The Meg (2018): ‘The B Movie Star’ – A Film Review

 

Introduction

In 1997 Steve Alten wrote a book about a deep-sea research team who encounter a Megalodon, a gigantic shark. The novel was picked up to be made into a film by Disney but unfortunately entered into development hell and didn’t look like it was going to be made at all – until recently. Now, taking a moment to recognise that the subgenre (or even sub-sub-genre) of Horror films involving Sharks seems to be inescapable from Jaws – though there’s a lot of good reasons why this is the case. After the success of Jaws there have been many imitators but, unlike most genres, not many films that have helped to develop the genre further. To some degree you have Deep Blue Sea and more recently The Shallows, but largely any films of this genre will forever have the stamp of Jaws imprinted on them. Embracing the shameless rip offs of Jaws and developing the ‘so-bad-it’s-good’ film there have been many Shark films that have explored a certain comedy and cheap budget; building mostly a concept only: Sharknado or Megashark vs. Giant Octopus. These cult films owe more to the cult of ‘bad’ films being comical than to the genre of Shark films. Despite these differing poles of Shark films, there are elements of both that feel almost inescapable for The Meg to avoid. Comedy or Horror or something else? B-Movie or a legitimately good film?

 

A matter of Tone

What’s interesting from the outset is that if The Meg was really going for a comedy horror in the vein of ‘so-bad-it’s good’, then it has received an unusually high budget. This is evident in the CGI and look of the film, the monster of the titles namesake looks great. The look of the characters and cinematography also looks good. The actors put in great performances and take a serious approach to what goes on. It is also impossible to miss the allusions to Jaws, both in narrative, concepts and depictions. These echoes, though almost hard to avoid, help a seriousness that feels against some of the jokes that are scattered around the film. (The film ends with ‘Fin’ instead of ‘The End’) SPOILERS: If it were, in the vein of ‘So-bad-its-good’, or even of monster movies or B-Movies, withholding the Shark à la Jaws, doesn’t make sense. END OF SPOILERS. This seems to help a rather confused tone that the film takes.

 

Whose scene is it anyway?

As previously mentioned the performances by the cast are good even if touching on cheesy at times. Though mostly the cheesy scenes are built around beginning up of the central character Jonas Taylor (Jason Statham), this functions in a way that makes the film a bit like a Jason Statham vehicle – but not quite. This would work if they were going for a comedy horror, or a B-movie or even a ‘so-bad-its-good’ film; but scenes that showcase the performances of other actors or even the relationships between the characters are too well crafted for it to be just about Jason Statham.

 

Conclusion

So, what we’re left with is a film that might be too serious or too comedic, too well made or too tongue in cheek, to be any of them; but none-the-less The Meg comes across as an entertainingly underdone/overblown film. Despite this awkwardness, it runs with some endearing characters and looks great, spare for a few moments, and despite the serious or comedy tone of some of the action sequences, The Meg remains an entertaining film. It just doesn’t quite know what to be and many audiences may feel a bit confused about what to think of it.

 

Synopsis

When researching the bottom of the ocean a team of deep-sea divers runs into trouble and calls in the help of veteran rescue diver Jonas Taylor. However, the deep-sea divers have uncovered something long thought dead and very dangerous.

 

 

Ratings

Entertainment:

starfish starfish starfish starfish starfish

Performances:

starfish starfish starfish starfish starfish

Predictability:

starfish starfish starfish starfish starfish

Technical:

starfish starfish starfish starfish starfish

 

A Note on My Reviews

Please read ‘On Reviews‘ for a guide to how I write film reviews. Any spoilers are appropriately marked and, though I personally prefer to know little about a film before seeing it, there is a synopsis below the review for any who wish to see one.

 

Films Mentioned

Deep Blue Sea (d. Renny Harlin USA/Mexico 1999)

Jaws (d. Steven Spielberg USA 1975)

Megashark vs. Giant Octopus (d. Jack Perez USA 2009)

The Meg (d. Jon Turteltaub China/USA 2018)

The Shallows (d. Jaume Collet-Serra USA 2016)

Sharknado (d. Anthony C. Ferrante USA 2013)

 

Further Reading

rottentomatoes.com

metacritic.com

Official Site

Interview with the Director

Interview with Jason Statham

Interview with the Cast

Behind the Scenes

Bloopers

Jaws References

 

If you liked this

A Quiet Place (2018): ‘A Quiet Family’ – A Film Review

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018): ‘Lizard Skins’ – A Film Review

IT (2017): ‘Horror or Comedy, Pennywise?’ – A Film Review

 

This was an analytical review of….

 

The Meg (d. Jon Turteltaub China/USA 2018)

 



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Ruins-Dzesika-Januszkiewicz-4