Movie Review: 'The Meg' takes the science out of sci-fi
“Sharknado” fanatics, your day has come! You are finally vindicated by your years of dedication to the corny beast flicks of yesteryear. “The Meg” outpaces, outactions, outCGIs and outacts those other summer blockbusters while proudly waving a banner that reads, “science be damned!” Because there were megalodons, there are hydrothermal vents on the ocean floors and there are off-shore marine labs – so take that overthinking plot snobs!
The glory of Big Meg is that she respects her place in the shark attack genre and chooses to remix it rather than remake it. This is a big-budget B-movie that capitalizes where other lazy blockbusters have failed. The conversations are realistic and more honest than most, the CGI honors its limitations but meets expectations, the plot is textbook but, melded with your favorite actors from cult media followings, they achieve cast camaraderie that is only surpassed by the Marvel franchise. The set is sleek, the visuals are tastefully mastered and not cheap and the cast is dedicated to fulfilling your entertainment needs without providing sloppy seconds.
The story opens with an ill-fated sub and Jason Statham’s crinkled brow as he saves a handful of some generic crew from “something” in the far depths of the ocean. You know what it is. Fast forward and billionaire, Morris, (played by Rainn Wilson AKA Dwight from “The Office”) is visiting a posh off-shore marine base that he’s funded. Their goal is to prove that the ocean floor isn’t really a floor but rather a dense gaseous layer that holds the secrets to world peace, cures for diseases and underwater alien life or whatever they can capitalize and sell at a premium. The 3-person crew descends in the $30 million mini-sub and zip effortlessly to the bottom of the sea in a few minutes. But they run across Big Meg and are stranded on the ocean floor. Enter Statham – again. He’s got a touch of post-traumatic stress from that sub-snack attack of the past and he can’t be bought, convinced or bribed into rescuing any distressed subs. Luckily, Statham’s ex-wife is the captain and pilot of the distressed expedition or he wouldn’t agree to the join their team because heroes are inherently selfish and only care about family.
Statham never lets his fans down. Rocking his perpetually unedited 5 O’clock shadow, he covers his range as cranky expert who gets soft for cute ladies, giggles for kids and kills the bad guy shark. Rainn Wilson relishes his role as the seemingly friendly billionaire but fans will miss his quirky nature and full-powered comedic chops. Critically acclaimed actors Bingbing Li, Cliff Curtis and Winston Chao round out the cast with veteran Robert Taylor and media stars, Ruby Rose and Page Kennedy. Li is a perfect leading lady for Statham and is more than a capable match in wit and physical prowess. Fans, who want to live vicariously, may wonder why there is no on-screen romance following a shirtless, post-showered Statham scene. Nevertheless, any wet dreams would be busted by newcomer, 10-year-old Shuya Sophia Cai. Shuya will either steal hearts or gather a bowl of side-eyes as you wonder why a kid is romping freely through a billion-dollar marine station. The only cuteness that overshadows Shuya is Pippin – a pup that jumps in the water during a yacht wedding. Big Meg has her eyes on Pip which has sparked the hashtag #SavePippin.
Action Fans, Big Meg holds back too much carnage for your liking in order to stay within the feeble PG-13 rating. After swimming from the depths of the ocean bottom, the carnage that a 75-foot shark could wreak after working up an appetite would be tremendous. Yet, the film waits until the 3rd act to launch the beach scene. Megs swims under a crowded herd of sexy swimmers glistening on pastel inner tubes and eats a few. Too few to be impressive. Megs doesn’t annihilate boats, she capsizes one, breaks one apart and lets another one go. Then there’s the underwater marine station that doesn’t seem to capture her interest. So, you know which movie did it better…in 1975.
Sharknado Fans – 5 out of 5 Hammerhead Sharks
Statham Fans – 4 out of 5 Great Whites
Action Fans – 3 out of 5 Goblin Sharks
Plot Pickers and people who hate cheesy movies – Stay Home