The Meg is not bad, but in many respects, it’s not bad enough. Maybe it should be retitled The Meh. Jon Turtletaub’s summer offering is scary, sad and just a little funny.
The movie stars Jason Statham as Jonas Taylor, a man deeply haunted by his past, in which a deep-sea rescue mission was not completely successful. Jonas insists that “something was down there”, and that caused the rescue to fail, but no one has ever believed him.
Fast-forward to present-day Shanghai, where a deep-sea exploring company is about to send a submersible down to the Marianas Trench, the deepest part of the ocean. The explorers believe that what others think is the bottom is merely an icy layer concealing an even deeper mystery.
Once the submersible is through the ice, the audience is treated to a wealth of crazy deep-sea creatures, in a sort of Jurassic Park moment. It doesn’t take long to get into the action, and there is plenty of it, with the satisfying amount of gore and karma that we’ve come to expect from creature features.
The Meg is an adaptation of Steve Alten’s 1997 novel, Meg, but with a nod to Chinese science and innovation.
Li Bingbing crushes it in her role as Suyin, a marine biologist and dutiful daughter of the man in charge of the underwater research facility; and Sophia Cai Shuya works every angle of her part as Meiying, Suyin’s eight-year-old daughter.
Yes, it has earned disdain for cheesy lines and a few plot holes, and that creature-feature staple of the monster snapping at the hero’s heels. And it does fall short of its odd trailer that seems to imply it will be an ironic take on all other shark movies. But that is a happy failure.
Jaws remains completely unthreatened by this bigger, better shark, and that’s not bad either. Consider this an appetiser, and then cry because you can’t see the master piece on the big screen anymore. Until they bring that back, catch The Meg.