Shark movies are big business, especially in the world of straight-to-video cinema. The Meg – Man vs. Shark: Jonas (Jason Statham) faces the Meg in open water. His co-star this time is Li Bingbing as Suyin.
the meg movie poster – The Meg
Into the shallows: Jason Statham’s big fish story falls somewhere between Jaws and the Sharknado movies. The Meg is the kind of birdbrained B movie that condemns audiences before they’ve walked in the door. Love it and you’re a moron; hate it and you’re a snob. The term ‘guilty pleasure’ is sometimes deployed as a kind of peace offering for filmmakers who never intended to make a ‘good’ movie in the first place, and for audiences who care only about being entertained. In this context fair enough: nobody goes to see a giant shark movie to reflect on the human condition.
A short history: After the success of Steven Spielberg’s 1975 adaptation of Peter Benchley’s bestselling novel about a New England resort town named Amity Island menaced by a ferocious great white shark, Universal wanted a sequel. In 1978’s Jaws 2 , Roy Scheider returned as Amity’s police chief Martin Brody to do battle with another great white. In the 1983 film, Jaws 3-D , Brody’s sons Michael and Sean have grown up, with Michael working for a SeaWorld-like park menaced by a shark.
When we first heard that The Meg 2 was actually happening, it was said that the sequel was in the very early stages and while it is still early and we are a ways off from a release date, it sounds like there is work being done. As Lorenzo di Bonaventura told Sean, they are currently working on a script for the film and seemingly taking their time to get that right before moving forward.
These are questions that director Jon Turteltaub (National Treasure) swims towards but eventually dodges throughout The Meg’s 113 minute runtime. Clearly a student of Spielberg’s killer fish classic, he does his best to delay the onscreen debut of his finned thespian, building (some) suspense in the first half hour by obscuring the creature’s full scale. But in the age of Sharknado, you can’t afford to keep your huge CGI monster in the shadows for too long.
After the attack, the three find themselves trapped underwater, stranded with little oxygen. That’s when Taylor (Statham) comes in to hopefully save the day. Alas, like a moth to a razor-toothed flame, he too gets wrapped up in the discovery and destructive nature of the prehistoric Meg.
Of course, no shark movie can ever be truly free from the shadow of Jaws , an undisputed masterpiece that changed the face of summer blockbusters forever The Meg even features many shots that seem to be direct references to the 1975 classic, as fans noted immediately upon the release of the trailer. It’s hard not to remember the death of Alex Kintner during The Meg’s climactic beach frenzy. Even Pippin the dog seems likely named after Jaws’ Pippet (though unlike his predecessor, Pippin survives in a crowd-pleasing surprise reveal).
Namely, a giant prehistoric shark known as the Megalodon — or I’m sorry, two Megalodons, than you very much. The film is full of fun, cheeky moments, including the reveal of another, even more giant shark on the hunt but it never quite lands the balance of stupid and smart. It gets close, and there’s plenty of nonsensical blockbuster action to enjoy along the way, but it’s aways just a couple ticks away from totally nailing the tone and humor. But Statham has his charm wattage turned all the way up to 10 and that goes a long way in ensuring The Meg is always entertaining.
The balance that director Jon Turteltaub finds with The Meg, however, is one of the more remarkable things about this bombastic late-summer studio vehicle. Sure, the movie carries itself with a bounce in its step, jumping into its increasingly absurd setpieces with vigor. Yet unlike so many other recent blockbusters that reduce human life to peripheral cannon fodder for disaster sequences, The Meg takes the occasional beat to invest you just enough in its rowdy cast of character actors that their inevitable deaths matter a little more than they usually do in films of this ilk. Contrary to popular belief, critics aren’t usually asking for Bergman in their B-movies; we just want the people we’re spending two hours with to matter enough for us to care. The Meg benefits a great deal from its charismatic casting across the board, but it also bothers to care about those people as they’re getting chomped upon, and in an even rarer move, after the fact.
What would summer be without a killer shark movie? Ever since Jaws attacked the box office and the beaches of Amity in 1975, Hollywood has been trying to duplicate its giddy Great White mayhem, chumming the multiplex waters with B-movie wannabes. Two years ago, we got The Shallows. Last summer, we had 47 Meters Down. Now we’re treated to the deliriously goofy sight of bullet-headed Cockney badass Jason Statham going mano a mano with not just any deep-sea predator, but a 75-foot-long megalodon — a prehistoric killing machine long thought to be as extinct as the woolly mammoth.
