REVIEW: Charming Yet Unoriginal, “The Meg” Proves That Bigger Is Not Always Better

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While the latest shark horror film “The Meg,” starring Jason Statham and directed by Jon Turteltaub, has one, if not the, largest shark to ever grace the silver screen. However, the prehistoric megalodon fails to bring anything truly original to the table. It tries to be campy and self-referential, but also asks the audience to take it seriously. These conflicting values really create a movie that is simply mediocre.

The story consists of scientists at a newly operational science and observation outpost on the Marian Trench. After the scientist go deeper into the trench than anyone has ever calculated the trench to be, the expedition crew gets stuck after the prehistoric shark of the title attacks. The remaining observation crew unwittingly hires a disgruntled and dishonorably discharged former captain Jonas Taylor in hopes Jonas Taylor will be able to first save the marooned crew, and eventually kill the monster shark before it heads west to the Hong Kong beaches nearby.

Sounds familiar, right? If it doesn’t, you probably haven’t watched too many shark films.

“The Meg” shoves elements from “Jaws,” “Deep Blue Sea” and other iconic shark franchises into its theme. In addition, Statham’s and Rainn Wilson’s characters are the only truly memorable characters in the movie. Not only are they the most well-known actors in the film, they seem to really embrace the campiness of their roles, especially in Wilson’s case.

Seeing the man that famously portrayed Dwight Schrute in “The Office” play a greedy, yet hip, investor is charming, and Wilson shows that in his performance. The other characters are simply bland and one-dimensional stereotypes.

Bear in mind, this does not make the movie necessarily bad. It does have some enjoyable moments here and there. The shark itself is a great concept considering its massive size, and the film does have a few minor suspense moments and jolts of jump scares. The problem is that the scares have been done before, and any horror fan can spot them coming. The things that “The Meg” does right are also what holds it back, in many ways.

In conclusion, if you like the shark-horror genre, odds are you will enjoy “The Meg.” But I feel like it’s watered down. To anyone else, you might like “The Meg’s” massive size, but be underwhelmed by the story. All in all, bigger is not inherently better.


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