The Meg is a mildly entertaining summer shark movie that borderlines on generic as Jason Statham leads this almost bloodless creature feature with his usual wit and charms. The CGI is impressive, but the story lacks urgency and energy as Jon Turteltaub's film quickly moves from fun summer flick to dead fish food.
The Meg is a shark movie with a history, taking over a decade to jump from page to screen as a PG-13 novel adaptation starring one of Hollywood’s most known action stars, Jason Statham. Oddly enough, the problem with The Meg isn’t its assembled cast or lack of gore, but a lack of true vision as Jon Turteltaub‘s film goes from interesting to comatose within minutes. The Meg squanders its awesome concept and even better special effects to settle for another shark movie that rarely features a shark actually eating something other than chum.
Jonas Taylor (Jason Statham) is an experienced rescue diver called to an offshore research facility to go down and rescue some researchers that have been stranded at the bottom of the ocean, because “something” has attacked them and left them for dead. Last time Jonas went that low, he returned without a few crew members and since then has drunk himself silly trying to forget about his past mistakes and to ignore the fact that he too saw something massive and unexplainable.
Now, he faces the killer prehistoric shark once again as the researchers quickly realize that they have potentially unearthed one of the most deadliest species ever to have lived. With only hours to go, they must kill this killer shark before it reaches land and slaughters one of the most densely-populated beaches on the planet.
The Meg sounds like it has all of the ingredients to make for an awesome shark movie, including Jason Statham and a well-rounded cast, plus a budget that actually means this big shark can be brought to life proper. Yet the movie drops the ball.
The visuals are impressive. Turteltaub brings most of the budget to the big screen in glorious fashion. The shark is absolutely massive and beautiful-looking, which makes the action easier on the eyes and all of the cool tech and gadgets slightly more believable. But the story doesn’t utilize this same budget, because it honestly moves at the pace of a turtle and makes about as much sense as a wet beach towel.
There has been plenty of talk about the film’s intended R-rating and the eventual PG-13 rating that it received and I can honestly say that the rating might not have helped. I know Statham and Turteltaub have discussed sequences of gore and violence that were either cut or not even shot to begin with, but I don’t think those scenes could have rescued the film any better than Leo could’ve saved the Titanic.
Unless those scenes equated to maybe 45 minutes of completely alternate footage that didn’t follow this film’s narrative at all.
The Meg moves around with an aimless direction that does whatever it can to simply get everyone to continue to fall off the boat and into the water, only to avoid the shark’s massive teeth time and time again.
The only real cast member that does much of anything is Jason Statham and even he questions his sanity out loud throughout the film. It’s almost laughable as to how dumb most of these characters are.
Deep Blue Sea, Jaws and even the more recent The Shallows have provided us with shark movies that are well-constructed, tense and deliver on the premise of a killer shark trying to gobble up some innocent bystanders. But all of those films had certain moments of entertainment and excitement.
These moments are never felt in The Meg, despite the size of the shark or seemingly endless amount of water for carnage and destruction to happen in. Director Jon Turteltaub blows his load on the shark effects and not on a script doctor or location scout. It feels as if 85% of The Meg takes place in front of a green screen and it’s such a shame.
I wanted to go into The Meg with low expectations and walk away with a gigantic smile on my face, because of the mindless entertainment that delivered on the promises shown in the trailer. The reality is that I spent most of the movie looking at my watch and then when it was over, I stood up and asked myself if that was it. It was and I’m glad to not have to waste another minute on it, but I’m still somewhat bummed that they ruined such an awesome premise on such a dumb movie.