The Meg Movie Review
Screw Jaws. He was cute and all, with his respectable 25-foot midget span and little chompers that could chew through human flesh with a few bites. But he was just your garden variety swimmer, a fish of inconsequence. The Meg, on the other hand… what a sight to behold! Seventy feet of evolutionary perfection (still a pea-brain, though), a true beast that can bite through f**king nuclear submarines.
That’s right, you heard me.
Yes, The Meg is here, summer’s last respite before shriveling into weeks of nothingness and Hollywood hand-me-downs, the season’s final blockbuster spectacle, a film that cost $150 million because that’s what blockbusters do--they spend a lot of money.
Just not on the cast. Or the screenplay. Arguably even on the visual effects.
But Pippin, the little dog swimming for his poor little dog life in the ads, made bank. That I know.
It is true that The Meg is pretty dumb. The plot maybe isn’t quite as dumb as you’d expect, but it is still pretty dumb, with characters doing very odd things at odd times, surface-level characters interacting with surface-level and often inexplicable dialogue (especially the words exchanged between on-screen father-daughter duo played by Winston Chao and Bingbing Li, which are as forced as it is desperately obvious they’re in the movie to get The Meg into as many Chinese theaters as possible), and other dumb things you may or may not expect from a movie about a giant shark.
Sorry, a megalodon.
The Meg isn’t great cinema--it ain’t the next Jaws, that’s for sure--but as giant shark movies go, it largely lives up to expectations. It knows it is stupid and cherishes its inherent stupidity, even if stars Jason Statham and Rainn Wilson seem to be the only ones in on the joke--oh, and Pippin, of course. It isn’t nearly as funny as it should have been, though the overly serious attempts at serious acting by the rest of the cast are chuckle-worthy (sorry, Page Kennedy, you’re clearly having plenty of fun even though you were asked to do the stereotypical token black guy routine).
It would have been nice to see the body count higher, too. While director Jon Turtletaub delivers a generally satisfying climax involving our babe Meg rummaging through a crazy-crowded swimming beach, there’s a surprising lack of carnage all things considered. Too many of the main cast members also, for some reason, survive.
Still, The Meg is what it is and delivers on whatever promise it served up in its trailers. It could have and should have been more outrageous, yes, but it’s satisfyingly entertaining from start to finish, with plenty of megalodon mayhem throughout. Spielberg needn’t be worried, but The Meg is a fun, late-summer cruise nonetheless.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.