Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Review: "The Meg" is an exercise in ridiculousness

The Meg Review
Last month, I called "Mission: Impossible Fallout" the quintessential summer blockbuster. I think I may have spoke too soon. Perhaps, after careful consideration, maybe "The Meg" is the quintessential summer blockbuster. It could definitely make a run as the quintessential "Jaws" rip-off, but perhaps that's being a little too naive. If "The Meg" feels like anything, it feels like one of those cheesy movies the SyFy channel releases, but with a slightly better budget and the ease of hiring actors like Jason Statham, Ruby Rose and even Rainn Fucking Wilson. Its got the story of one of those SyFy movies too. Its literally about the search for a large shark, and then finding said large shark. Then, in the last forty minutes of the movie, the large shark is eaten by an even LARGER shark!

It sounds ridiculous, but during the summer, what's wrong with a little ridiculous nature? "The Meg" is a ridiculous movie, but it wears that on its sleeve of a shirt. It wears it like a badge of the highest honor. "The Meg" is a type of movie where you should know what you are getting into before you walk into the theater. If you don't turn your brain off and allow yourself to be entertained, you are doing it wrong. The movie has lots of recognizable actors in it, but they know they are in a silly movie. This isn't like "Armageddon," where the silly story is taken a little too seriously. "The Meg" plays light on its feet pretty much throughout. Even Statham feels like he's adjusted his tough guy persona slightly to fit the hammy environment he's occupying. The special effects on the sharks is pretty bad, but is it intentional? I'd almost guess yes. The story itself is pretty simple, resulting in a by-the-numbers and ludicrous shark hunt. It's got big monsters, big effects and some one-liners, so of course it feels like the quintessential summer movie! 

The first half of the movie actually feels like a drag. The movie mainly focuses in the long stretch of the first half on a rescue mission. Jason Statham plays Jonah Taylor and he decides that he's going to rescue his ex-wife from a submarine base called the Mana One. The Mana One had an oceanographer crew studying a deeper Mariana's trench, until something big smacked into the base, putting the entire crew at danger. So most of the movie, perhaps too much of the movie, is spent on this rescue mission. You are getting bored. You wondering when you are finally going to see some big sharks. The rescue is not very exciting are intense, and you spend a lot of time sitting wondering when something is going to happen. Perhaps "The Meg," short for the extinct shark megalodon, would have been better suited as a short film.

Once the rescue is over and they capture what appears to be the megalodon, and that bigger shark I discussed reveals itself and it begins to attack a beach...well things get so far off the rails that its sort of fun. Again, nothing here is worth consequence. Everyone involved knows that what they are apart of shouldn't be taken seriously. Living in a time where brands are taking over every season of a movie year, it feels almost punk rock to make a dumb summer movie during the summer movie season. It also feels like a borderline miracle that it can capture some fun, so zany weirdness and all the silliness that encapsulates a dumb movie from summer. It's not meant to be taken seriously, so please don't. If you need every movie you see to be an Oscar contender, then don't drop by this one.


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