked by a stick by a group of do gooders that spend the rest of their time trying to kill it. Honestly, by the end I was rooting for The Meg. Characters emote painfully about the cast that are eaten, then make flip jokes in the very next scene. Tonally the whole thing is a mess.
If you are going to spend $150 million on a film, at least decide how you want it to play. This should have been a monster movie in the style of a 50’s B movie, but that wasn’t enough for Jon Turtletaub who throws everything at it and in the end loses any style it might have achieved. Boring, predictable, cliched and un-engaging, I couldn’t find anything in this that would make me want to recommend it to anyone.
Normally I would say, if you are a fan of giant monster movies, check it out, but this is so drainingly dull I can’t even bring myself to say that. Sorry folks, this is a dud of epic proportions that should sink without a trace, and when the film eventually does end and they script “Fin” across the screen, I could have kicked the chair in front of me in sheer anger.
I’m off to watch Jaws!