I enjoy movies that are works of art, movies that ask bold questions about the world around us and cause me to think long after the credits are over.
But I also enjoy movies about a giant shark that eats people.
“The Meg” follows a deep sea research team off the coast of China. After exploring a deep underwater trench, a group of divers accidentally discovers a Megalodon, a species of giant shark that lived during the prehistoric age, thought to be extinct… until now. With the divers trapped, the team calls in deep water rescue specialist Jonas Taylor, played by action star Jason Statham, to save them and to find a way to kill The Meg.
“The Meg” is actually based on a novel. Published in 1997, a film adaptation of “Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror” has been in the works since after the book’s release, but has been in production limbo for decades.
I don’t know what the novel is like. Maybe it is a well-crafted book; after all, “Jaws” was based off of a novel. But I do know what the movie is like: a Hollywood blockbuster with a B-movie premise. And that is probably the best way to describe “The Meg.”
I hate to profile a whole group of movies, but, with the exception of “Jaws,” I can’t recall a shark movie being a masterpiece of filmmaking.
The plot sounds almost like something produced by The Asylum, the production house behind B-movies that are intentionally bad, like their most famous project: “Sharknado.” Yet, all of the trademarks of a blockbuster are there, including a big budget, a big name star and action scenes.
But it has the flaws of an average blockbuster, such as being generic at times with its story and characters – along with the pandering towards Chinese audiences to increase ticket sales.
First with the good.
The action is enjoyable. Seeing a giant shark attacking boats and unsuspecting swimmers, it’s hard to go wrong. The image of the Megalodon’s giant fin appearing above the water is awesome.
However, “The Meg” also takes itself too seriously at times. It tries to incorporate serious moments while also featuring over-the-top action scenes.
Then again, this movie is somewhat self-aware about its ridiculous premise. Rainn Wilson, known as being Dwight from “The Office,” plays a main character, who almost breaks the fourth wall with his jokes and it didn’t match the tone of the film. On a side note, his character didn’t feel very constant. He would go from likeable to unlikeable quickly. They were clearly trying to make him complex, which is respectable, but it just wasn’t handled very well.
The only true flaw this movie has isn’t plot holes or anything like that. It’s that it didn’t have more fun with its giant shark premise. Honestly, I wish The Meg ate more people. There were clearly opportunities for more carnage and mayhem.
Without a doubt there are plenty of fun moments in this film, but is “The Meg” truly a good movie or is it a bad one?
If you are looking for a giant shark attacking summer swimmers, this is the movie for you. If not, you probably won’t appreciate this movie. It all depends on your own personal tastes – no pun intended.