The Meg is a 2018 science-fiction horror film directed by Jon Turteltaub. Based on a 1997 book ‘Meg; A Novel of Deep Terror, it centres on a deep sea rescue diver in Jonas Tyler (Jason Statham) alongside a group of scientists in their efforts to hunt down and terminate a large pre-historic shark called the Megalodon.
Your resident Englishman who has a knack for playing tough and intense characters in the years he’s been active is on here as Jonas Tyler. Statham’s performance as this kick-ass diver for the most part, wasn’t as bad as it could have been but at the same time, it wasn’t as good as it should have been. Being the seasoned performer that he is, you’d always expect Jason to pull his weight around any set he is in and this movie is no different. Early on in the movie, Jonas Tyler faces a life-threatening situation on duty that might either make or break him, almost literally.
The split second decision he makes at the heat of the moment eventually causes a rift between him and the individuals who preferred he hadn’t made that specific choice. Seeing Statham’s character deal with the consequences of his actions not only after that specific incident but also when history repeats itself later on in the movie was inviting and I felt a strong relatability with Jonas. All this misfortune compounds into a quest for vengeance and for me, as a viewer, I found that a strong character motivation going forward, considering the magnitude of the task at hand.
The Plot, Merits and Demerits.
To begin with, I’d say I am a big fan of pre-historic/mythical creatures and I sometimes wish they could still be alive today; in confinement nonetheless. Whether it’s the Mammoths, the Kraken, the Saber-tooth tigers or even the Megalodon, they all have a majestic allure to them and I am kind of drawn to such stuff. My wish, obviously, will never see the light of day but the fact that I can sit in the theatre and watch these creatures in their elements in films such as ‘Lord of the Rings; The Return of the King’ or 2015’s ‘In The Heart of the Sea’ , that’s a win for me.
That said, did I love ‘The Meg’? Well…the answer is Yes and No.
Most of the characters in this movie aside from the mega-creature and Jonas, were forgettable at best. They had no backstories, they had no motivations and as a viewer, I didn’t particularly give a damn about the different predicaments they were in however brutal. That said, I will go out on a limb for Suyin (Li Bingbing), Dr. Heller (Robert Taylor) and Toshi (Masi Oka); these characters both had selfless attributes, willing to go that extra length to ensure the safety of others and I loved that.
The 1st Act and a large chunk of the 2nd Act of this film was not enticing. First off, the pacing of events leading up to the climax was pretty slow; this was majorly contributed by below par comedy that the movie was seriously going hard for but couldn’t quite execute as well as needless dialogue. Sticking on the latter section of the film, there was little to no visual appeal and I found that very disappointing; it almost felt like a documentary. We see glimpses of the Megalodon and some destruction it does but it never gets substantial until the flick is well into the 2nd half. I could tell what the director was going for with this though. I could tell that he was trying to build a suspenseful environment for the audience member so that they can imagine how this creature might look like and what kind of destruction it is truly capable of but I wasn’t feeling that vibe, I’m quite sure you won’t too.
The predictability of certain events in this movie is laughable, majorly because it borrows a lot from other past films of its genre. How many times have you witnessed a situation in film whereby there’s an apparent danger and someone who has dealt with a similar situation is brought in by higher powers to deal with it? If you’ve watched ‘Armageddon’ and ‘Jurassic World; Fallen Kingdom just to name but a few, you’d know what I am talking about. It might not be a big issue overall but personally, I’m getting tired of it.
Notwithstanding, the movie did pull me back to what it was all about from the late stages of the 2nd Act onwards as I mentioned earlier. This is because the stakes started getting more serious and I could now see the full weight of the herculean challenge that the main characters were up against. The action sequences and visual effects used were breath-taking and surprisingly half-believable; there are some select stunts that Statham did that I thought were insane but not beyond the capabilities of a well-trained individual.
Additionally, I liked the conflict that comes about when two factions are in argument on whether or not the Megalodon should be treated as a threat or as a scientific blessing. The latter is a situation I would expect to happen if this creature just happened to reappear in the real world; given that humans often have their own different agendas that we want to further for their own gains. Yes, the whole thing is a bit generic but I don’t particularly have a gripe with it.
The Meg is essentially a tale of two halves, there’s not much to it. This is a motion-picture that I recommend you see in cinemas and certainly not on DVD because there is a certain plot twist that you’ll enjoy best on the big screen, mark my words. So far with his works that I have seen so far, Jon Turteltaub has been a bit hit and miss. This flick is an exception though, I’m essentially sitting on the fence with it.