As a substitute film reviewer and also a person who watches a fair amount of shark content, the one thing that’s certain about The Meg is that it really needed more shark. I am pleased to report that there was in fact enough Jason Statham, including one gratuitous fresh-from-the-shower scene.
But, for a movie with a shark in its title, there could have been more scenes featuring the prehistoric behemoths, and the graphics quality could have been better. It’s more realistic than Sharknado, but it could have used a few more million dollars to polish up. (I say like I have a few mill hanging around waiting to be spent on fantastic Megalodon CGI.)
Here’s the quick view: scientists are constructing a massive underwater research station off the coast of China, funded by Rainn Wilson (which obviously plays a lot like Dwight Schrute meets Elon Musk). Their hypotheses is that the ocean floor is actually much deeper than we think, that the only thing separating the known ocean from the unknown depths is a layer of underwater fog (it’s fine, it’s only a crucial plot point, I suppose). In penetrating the fog’s barrier (Oh yes, there are dick jokes made), the scientist team unknowingly disturbs the secret lair of the prehistoric shark Megalodon.
Sidebar on Sharks: Megalodon is a real creature, but it died out about 25 million years ago. It’s a good thing, too, since they were by far the most dominant predator the ocean has ever seen. Think: a 70-foot long shark that could bite a whale in half. So you get the problem if one of those things actually survived to 2018. Is it realistic? Actual science says no. But think about how much of the ocean we’ve actually been able to witness. There’s a lot of open water and a lot of places humans can’t easily get to. I think it’s possible they’re still swimming around, but more likely, the sightings of a Megalodon over the years are probably just massive deep water Great Whites.
Back to the movie: Enter Jason. Much like how Bruce Willis is called in to save the world from an astroid, Jason is an expert deep sea rescue diver who comes out a boozy retirement in Thailand to save the butts of the poor scientists (including our shark science heroine Suyin, played by Li Bingbing), who find that they’re now dealing with a shark that’s THREE TIMES the size of a Great White. Underwater hijinks ensue, the greed of the corporation comes into play, but this is a moderately budgeted action flick, so you can guess how the thing ends pretty much from the beginning. Let’s put it this way: if you like sharks, action flicks by Jon Turteltaub and/or Jason Statham, you’ll enjoy this film.
Here are some other tidbits of note:
- I fail to understand why someone thought it’d be a good idea to have an 8-year-old on a scientific research facility in the middle of the ocean, even if she’s adorable and surprisingly funny. Plus she has light-up shoes that I have serious envy over.
- At one point, a character sacrifices themselves for another, first shouting out “You’re a good person!” before flailing about to get Megalodon’s attention. I mean, it might be true, but why would one yell that out right before being eaten? I think it’s acceptable to have one’s last moments be about oneself, so shouting out something like “Tell my parents I love them!” seems more human-like.
- Whatever workout routine Mr. Statham’s got going is working for him.
- At another crucial point, the science team tries to get the local government involved, because, you know, you should probably close the beaches if you have a monster shark on the loose. But they claim that the governments didn’t believe that there was truly a real “prehistoric shark.” Why not simply tell them a GIANT SHARK is out there? No need to mention “prehistoric” or any other keyword that might indicate you were possibly crazy.