In a botched mission in the Philippine Trench five years prior, Taylor lost half his crew when the nuclear submarine they were rescuing people from was rammed by a massive creature who he claimed was a Carcharodon megalodon, an ancestor of the great white shark assumed extinct.
She also doesn’t satisfy. At all. After experiencing Meg, you’ll crack open your Little Shark Book and call up Jaws. The Meg is directed by Jon Turteltaub and stars Jason Statham, Bingbing Li, and Rainn Wilson. The Meg” is Jason Statham versus a giant shark. If the mere idea of that sold you, then you are the demographic for this film and you will have a good time. Everyone else should probably stay away.
A shark movie that’s too slow, too talkative and too concerned with being a ‘good’ film. To research his role, Statham dived with about 25-30 bull sharks in Fiji. The movie says: Jonas could kill the large Meg by slicing the length of its body with his one-man sub, stabbing it in the eye, and letting the blood attract other sharks for a feeding frenzy.
I found myself at the indie-est of indie theaters in order to see these movies, and all of these films gave me nothing but feels. If you like the “Deep Blue Sea” genre of filmmaking, this Jason Statham vehicle is perfect for you. Some cheering news as the 2018 summer blockbuster season rounds into its home straight: the mega shark is not a giant crock.
As Jaws meets Jurassic Park, Meg (short for megladon) brings us a 60-foot, 20-ton prehistoric shark with a nine-foot-wide mouth that is likely to gobble up bestseller lists, as well as reappear in 1998 as a summer blockbuster.
Despite the enticing promise of Statham vs. a giant shark, this action movie lamely steals just about every shark-movie conceit ever invented, while draining the suspense, terror, and fun out of them. The Meg starts well enough with its clever scientific discovery, which could have been explored a little further, but director Jon Turteltaub proceeds to barrel right past it with instant and relentless attacks that feel more like bludgeons than thrills. Shark fans will already know all the moves in this one – quite a few of them taken straight from Jaws – and the movie fails to conjure up anything even remotely like a surprise or a scare.
Statham plays Jonas Taylor, a disgraced deep-sea-rescue expert who, as is explained in a prologue, is still living down his decision to abandon several colleagues in the middle of a mission after their vessel was attacked by what Jonas claimed was a giant shark. As the action of the film gets underway, our hero is drowning his sorrows in Thailand, having been divorced by his wife (Jessica McNamee) and having gained a reputation as a crazy person.
Aside from a decent beach scene, in which hundreds of people are splashing around in the water above the giant shark, unaware of the monster in their midst, The Meg” tanks. Unlike his action-movie rival Johnson, Statham does not have the charisma to carry this film. He gets the job done all right, but makes it feel more like work than play.
Shark movies are big business, especially in the world of straight-to-video cinema. Low-budget movies with titles like Sharkansas Women’s Prison Massacre and Raiders of the Lost Shark have been showing up regularly on streaming services, on cable channels and in Redboxes in recent years, most of them using campy humor, copious gore and titillating nudity (or seminudity) to make up for what they lack in plot, character development and production values. Some (like the increasingly absurd Sharknado series) have broken into the mainstream, but most appeal primarily to an audience of B-movie aficionados.
So begins the submersible thriller The Meg,” a schlocky but mostly self-aware man vs. beast blockbuster whose villain is a killer megalodon newly released from the depths of the Mariana Trench. More Deep Blue Sea” than Jaws,” the movie is as free of narrative surprises as it is from genuine scares, satisfying expectations and reinventing no wheels. But at least it goes through its motions with a smile and a wink, and it’s a lot breezier than the lead-footed Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.” There is little to praise but equally little to chastise.
The Meg” opens this summer. The film will be distributed in China by Gravity Pictures, and throughout the rest of the world by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Entertainment Company. The Jason Statham giant shark movie promises ridiculous fun, but like all good science fiction, it was inspired by the real world.
A very basic monster movie that begins fun enough but then quickly overstays its welcome, becoming big and clumsy like a Megalodon while lacking in tension, thrills or anything to hold our attention for more than an hour as things start to get repetitious, lame and purely boring.
