We’re in the midst of a horror renaissance, and in the last several years, dozens of new classics of the genre have hit theaters. With so many to pick from, I recently decided to choose…The Meg.
People love a good shark movie. Jaws is a classic. Deep Blue Sea isn’t perfect, but it has some incredible moments. And there’s always Sharknado. I-V. Meg won’t be joining that list.
Jonas (I wish they’d just gone full own and called him Jonah) is a rescue diver who experienced something he couldn’t explain in a deep-sea dive to save the crew of a submarine. He lost two members of his team, and for the last five years, he’s lived in self-imposed exile in Thailand, drinking Chang beer and pretty much having a good time wallowing in his own misery. He’s supposed to be washed up and tortured, but Jason Statham plays the character like he plays all his roles—tough guy with the heart of gold, quick with a one-liner and always willing to save the day. When a deep sea research team, led by his ex-wife, experiences trouble exploring a heretofore unknown part of the ocean, he rides in to save the day. This is much to the chagrin of the doctor on the research station, the same doctor who declared him unfit to dive after the last tragedy. Oh, and the doctor also happened to be on the submarine Jonas saved five years before. The coincidences are just amazing. Anyway, the research group is led by a father and daughter team, and the billionaire who finances their research. When it becomes clear that a megalodon is on the loose, they must figure out a way to stop it.
There’s a lot going on in Meg, too much. The doctor storyline plays out pretty quickly and seems unnecessary. As does the ex-wife storyline. You might expect them to get back together, but the whole notion of these two ever having been a couple in the first place is utterly implausible. Instead, Jonas is interested in the daughter of the father-daughter team. They have no chemistry, whatsoever. Meanwhile, most of the tension is generated by people doing really, really dumb things. How many times do people have to fall off the back of a boat before they stop standing on the edge of it, or, I don’t know, holding on? And man, does this movie drag on. It’s at least twenty minutes longer than it should be. At least.
Meg works best, when it works at all, as a comedy. If it embraced it fully, it would probably be at least arguably worth your time. But it doesn’t, and it’s clear the actors don’t take it all that seriously. Or at least, I hope they don’t take it seriously. Otherwise, I fear for their careers.
Here’s the thing—if you love shark movies, need to see them all, and you have absolutely nothing else to do with your time, Meg is moderately entertaining. Moderately.