The shark movie has a huge cult following, and the fan base continues to grow with each delectable, gore filled bite. So much so, that SyFy channel can’t stop filling their air times with ridiculous films that throw any excuse for mega beasts munching on airheaded characters who look good. Despite some famous movie sticking out in the television about the prehistoric predator of the deep, the big screen is calling for a film of its own in hopes of drawing crowds back to the welcoming halls of the theater. Based on the book series I recently saw in Barnes and Noble, the Meg is here to try and entertain. Yours truly is back to share some thoughts as he reviews:
Movie: The Meg (2018)
Animation: CGI companies can make just about anything these days, including a 75 foot shark with a ferocious appetite. The Meg has some awesome design in bringing the beast to life, capturing the grainy, rough texture of the hide and making its swims delightfully fluid. This shark moves beautifully in its hunt for humans.
The Characters: Most of these movies fail to bring the full talent of actors out, often resorting to making the characters glamorized fish food that we root to actually be eaten (some exceptions of course). The Meg though, their cast has more to their mettle, recruiting a bunch of dynamic actors to portray scientists that have a little more to their skill set than looking good. With this team, I was able to actually invest into the human characters and once more root for the team to find a way to solve the problem. And while the acting is not Oscar worthy, the dialogue, writing and delivery have been grounded to be enjoyed and not scoffed at.
The Story: Again, most of these films hold very little in terms of quality story, only designed to maximize the blood and kills. The Meg though, takes a step back to the storytelling roots and actually does a nice job of balancing the kills with a purpose for the carnage. From how the shark came into the modern world to side stories portraying character flaws, this film had surprising amounts of detail to actually give a reason to the movie. Don’t freak out though, there are still plenty of superficial carnage scenes to tickle your fancy, but for those like me who like balance, this movie gets better props. In addition, there are some twists to help add some bite to adventure.
The Pace; A movie like this can sometimes drag, especially if you hate these types of films and you were dragged in to going by friends. Again, the Meg succeeds in this journey of keeping the film moving, the adrenaline pumping, and the laughs/carnage keeping pace. The film has enough action and close shaves to keep you on your toes, which plays to the nature of this genre.
The Nostalgia: The Meg does have a lot of individuality, yet it is also packed with countless references to the shark movies that came before. The movie has plenty to offer, and the shark movie fans should have no problem picking up the Easter eggs submerged in the Megalodon infested waters. Nice job adding this layer of fun guys.
Over the top moments: The whole movie is ridiculous, I understand that and will accept it, but even suspending reality goes only so far. A giant shark movie sometimes goes too far and hits those eye rolling moments that sort of diverge from the path of balance it was achieving. Some of the structural integrity inconsistencies and speed of our humans are a few examples, but hey that’s a shark movie.
Plot Holes: The movie did a nice job of putting a story on board, but the movie does have some gaps that even for the ridiculous tale shouldn’t have been skipped. It goes with the opening scene more than anything and with it, sort of diverges from the explanation they gave, sort of undermining the semi-logical conclusion they had. Again, a small dislike, but a noticeable one that is a bit annoying to me.
Predictable: Even worse than the holes and the ridiculous level, comes the predictable plot that this genre suffers from. The Meg has more obvious foreshadowing than the theme music of Jaws, and with it comes some suspense being tempered away. While secondary characters are kind of the group to bet on for surviving vs dying, the rest of the cast has their paths blazed from the start. You’ll be able to predict most of everything, though a few twists managed to spice a few things up. I’m still looking for that Jaws like quality, but The Meg does get points for trying.
The uneven character spacing: I love Deep Blue Sea, because the characters had narrow misses, epic survival strategies, and the gradual picking off of the groups. It allows for more suspense, pulling you into the game of cat and mouse, or in this case shark and human. The Meg started out this way, but then succumbed to munch fest and lost the structured plot to the demands of carnage. It’s not the worst case I have seen, but it was disappointing to see that build up sort of fizzle out, though I must admit it did happen in the later part of the film so kudos.
Let’s be honest, The Meg is a ridiculous movie that many will agree is a pure popcorn eating flick. Surprisingly though, the movie has improved on its storytelling abilities, and finds a balance between the superficial and deeper aspects of the film. Still, the shark movie is very entertaining, with a good pace, suspenseful action, some well-timed laughs, and nostalgia to get you into all the adventures to come. Yet, the film still suffers from some of the stereotypical faults of this genre, which takes away from the strengths of the movie. If you are the fan of this genre, then please hit a local theater to check it out, but otherwise hold off until it swims into television/streaming waters.
Movie Overall: 6.0