The Meg review

“Exactly what kind of shark film is this?” 

The shark film genre has had very few true hits, with the original summer blockbuster, Jaws, easily standing above its rival franchises. That’s not exactly an impressive feat, though. For every Jaws and Deep Blue Sea film that surfaces from the deep, you also have the cinematic tragedies of Sharknado and 2-Headed Shark Attack. What this proves is that it’s very easy to go wrong with monster films, and even the greatest franchises have occasionally got it very badly wrong. 

Now, on first impression, it seems as though director Turteltaub decided to dabble in the shark-infested waters with The Meg, and to try to prove the old saying, “bigger is always better,” was right. However, I think we can all agree that simply cooking up a bigger monster doesn’t guarantee the success of the film. It often has the opposite effect, and may very well jeopardise the future of an entire franchise. Just look at Jurassic Park III

Thankfully, The Meg doesn’t fall into this pitfall. Whilst the size of the shark does play a big role (pun intended), knowing that it’s based on a real, albeit extinct, creature helps to make its massive bulk less of a cheap joke. It’s actually quite a relief that to find that a lot of the “science” in the film is more-or-less plausible, if somewhat far-fetched. 

That being said, if you walk into the cinema and expect anything other than two hours of a big shark eating people and terrorising an unhappy-looking Jason Statham, you need to think again. The Meg delivers on everything that a movie fronted by a massive prehistoric shark should.

It gives a few subtle nods to Spielberg’s classic – I’m thinking about one shark-cage scene in particular – it does try to carve its own path, as it draws the action from the open ocean to a futuristic underwater base. It’s never going to be an Oscar-winner, but as long as you’re not expecting it to be, it’s still enjoyable. 

I did feel as though The Meg was let down by its cast. The Stath spends most of the film growling around on a boat or in the water, fuelling the rumours that he was only cast because nobody else would go hand-to-fin with a giant shark. And the other supporting members, whilst mostly likeable, struggle to leave any kind of mark. Ruby Rose’s Jaxx Heard, in particular, seems to only be good at falling off boats and providing the occasional one-liner as a response to Statham’s banter. 

Verdict: Despite its flaws, The Meg is a great summer thrill that packs a killer bite.

 Rating: 5/10

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