“The Meg” was directed by Jon Turteltaub and stars Jason Statham, Bingbing Li and Rainn Wilson. This movie is about a huge shark, but more than that, about a group of researchers attempting to stop a huge shark from killing a lot of people as it gets closer to shore.
This, above all, looked like a very stupid movie. But, my hope was that, at the least, it would understand how dumb it was, and be a very fun, ridiculous film to watch. My expectations were certainly low, though I did come in hoping for some great effects and some awesome moments of absurdity.
Statham is by far and away the most enjoyable thing to come out of this movie. His performance is the perfect mix of fun and seriousness that he has really mastered recently, like in “Spy,” for example. Statham doesn’t feel too over the top to where he is laughable, but he gave just enough to put a smile on my face, and enough for me to appreciate the fun he was having with the role.
The visuals are pretty great overall, with the Megalodon coming alive in stunning fashion whenever it makes its way on screen. Seeing an absolute unit of a shark swim under hundreds of unsuspecting people, or just seeing it in perspective with a boat makes for some immediately entertaining shots, and I thought the camerawork overall was handled well in the film. A certain shot from Statham’s perspective in the middle of the film stands out, and it was shots like these that added to the horror of the situation in a unique way.
Though far from perfect, the second half of this movie is much more of what I was looking to get out of it. Here, there are plenty of over-the-top, ridiculous moments featuring the shark, as well as equally whacky ideas from the people trying to stop it. Some of these scenes made my eyes roll, yes, but in a movie like this, the final act should be as ridiculous as possible, so I ended up enjoying a lot of what the film offered from this point on.
Sadly, “The Meg” never fully gives in to being so bad that it’s good, instead sitting in this territory of mediocrity for a lot of the runtime.
This is most apparent in the opening half, which is way slower and way more uninteresting than it ever should be. There does not need to be a long introduction to a towering shark on the hunt for blood, but the movie really tries its hardest to take up an hour of runtime talking about it anyways. Until the megalodon makes it on screen, maybe 30 or 40 minutes in, this is simply a painfully dull attempt at drama, and it was not fun to watch.
Because Turteltaub never feels fully invested in going for a super fun, cheesy film, a lot of the scenes with dialogue feel very clunky. There are attempts at emotion that bomb hard, as well as some quippy one-liners that usually fall flat on delivery. Wilson has some moments of being whacky in a good way, but for the most part, aside from Statham, the whole crew is way too bland to be memorable.
What I meant to say was that everyone was too bland to be memorable, except for Page Kennedy, who was especially terrible. There always seems to be that one guy on a research team who is scared of everything and always has to tell everyone about it, and Kennedy is that guy. Was it ever funny? No. Is it especially unfunny here? Absolutely.
Again, this is a dumb movie for sure, but I never got the feel that it understood how dumb it is, and because of that I have to mention that there are a lot of plot holes and convenient moments that were annoying to watch. The shark is brutally inconsistent with what it wants and how it gets attracted to what it wants, which makes it frustrating to watch on more than one occasion.
“The Meg” is about half what I wanted and half not, but it comes together to make a subpar mix that isn’t something I will think about a week from now. Statham gives it his all, and there are a few cool shots, but this is not the super ridiculous shark movie that I was promised. Would it have been better if it was Rated R? Almost definitely, but as a only slightly bloody PG-13 film, “The Meg” will sink to the bottom of my mind in no time.
What did you think of “The Meg”? Comment below with your thoughts.