A Brief History
On August 10, 2018, movie goers in the United States will be treated to a new monster motion picture, and we do mean “Monster!” The fabled prehistoric shark known as the Megalodon is the star of this new film, never mind action hero Jason Statham. When we say “monster,” we are talking about a shark big enough to eat “Jaws,” and yet not silly enough to be a made for television movie. In fact, the monster shark in this film really did exist millions of years ago, which makes the premise of the story all the more frightening. (As always, no spoilers, so go ahead and read!) The film is based on the 2015 book by Steve Alten, Meg.
Directed by John Turtletaub, he of such films as the National Treasure movies, the movie takes its time about showing the title monster shark, but that period of not seeing the shark does not mean the movie is without action. Far from it, in fact. Tension and action abound right from the start. Starring Jason Statham as deep sea rescue specialist Jonas Taylor and Rainn Wilson as a cavalier billionaire financier of a deep sea research project interested more in profits than in science, the movie also features dueling femmes fatale in oh so adorable Li Bingbing and the drop dead gorgeous Australian actress Jessica McNamee as Jonas’ ex-wife. If 2 beautiful leading ladies is not quite enough, throw in the fetching Ruby Rose as a third bit of eye candy on the research team. The romantic tension between Jonas Taylor, his ex-wife and Suyin Zhang (Li Bingbing) is offset by the mandatory presence of the ultra-cute young child of Suyin, Meiying, played by Shuya Sophia Cai.
The film is a little formulaic in the predictable characters as described above as it is in who gets killed, when they get killed, and how they get killed. Well, there is some curve balls thrown, so go watch the movie and you will see how you get fooled once in a while. Of course, jump scares are a staple of this sort of movie, and that technique is certainly not ignored. The excellent 3-D and special effects provide a visual treat for the whole family, including at least those kids mature enough to handle giant killer sharks.
The Meg is definitely not a tongue in cheek semi-comedy (such as Sharknado), but there are moments of comic relief thrown in, and thrown in rather artfully we think, never detracting from the seriousness of the situation at the basis of the plot. We previewed the film in a packed theater, and the test audience laughed and gasped at all the right times. Audience reaction in our audience was highly positive, in spite of movie critics being split about 50/50 on the film. Yes, to an extent it is “cheesy,” as some critics claim, and maybe even a little bit of a Jaws rip-off, but The Meg is in no way a copy of the Jaws story line and is in our opinion a fun, highly entertaining movie appropriate as a summer blockbuster. The recent completion of “Shark Week” on television and the upsurge in real life shark attacks in the news (and on internet videos) the past couple years makes the timing of The Meg all the more relevant. Did we mention the movie features macho action hero Jason Statham and 3 (count ‘em) gorgeous ladies? And a big, beautiful, scary shark from our deepest nightmares. To the credit of the movie makers, though the giant prehistoric shark is depicted on the upper end of estimates of the actual size of a Megalodon, the monster shark is not ridiculously big, so airliners and ships will not be swallowed.
We liked the movie and so did the audience we saw it with. Go see The Meg for some end of summer scares and stay out of the water!
For more information, please see…
Alten, Steve. Meg. Viper, 2015.
Hewett, Jeremy. Megalodon (The Prehistoric Life Series) (Volume 1). CreateSpace, 2016.