Fins ain’t what they used to be
released 10 deCeMBer 2018 | 12 | Blu-ray/dVd/download Creator Jon Turteltaub Cast Jason statham, li Bingbing, ruby rose, rainn Wilson
What makes a great shark movie? At this point you may as well stop reading, hit play on Jaws and consider the debate closed. Beyond Spielberg’s apex cinematic predator we can separate shark movies into two distinct breeds: stripped-down nerve-janglers (Open Water, The Shallows) and preposterous, self-aware schlockers (anything on Syfy).
Based on Steve Alten’s novel, The Meg pitches uber-geezer Jason Statham against a prehistoric predator the size of a bus. Guess which side of the great shark flick divide it falls? Statham is Jonas Taylor, a deep-sea rescue diver out to save the crew of an experimental submersible that’s been attacked by a living Megalodon, recently roused from the depths of the Pacific. As ever he brings the surly charisma of a man about to kick off in a Catford boozer, but that gruff alpha male energy is never less than watchable, even in knowingly absurd scenes where he outswims a monster shark or executes a heroic dive while other characters literally stand there and cry, “Hell, yeah!”
It’s a glossy, weightless yarn, with no sense of reality to make the central threat anything more than grin-worthy moments of CG spectacle. The shark’s infinitely more effective as a gliding, spectral shape beneath the waves, or as a giant death’s head floating outside a window – if only helmer Jon Turteltaub had leaned into that primal unease rather than playing to the cheap seats. The climax sics the Meg on a multitude of anonymous holidaymakers in China’s Sanya Bay, but it’s cosy, bloodless stuff. Where’s the bite?
Extras The DVD release includes “Chomp On This: Making The Meg” (12 minutes), a behind-the-scenes pieces with contributions from Turteltaub and cast. The Blu-ray release adds “Creating The Beast” (10 minutes), focusing on the film’s titular predator, from concept to on-screen execution, and a brief featurette that plays like a promo for the New Zealand Film Commission. Nick Setchfield
Disney originally acquired the screen rights in 1997. In 2005 New Line developed a take with Guillermo del Toro producing.
No one warned him his goldfish would grow this much.