The Meg (2018)

*. 1989 was the big year for underwater thrillers, with the release of DeepStar Six, The Abyss, and Leviathan. In hindsight that year really stands out because there aren’t many such movies. This is mainly because they are much more expensive to make than horror movies set in a cabin in the woods. In the wake of its huge success it was easy to forget that even Jaws had gone disastrously over budget.
*. CGI, however, made it safe to go back in the water. Even if you didn’t have any money, you could conjure up a cheap ocean monster and go for the cheese. This was the approach taken in a number of low-budget Syfy horror films with titles like Sharknado and Dinoshark vs. Crocosaurus. I actually don’t know if those are real titles. But they’re probably close.
*. The Meg basically takes the Dinoshark idea of having a prehistoric giant shark brought back to life. A megalodon, to be exact, hence the title of the movie. This ancient monster then proceeds to cause all kinds of destruction. The main difference between The Meg and Dinoshark is that Dinoshark coast around $2 million to make and The Meg $150 million.
*. So The Meg is bigger in every way than a Syfy cheeseburger. But it needed to be even cheesier. Or have more violence (instead of going for a PG-13 rating). Or more something.
*. It is certainly stupid. Nearly every five minutes I was shaking my head at some utter impossibility in the plot. But this wasn’t a fun kind of stupid. Also, there are no great action sequences. I’m inclined to say that the trailer is just as entertaining as the movie, and a lot shorter.
*. The story is unnecessarily complicated with stuff nobody cares about. Why spend so much time introducing the character of Jonas’s ex-wife Lori when she has no function? Instead there’s some romance hinted at between Jason Staham and Li Bingbing that goes nowhere. The film was a Chinese-American co-production and their awkwardness together made me feel like there may have been too many cooks in the kitchen.
*. I’m not even sure the giant shark looks that much better than his cable cousins. He seemed kind of fat to me. Which is weird because I don’t know what a predator that size would be eating in the abyss.
*. There’s no point dwelling on points like this though. Bottom line: this is a big stupid summer movie that should have been a lot more fun than it is. And yet, talk of a sequel immediately began. Or a crossover perhaps? The Meg vs. Crocoshark? How bad could that be?

2 thoughts on “The Meg (2018)

  1. Tom Moody

    I’d like to insert one big budget shark movie into your timeline: Renny Harlin’s Deep Blue Sea (1999), an over-the-top action extravaganza that had some CGI foolishness but was actually kind of scary. Who would have suspected that transplanting human brain tissue into impossibly huge sharks was going to cause all kinds of problems?

    1. Alex Good Post author

      Thanks for the reminder Tom! I have to get some notes up on Deep Blue Sea sometime. You’re right, it’s actually pretty good. As I recall, the CGI sharks (Bigger. Smarter. Faster. Meaner.) were pretty bad. But twenty years later I didn’t think they’re looking much better in this movie or The Shallows. Better than Sharknado though.


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