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Bad puns aside it’s a real shame. I mean if you’re not all in on the prospect of a shark movie featuring a goddamned megalodon chomping down on everything in it’s path and getting into a fight with the fucking Transporter himself, Jason Statham, do you even have a soul?
Experts say that the movie wildly outperformed their expectations raking in $97 million on opening weekend with over half of that amount coming from China. So I guess the reviews don’t mean shit really.
This Meg is all about cracking the Chinese box office and, in catering to such a conservative market with thanks to a lot of meddling from the studio, they’ve dumbed down what could have been a really fun movie.
The road to production to was also problematic with the film being passed around between studios before finally landing with Warner Brothers. There was also a lot of churn with directors and producers, ranging from Guillermo Del Toro, Jan De Bont and Eli Roth, before finally settling on director John Turtletaub, who has a resume stacked with family favourites like, Phenomenon, National Treasure and Cool Runnings.
The watered down story (we can’t get away from those puns can we) is based on the book “Meg: A tale of deep terror” by Steve Alten. It’s hardly a literary classic but definitely a fun piece of trashy pulp that offered some pretty cool gore and action sequences that I wish they would have included in the movie.
The story goes that a deep-sea research team due to some pretty flaky science (there’s another pun) discovers a megalodon at the bottom of the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean. It has to be stopped at all costs and the only man for the job is retired deep sea rescue diver, who has to come to terms with his past in order to save the future or some shit.
The cast are bland, Jason Statham plays a dumbed down Jason Statham, Rainn Wilson plays the billionaire deep sea research financier, Bingbing Li plays the young headstrong researcher, Winston Chao plays the wise head-researcher, Shya Sophia Cai plays the cute kid and Ruby Rose plays a cool scientist version of Ruby Rose.
What are the character’s names, who gives a fuck? We’re only here for the shark.
And the shark, sucks.
All shark, no bite
It’s not that the special effects are terrible, they’re actually quite good, but they’ve got this awesome monster of the deep all set to terrorise the ocean and they don’t know what to do with it.
You would expect a body count in the thousands but it was lucky if it killed five people with barely a drop of blood spilled. And really, if a megalodon were to suddenly appear, I’m pretty sure that it would be more inclined to go for a much bigger target, like whales, other sharks or giant squids, as the literature would suggest.
Any tense moments that occur during the film are quickly down played by some off the mark one-liners delivered with a nonchalance that points to a cast and director who seem to have lost interest—possibly because the studio sucked the life out of the script.
Small spoiler here, but you’ve all seen the trailers so this shouldn’t come as a surprise.
There’s a beach scene in the film. They use that standard shot from the bottom so you can see the swimmers legs to show how vulnerable they are, but because they need to squeeze a big shark in there it looks like they’re in 50 feet of water and it makes absolutely no sense.
The other thing I thought was really curious, which no one seems to be talking about is the fact that the majority of Japanese characters in the book have been switched for Chinese for the sake of the market. Is it just me? Surely I can’ be the only one to draw connections between this and whitewashing to appeal to a broader audience. So what’s the deal? Is it ok when you’re trying to cash in on the second biggest movie market in the world? Surely not!
I wouldn’t say expectations were low for The Meg, but the trailers would lead you to believe it was going to be some big dumb fun. Well it was certainly big and dumb. It’s disappointing that in this day and age with all the bells and whistles of CGI they still can’t make a shark movie that can hold a candle to Jaws.
Just goes to show there’s no substitute for good storytelling.
The Meg, more like the ‘meh’.