‘The Meg’: Movie Review
I just saw The Meg, a movie about a giant shark, based on Steve Alten’s 1997 novel of the same name starring Jason Statham, Li Bingbing, Rainn Wilson and Ruby Rose. Minor spoilers ahead! The film opens with Jonas Taylor (Statham) attempting a deep-sea rescue that doesn’t go exactly as planned for several reasons which lead to his retirement, divorce, and resentment. This is also why there’s a scene, in both mediums, where something goes wrong with a high-tech research facility and the only one who can save the day is Taylor, but because he’s considered to be unstable or unreliable there is significant hesitation on the part of the research team to allow Jonas to join them, despite his expertise.
Also, in both mediums this research team explores below the Thermocline (a section of the ocean defined as “a steep temperature gradient in a body of water such as a lake, marked by a layer above and below which the water is at different temperatures”) represented in the film as what is believed to be the ocean floor, but turns out to be just a cloud-like layer hiding an entire ecosystem full of unknown life forms, as well as several prehistoric creatures. This is when it is revealed that what Jonas testified to during the aftermath of his earlier mission – the Megalodon is real, and far from being extinct, was ready to wreak havoc.
There are many differences after this between the book and film, but both are filled with action. There are also differing explanations as to how the shark was able to escape the Thermocline, where the temperature dropped below freezing and would be deadly for the beast. Both explanations are fairly plausible, if not highly unlikely. There is a significant suspension of disbelief required for this film, but the action is a lot of fun.
You might be expecting a lot more blood from a movie about a giant shark running amok in a crowded swimming area, but director Jon Turteltaub (National Treasure, National Treasure 2) had to cut the gorier scenes in order to keep the PG-13 rating. I would also like to point out that the ending was absolutely off the wall crazy, and book readers will catch something that might hold the possibility of a sequel.
All in all, this was a really fun movie. It’s a big-budget action film that has a massive shark as its main antagonist. This isn’t going to win any Oscars, but it is a very enjoyable movie and I had a good time with it. Even Jason Statham referred to The Meg as “the ultimate popcorn movie”, which is a good description. A friend of mine described it really well- “there’s plenty to like, but little to love”. I think that really encapsulates the spirit of the movie. I liked it a lot and I will be picking up the Blu-ray. I think if you go into it expecting a straightforward battle against a giant shark, then you’ll like this movie. Besides, it’s summer! Go see the giant shark movie, grab some popcorn and enjoy yourself!
If you’ve seen The Meg, let us know what you thought in the comments below.
Patrick Rahall covers entertainment for MFST. Follow him on Twitter at @PatrickRahall