It’s been almost twenty years since the release of Deep Blue Sea and it was about time we get another big-budget shark movie. Believe it or not, but The Meg is actually based on a novel Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror by Steve Alten and it has been in developmental hell for a couple of decades. Finally, back in 2015 things started to happen, unfortunately in a bad direction since Eli Roth (Cabin Fever, Hostel, The Green Inferno) was fired due to creative differences and replaced by Jon Turteltaub. This meant that the movie is going to be much timider than it could have been under Eli’s supervision, but this also meant that it’s going to be more profitable and this is always a determining factor. But, that’s all in the past, let’s focus on what we have here and what we have here is one sleek-looking shark movie with a great cast and good ideas.
Special effects were phenomenal and I’m not talking just about the sharks but also the incredible underwater flora and fauna that looks stunning. Original main story enabled the visual department to go nuts with the creativity making The Meg if nothing else a movie that’s a real pleasure to watch with cinematography this good. However, problems with maintaining the atmosphere along with too many fake cliffhangers were a thing that annoyed me and I think that if they cut about half an hour of footage this would be a much more engaging movie. Obviously, there were a lot of problems during the production, something that was revealed in the subsequent interviews with the cast and crew of the movie. Hopefully, the planned sequels will not suffer the same faith.
Jonas Taylor, one of the best rescue divers in the world now spends his days drinking and trying to forget his last rescue attempt. Five years ago, he tried to save everybody aboard a damaged nuclear submarine but was only able to save a couple of people, with the rest dying in an explosion that followed. At the same time, Morris, an eccentric billionaire is finally able to visit an underwater research facility called Mana One. Led by Dr. Minway Zhang the facility is designed as a starting point for exploration of the deepest regions of the sea, even deeper than the famous Mariana Trench…
I noticed that a lot of people compared it to Jaws, but it’s nowhere near the iconic movie that kick-started the whole shark movie sub-genre. I think that the above-mentioned Deep Blue Sea is a more appropriate partner, not to mention the cult classic Shark Attack 3: Megalodon one of those so bad that it’s good entries in the genre. Here, they toyed with this megalomanic premise, clearly aware that this is supposed to be a fun and almost cheesy thrill-ride with always appreciated scenes where someone looks at the hidden creature and says Oh My God. Based on a novel, The Meg has some creative and original ideas that were well executed in this adaptation and if you’re into those sciency details this will counterbalance the lameness of some of the scenes where you know exactly what’s going to happen.
The cast was phenomenal, with a lot of my favorite actors like Cliff Curtis, Rainn Wilson and Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, all lead by none other than the man himself: Mr. Jason Statham who shined as an experienced and rugged hero. Ultimately, this is a fun PG-13 shark movie with cool effects and some really great action sequences, especially towards the end, and since there haven’t been any similar movies since 1999, it’s also very refreshing. The Shallows is a bit more serious entry, but it’s also visually great and with a decent story, so if you’re looking to continue in the same direction maybe you should check it out. And if you’re hungry for some intense and fucked up shark action, The Reef remains the ruling king of the modern shark movies. Enjoy.
Director: Jon Turteltaub
Writers: Dean Georgaris, Jon Hoeber, Erich Hoeber, Steve Alten
Cast: Jason Statham, Bingbing Li, Rainn Wilson, Cliff Curtis, Winston Chao, Ruby Rose, Robert Taylor, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, Masi Oka