Here in the UK the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institute) is as thrilling as it gets when it comes to nautical adventures. Our friends across the pond however have formed an annual celebration known as Shark Week - an entire seven days during which the Discovery Channel airs exclusively shark-based programmes. Originally Shark Week devoted "conservation efforts and correcting misconceptions about sharks" but ironically - and perhaps somewhat sadly - thousands of ridiculously over the top and low budget shark chomper flicks now dominate America's tv screens during the celebration.
Swimming into cinemas a few weeks after this year's celebration we have co-American and Chinese produced The Meg. Jason Statham stars as Jonas Taylor, a disgraced deep sea diver who must rescue his crew from a marine research facility after they release a 70 foot, prehistoric shark known as Megaladon.
It may come as no surprise that this uninspired, sloppy shark movie is a Megala-dud. Obviously The Meg knows that it isn't the next Jaws, but whatever it was thinking it ends up more of a seaside schlep then a prehistoric predator pursuit. The film is met by two clashing tones - one trying to keep it grounded and serious with the other dragging it into nonsensical Sharknado territory. The bottom line is that The Meg is a stupid and unfulfilling film but it takes around three quarters of the run time to realise so. Despite the trailers promoting this summer movie with the particularly punny caption "Chomp on this" - The Meg fails to acknowledge its sheer camp silliness in the way I thought it would.
Fundamentally The Meg lacks the thrills and suspense a decent self respecting shark movie should have. There is no tension or single standout moment - much like the shark it features - everything just fades away into the depths. With a mighty one-hundred and fifty million dollar budget it's astonishing how bland and un-frightening The Meg truly is. Critically, the shark is displayed far too often which detracts from its mystery as well as the terror of its presence. Contrasting to - say - Alien where the xenomorph brutally slaughters an entire crew but remains entirely hidden, deep within the shadows of the Nostromo. Now I don't expect that devastating subtlety from The Meg - but it proves it can be done effectively, however not so much in this film's case.
Statham - the expert diver and all round superhero grumbles and groans his way in and out of the water, playing a distinct characterture of himself (even more so than Spy). Similarly the supporting cast exert themselves no further than struck poses and solemn glances into each other's eyes. As a result The Meg really isn't worth the plunge. Cheesy in its serious moments but too afraid to breach the level of absurd fun - the two contrasting tones rip this movie to shreds. The Meg wastes time trying to make audiences care about typically expendable characters - therefore you soon zone out of the movie pretty fast. Megla-don't see this chum bucket of a movie.
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Hi I’m James - a huge welcome to my film blog! I started this site just after my 14th birthday and have been bringing you my own take on the hottest box office arrivals and many art house triumphs ever since.