Man vs. Meg isn’t a fight. It’s a slaughter.
Shark lovers, beware! The Meg is the latest Sci-Fi genre film that has come to wreak havoc at theaters around the world. Adapted from Steve Alten’s 1997 book, Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror, the film follows a group of scientists as they try to stop a 75-foot Megalodon shark from destroying a nearby beach. As things slowly go from bad to worse, the crew finds themselves in a series of horrifying showdowns that make a day out in the ocean seem like a lifetime in the fiery pits of hell.
Longtime shark movie fans understand all too well the scarcity of high-quality shark films that have been presented since Jaws (1975). Yet somehow, these genre films continuously get made. The truth of the matter is that they’re entertaining; and The Meg is nothing short of it. Thanks to the cool direction from Jon Turteltaub and its decent script, the film covers a good basis of standard monster movie tropes. From the intense underwater sequences to the action-packed battles, audiences everywhere will find that the film is simply amusing with humorous moments sprinkled throughout. Furthermore, there are some elements to the story that offer sentimental value which is always appreciated.
Jason Statham, the film’s star, plays Jonas Taylor who is a former rescue diver suffering from the trauma’s of a past rescue attempt. Though he has put that life in the past, it’s apparent that he still endures the torment from the painful memories as he buries his sorrows and regrets in alcohol. Statham is charming in this film. Over time, his character is often seen cracking a smile or jokes; but when the time comes, he is willing and ready to take on the Megalodon shark for his team. And it ultimately sets up some awesome, albeit ridiculous, action series. The supporting cast including L. Bingbing, R. Wilson, R. Rose, W. Chao, and C. Curtis each fulfill their important roles within the context of the story and also do a great job collectively.
The true beauty of this adventurous shark tale, however, resides in some of its gorgeous frames and careful storytelling. With cinematography by Tom Stern, the film contains great shots and imagery that set the tone and intensity of various scenes. It pairs so well with The Meg’s particular storytelling because the movie takes its time establishing the impeding danger of its main characters. To the film’s benefit, this creates great suspense and leads to action sequences that not only feel earned but justified. There are some things to be desired, however. For one, the audience might be left craving more shark carnage. While the build-up to these scenes are executed greatly, these moments feel few and far between. But for a 75-foot monster film, the story refuses to dive deep into massacre territory for some reason.
At times, writers of The Meg find themselves needing to over-explain things rather than focus on a shark film that could’ve included more... well… shark scenes. It doesn’t necessarily hurt the final product to a great degree, but it begs the question of what could’ve been if the movie was rated R. It’s fine as PG-13, but there seems to have been a struggle to balance its thrill and horror, which means that everything is simply “fine” over its potential to be grand with a story like this. But even though The Meg isn’t the complete shark film that we’ve all wanted, it provides good suspense, great character connections and allure, resulting in a product that is sincere and amusing. And with a few surprises scattered throughout the film, it’ll be enough to grab the general audience’s attention and keep it for most of this deep-sea adventure.