When you watch a movie like The Meg, which is about a giant Megalodon eating and destroying everything in his path, there are two different reactions: “this flick didn’t make any sense, it was so stupid” and “this flick was so much fun, I had a great time watching it”.
The first reaction is the one that might come from the fact you go into The Meg expecting a serious movie; the second one depends on the recognition of the self-awareness behind this film. I went to a “press screening” of The Meg, where there were other 30/40 critics other than me, and I was the only one walking out of the theatre satisfied and pleasantly surprised.
This is a rather simple movie to review and understand to me: if you expect The Tree of Life when you attend a screening of The Meg, you must be as smart as a sack of bricks. This is no art-house horror film: it’s a summer blockbuster action-horror flick about a gigantic prehistorical shark that trashes everything on its way and only Jason Statham can put a stop to it!
In my opinion, The Meg is a very light-hearted movie that never – not once – takes itself seriously, in the slightest. Surprisingly enough, the flick starts off rather subdued and grounded, since the ‘villain’ is introduced only halfway through the runtime. Where most summer blockbusters fail when they try to have a slow build-up, The Meg succeeded due to its attention in creating likeable and somewhat relatable characters: Jason Statham – who plays expert sea diver and Naval Captain Jonas Taylor – is particularly fleshed out and has motivations that are understandable.
Continue reading and check my final grade below…
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During the second half of the film, when shit hits the fan, the CGI (which could have looked dated and ‘bloated’) instead blends together with the locations nicely. The Megalodon in particular looks legit: it doesn’t feel like a computer generated image, it’s got consistency and seems really there. For fans of monster movies, The Meg will be a pleasant cinematic experience and this prehistorical monster will be a blast to look at.
Yet, the people involved in this project made the smart decision to create basically a B-movie that benefits from a first class budget and production values, since it was made on an estimated $150,000,000 budget! On a totally unrelated note, this is the most expensive motion picture I’ve ever reviewed for my blog, and I’m happy to say it didn’t stink.
Overall, I found The Meg to be a great example of blockbuster Hollywood entertainment, a much better film in this respect than most of its counterparts that came out in the last few years.
Nonetheless, this is a flick that suffers from a few tiny issues and a humongous problem. As for the tiny issues I had with The Meg, some of the devices to carry the plot along felt very lazy, as in the filmmakers asked us to blindly believe in what was going in without questioning the stupidity of these things. As I said, the movie is dumb in general and it knows that, but this doesn’t excuse it from mistreating the audience with lazy devices. The dialogues felt a bit formulaic, but not to a point they ruined the overall experience.
There is, however, one aspect that kind of killed the movie: its rating. As Jason Statham himself reportedly said upon watching the final cut of the movie: “Where’s the fucking blood?!”. The Meg would’ve benefitted from an R-rating a lot, since most of the action scenes in the second half of the movie appeared heavily cut to remove every single disturbing image. I get that the filmmakers wanted youngsters to shoehorn in theatres for profit, but by doing that they negatively affected the movie. With more gore and on screen violence – always played for fun, of course – The Meg would have been a blast! Also, big-budget R-rated movies nowadays work (Deadpool, Logan and so on), so I really think this was a big mistakes on the producers’ part.
Apparently, there’s an R-rated cut that will be available on the Blu-Ray release of The Meg, and I bet it’s going to be much better than the final theatrical cut we got. For example, in the movie there’s one scene with a Piranha 3D-like setting that feels like a giant missed opportunity, because they couldn’t show too much blood nor violence.
Still, The Meg is pure, unadulterated fun for the whole family and I’d recommend it to those of you who are down for that.
The Meg 7/10