The meg

Fins ain’t what they used to be

SFX - - Reviews -

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.

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