The Meg is big dumb fun and if you’re going to see it I suggest you do so with a few drinks in hand. This has been my TED talk, go have fun.
Oh, you’re here for an actual review? Well don’t expect much, because if you’ve seen any trailers for this movie then I fully expect you know exactly what you’re in for. Starring Jason Statham, Li Bingbing, Rainn Wilson, Ruby Rose, and Cliff Curtis, The Meg follows a group of scientists on the hunt for a Megalodon that escapes from a previously unknown portion of the Marianas Trench. And that’s about it in terms of plot, so if you’ve come for something more then this will be the only time throughout this review where I recommend you stay home, because plot heavy this film is not. And you know what? That’s a good thing. In the summer where I’ve seen both Rampage and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, its nice to get a simple blockbuster that doesn’t drag its feet into getting what the audience wants. There’s no overabundance of themes and plot points that go nowhere, no contrived romance, just the scientists and their one goal to kill the Megalodon before it reaches a civilian populace.
The cast assembled here is one that outside of Statham’s Jonas Taylor and Bingbing’s Suyin Zhang (With her daughter in tow of course, played remarkably well by an adorable Shuya Sophia Cai) is one that is mostly probably going to be cannon fodder. The problem this runs into is that most of the characters end up being somewhat forgettable, or have nothing. This is especially true with the supporting cast, where fun actors like Ruby Rose, Cliff Curtis, and Page Kennedy come off as one note stereotypes and add nothing to the overall film other than just to fill exposition. Rainn Wilson’s billionaire Jack Morris fares a little better as he ignores the cowardly billionaire trope, yet like with a couple other characters, he’s just arguably stupid. But again, when I think about it maybe that’s the whole point. At no point in the film does any character do something so stupid that it insults the audience’s intelligence (I’m looking at you Rampage), they just do dumb things and you can’t help but shake your head as you know they are about to be eaten. And that’s not a negative, Hell if anything it makes the film more enjoyable.
Leading up to release I was surprised to learn that The Meg was not rated R. Now obviously I’m used to these kinds of films being R (And I shouldn’t be disappointed considering Jaws itself is PG-13), but for the most part The Meg is largely bloodless in terms of it’s kills. It leaves the film without a certain bite (heh). But this goes along with the rest of the film itself in terms of its stupidity. It just doesn’t go far enough. For a film about a giant prehistoric shark eating people, it really doesn’t get to that until halfway through the film, and it definitely doesn’t stretch its craziness far enough. What’s here is enough, but damnit when I read the insane prologue of the book of which this film is based upon, I can’t help but shake my head for what we could’ve gotten. Tell me, who in their right mind wouldn’t have loved to see a T-Rex get eaten by the Meg? Granted Fallen Kingdom kind of already beat The Meg to the punch with a similar opening, but still one can lament. My point being is that The Meg isn’t really silly enough, and while I’m not advocating for a big budget Megalodon movie with lasers on its titular shark, there is a line of dialogue dropped by Wilson’s Morris where he says two Destroyers were on its way to hunt the Meg, and I can’t help but wonder what that movie could have looked like.
Alas what we have here is a super fun, super dumb shark movie, one that everyone can enjoy. It’s not bloody enough to scare off the kids, but it has enough jump scares to make them spill a large Coke. It’s not a particularly good film, but it’s not bad either. It’s just fun and dumb, and it knows that you came for a giant shark and that’s exactly what you’ll get. If there’s a sequel I’d love to see it do a little more, be a little crazier (Just not too crazy). There’s no end tag, even though they let the end of the film linger just long enough to make you think something will happen, even though it doesn’t. Regardless if there’s a sequel, I’ll be there, drinks in hand and having a good time. And like I said at the very beginning of this review, that’s exactly how you should see The Meg.