There is enough evidence to support the on going (probably now scientific) fact that there will never be a shark attack/thriller movie as masterful or better than Jaws. You know that meme of that guy with the table sipping coffee, with a sign in front that says, “blah blah blah is better/the best/equal to blah blah blah, change my mind?” Jaws can easily be on that sign, and I don’t think one person could come to the table and argue against it. Jaws itself had a awful production history if you look into it, the studio and even Spielberg himself worried it was going to be a disaster. You know how you don’t really get that many good looks at the shark, which turned the film into a “getting scared of the unknown rather than the known” type situation? That wasn’t supposed to happen. You were almost always supposed to see the shark. Well, now we have the technology to show the shark. Deep Blue Sea was one of the first movies to attempt using Hollywood’s upgraded technology to do another shark attack movie. And you have to give Renny Harlin and the screenwriters some balls for not just simply trying to remake Jaws. No, the story was self contained and tried to make the sharks smart and shit. The result? A movie I remember my dad taking me too when I was only the age of 13, and me loving every single damn minute of it. Watching it years later, to me, a lot of it still holds up. Mostly the animatronics, the acting, direction, shots, and mood hold up. The shark SFX do not. But honestly, that movie will always be remembered for Samuel L. Jackson’s mid movie speech alone. And isn’t that the points of most movies is? To be remembered?
Fuck, I haven’t even gotten to my review of THE MEG have I? Fear not, I am trying to make a point. With Jaws, being the masterpiece, and I had seen Jaws before Deep Blue Sea, when going into that theater with my father, I knew that I needed to shut my brain off to probably enjoy it. As a rule of a cinematic lovers thumb, in my book, a rule of a marathon of movies is 3 related but not directly related (aka sequels) together back to back to back, pauses for peeing and eating (although if you are smart enough you don’t even need those breaks).To look at the other side, a directly related marathon consists of 4 movies that are all sequels, prequels, what have you together. You could have a zombie marathon consisting of Zombieland, Dawn of the Dead, and Shaun of the Dead. A Swarzanegger marathon of Running Man, True Lies, and Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Alas, I have never had a shark marathon. It’s always just been a double feature consisting of Jaws and then Deep Blue Sea, or vise versa, depending on the mood. It’s true that I haven’t seen every single shark film, and if I would’ve pursue it I couldn’t found a different one that I liked. But I can’t stand Sharknado, Sharktopus, Open Water, Shark’s Tale, 47 Meters Down. I think the closest it has ever gotten has been Blake Lively in The Shallows, but the movie takes itself so seriously that when the ending is unapologetically goofy and physics wise doesn’t make sense, it ruined all that came before.
With The Meg, I finally have my shark attack marathon that I’ve been desperately wanting since 1999. As with Deep Blue Sea, The Meg mostly plays it straight although at points walks that fine line of sillyness (but doesn’t get to the extremes of any terrible SciFi made for television movie). Some of the SFX are fantastic while some aren’t as precise as if there was maybe a little more time spent on them. But the acting is very well done, especially from our always reliable go to tough man Mr. Jason Statham. I’m warning you though, if you go into this expecting Jaws like epic storytelling, just don’t go in. Turning off your brain during this is a must to enjoy, but enjoy it you will if you do.
I loved that the movie, like Jaws, took its time when showing the massive prehistoric shark and even after it is revealed doesn’t go all George Lucas Episode 1 filling it in the frame the entire time. The movie actually cares about its story, and only shows or brings back the shark when it serves it, nothing too obligatory (that stood out in my mind). The movie even had the balls to bring about a mid act twist that you can completely see coming if you ever saw the movie Lake Placid.
Jason Statham is of course perfect for his tough guy role and BingBing Lee is good (even though their relationship and chemistry seems a little force), and everybody else in the film, even Dwight Schrute himself Rainn Wilson, all get their moments to shine, although one of the best parts and jobs done in the film was Masi Oka (Hiro from Heroes) small part in the film.
Just like Deep Blue Sea, this movie is a blast seeing it with friends or family. It is also one of those films that when it hits home video you should see it with a group of people, point laugh, make fun of it, or get jumpy. It gets that good feeling late summer tone just right. If I had any complaints, is that is wish the movie would’ve doubled down on its box office bet and had just shot and kept it for an R rating. I have a feeling the R rating (with gratiouitous gore and Statham cursing a whole lot more) could’ve made the movie even better and more of a blast, where it could’ve even gotten close to my love of Deep Blue Sea territory. Also, the consistency with the size of the shark with each shot I would say is off but considering that we are dealing with SFX here, it’s very minor.
So, if you love Jaws and Deep Blue Sea and have been clamoring for that shark attack flick itch since 1999 (or if you hate Deep Blue Sea, totally understandable, and you’ve been waiting since 1975), The Meg should fit that bill. Go into it with low expectations and turn off your brain and I guarantee you won’t be turned off.