THE MEG: So Bad it Made SHARKNADO Look Like a Masterpiece

taking on a giant prehistoric shark – what’s not to like? This ocean bound fun-in-the-deep battle with a dinosaur was a MUST SEE as soon as I heard about its upcoming release. Statham is an icon, a tough guy with B-Grade one liners and a killer punch matched with blue steel gaze. This was gonna be good!! But then I saw it and my god it’s bad, I mean real real bad, it’s not even so bad it’s good! Poor old just rolled over in his sea-bed grave, SHARKNADO laughed because it looked good. 47 METRES DOWN clapped while THE SHALLOWS could win an Oscar in comparison. THE MEG releases this Thursday in Australia from the peeps at Roadshow Films, it is rated M and runs for 113mins.

 

The Meg Jason Statham image
Jason Statham

 

THE MEG SYNOPSIS, OR PASTICHE OF PLOT:

The Meg is based on the book: “MEG: A Novel of Deep Terror,” the first book that author Steve Alten published. Its general plot is quite similar although producers/ writers of THE MEG made a lot of changes.

A deep-sea submersible, part of an international undersea observation program, has been attacked by a massive creature, previously thought to be extinct, and now lies disabled at the bottom of the deepest trench in the Pacific… with its crew trapped inside. With time running out, expert deep sea rescue diver Jonas Taylor (Jason Statham) is recruited by a visionary Chinese oceanographer (Winston Chao), against the wishes of his daughter Suyin (Li Bingbing), to save the crew, and the ocean itself, from this unstoppable threat: a pre-historic 75-foot-long shark known as the . What no one could have imagined is that, years before, Taylor had encountered this same terrifying creature. Now, teamed with Suyin, he must confront his fears and risk his own life to save everyone trapped below.

Some notable changes and additions:

  • In the book the shark is pure white due to it being so far below sea level, this was apparently too hard to achieve via CGI so it was coloured like normal sharks.
  • The book sees the only shark attacks occurring at night due to the megalodon’s light sensitivity, again being from so deep in the ocean. In the movie this is omitted because filming the entire movie at night just wouldn’t have worked.
  • Towards the end you will notice the addition of a few JAWS-like scenes – most notable is the very cute “Pippin” below – the dog’s name is the same as the labrador’s name in JAWS #funfact

 

The Meg Cute Dog image
Pippin – Cute Dog – Had to Post

 

HOLY POSEIDON IT WAS BAD:

Originally THE MEG was being directed by , he was also writing the screenplay and was aiming for an R rated movie with a $150MIL budget from the studio. The studio wanted a PG movie for the cost of $150MIL and so Roth left the production. Instead we got a watered down movie that is basically a bloodless M rated bore directed by John Turteltaub. The first stench of rotting fish that hit me was the script, the dialogue is just horrendous, the one liners aren’t even laugh worthy, they are C grade at best.

Then the light bulb moment – it’s all been done before, it’s a cliched mess that had so much potential but then threw it in the ocean with dead fish burley. The entire prehistoric part of the movie is irrelevant – they should have just called it “Giant Shark” and blamed it on a nuclear reactor. At the end they could have been saved by biting it in half and roaring Jurassic Park T-Rex style.

Look I shouldn’t be so harsh, it has an audience, and it is making a motza at the box office. But in all honesty this is purely because people have gotten a lot more stupid and just want pure escapism – without having to think. THE MEG achieves this perfectly. It is brain dead. But where it really sank was in its indecision between presenting itself completely dumb like SHARKNADO or scary horror seriousness a la JAWS. It bounced between the two – this would have worked more if it just gave up and was completely dumb!

One thing it did get right was the CGI – it is done really well and they capture a really big shark perfectly. Bravo for that.

 

The Meg Cute Ruby Rose image

 

THEY DID THE BEST THEY COULD BUT THE ACTING IS SHARK BAIT:

We get Ruby Rose doing Ruby Rose in here cliched co-starring role that she is known for, sadly she actually nearly drowned on set. We get Rainn Wilson as a billionaire that is completely wasted in the film, he just isn’t funny. Li BingBing or BingBing Li (every post I read spells it one way or the other – is this because in China the surname is first??) struggles with English lines which lose their impact in the delivery. It was good to see Sheriff Walt Longmire in there, also known as Robert Taylor, I have missed this guy on TV, good to see him as another cliched character. Cliff Curtis was another notable actor with a mostly forgettable smaller part.

Then there was Jason Statham, in what I would consider one of his worst performances. He is definitely likeable and I get the audience attraction but this needed a young Keanu character, or The Rock haha. It is a Rock movie starring Statham. Statham just doesn’t have the comic delivery and plays standard tough guy – he added very little to the movie and he never punched the shark, this was a gross oversight.

 

The Meg Bingbing Li image
Bingbing Li

 

GET ME OUT OF THE WATER:

Watch this one for a little laugh at the dog Pippin, or the CGI, or Ruby Rose’s hair, it’s amazing haha. When a dog and Ruby Rose are two of my favourite things in a starring Jason Statham this is a bad sign. THE MEG is a travesty, seriously rewatch JAWS again. But stay out of the water, this one is a sinker.

 

 

 

YOUR CRITIC:

 owns, writes and edits Salty Popcorn and Spooning Australia. He is a movie, food, restaurant, wine, chocolate, bacon, burger and brussels sprouts addict. He is a member of the Australian Film Critics Association and has been in the  industry for 26yrs. Furthermore he loves watching people trip over and is Leonardo DiCaprio’s biggest fan. 

** Images used are courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor or publisher. Credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.