Rather, The Meg” is most enjoyable when it lets humor overtake solemnity, and quippy banter trump apocalyptic rhetoric. At its heart, it’s a Roger Corman film with a $150 million budget. Filming on The Meg” was accomplished on location in China and New Zealand.
What that doesn’t explain is how both sharks manage to be so sly. I’m willing to buy that sharks can move through the water with lightning agility and stealth dexterity, but the script continuously asks you to believe that a state-of-the-art research facility wouldn’t be able to detect a 90 foot shark approaching and eventually biting its glass exterior. Even when the team manages to “tag” the creature with a tracker, they can’t help but get spooked by it in subsequent scenes. It’s like the Meg can render itself invisible.
For the past few years, theatergoers have been given an array of saltwater treats to tide us over between Shark Weeks. We’ve seen a wounded Blake Lively defeat a killer shark with the help of a seagull in The Shallows” (2016) and watched as Mandy Moore and Claire Holt faced the horrors of the deep after their diving cage drifts to the ocean floor in 47 Meters Down” (2017). 2018 gives us The Meg,” which calls back to another absurd yet iconic open-water flick, Deep Blue Sea” (1999), about genetically modified sharks who stalk LL Cool J and company in an isolated underwater facility.
In the film, the prehistoric chomper is first discovered by rescue diver Jonas Taylor (Statham) during a dangerous underwater mission that ends with a handful of scientists dying. Five years pass, giving Jonas plenty of time to drink away his sorrows in Thailand, and, unsurprisingly, another team of scientists, which include Jonas’s ex-wife, get trapped underwater. Who gets the call to solve the problem? Jonas, our intrepid shark-hater. He springs to action with the combination of grumpiness and charm we’ve come to expect from the artist formerly known as the Transporter.
In this fantasy thriller, a giant shark menaces a team of scientists trapped in an undersea vehicle. Their only hope: a skilled diver-solider played by Jason Statham. The film follows in the watery tradition of 47 Meters Down, The Shallows, Deep Blue Sea and Sharknado. It debuted in summer 2018.
Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman ” (Focus Features) was fifth. Opening-weekend ticket sales for the euphorically reviewed film, which won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival in May, totaled roughly $10.8 million — the best result for a film by Mr. Lee in more than a decade. BlacKkKlansman,” backed by Blumhouse Productions, was booked into 1,512 theaters. To compare, The Meg” played in 4,118.
Rounding out the international main cast of The Meg” are Rainn Wilson (TV’s The Office,” Super”), Ruby Rose (xXx: Return of Xander Cage,” TV’s Orange is the New Black”), Winston Chao (Skiptrace,” Kabali”), Page Kennedy (TV’s Rush Hour”), Jessica McNamee (The Vow,” TV’s Sirens”), Ólafur Darri Ólafsson (The BFG,” TV’s The Missing”), Robert Taylor (Focus,” TV’s Longmire”), Sophia Shuya Cai (Somewhere Only We Know”), Masi Oka (TV’s Hawaii Five-0,” Heroes”) and New Zealander Cliff Curtis (The Dark Horse,” Risen,” TV’s Fear the Walking Dead”).
This coterie of folks, of whose slower, older and more avaricious brethren will become megalodon food, includes the Chinese director of an underwater research station (Winston Chao); his comely and conveniently single daughter Suyin (Li Bingbing), a veteran deep-sea explorer; her foregone love interest Jonas Taylor (Jason Statham), a cocksure wild card with a controversial history with the beast in question; and the station’s bean-counting capitalist investor (Rainn Wilson). When an expedition of the ocean floor goes awry, and at least one mythical meg surfaces where it isn’t supposed to, this unprepared gallery of scientists, divers and supermen are forced to contain the uncontainable before it enjoys a decadent lunch of Chinese beachgoers.
Directed by Jon Turteltaub (National Treasure”), from a screenplay adapted from Steve Alten’s 1997 book, The Meg” takes its sweet time getting going, and doesn’t really start delivering on the expected thrills and chills until a scene in which Jonas, tethered by cable to a ship, dives into the ocean — with, inexplicably, no shark cage — to shoot a tracking device into the fin of the titular beastie. After the shark gets mad, and starts pursuing him, he becomes a piece of de facto bait, being reeled in as the Megalodon’s fin gets closer and closer.