Gareth Barsby is a graduate of the University of Chester who writes many short stories, poems and reviews.
Sharks may not be as dangerous to humans as some will have you believe, and yet movies with shark antagonists are still frequently splashing onto televisions and cinema screens. To be fair, a lot of shark movies – from Jaws to the more recent The Shallows and 47 Metres Down – have been thrilling, fun and interesting. These words, sadly, can’t be used to describe The Meg. One would think a film about combating a gigantic shark thought long-extinct should have an amusing B-Movie charm to it, but there is nothing really engaging or entertaining to be found here.
All of the great monster movies keep its monsters hidden in the shadows for the first half-hour or so, to help keep a sense of mystery and suspense regarding the monster and to allow audiences to get to know the humans who will be fighting the monster. This technique does not work in this movie’s favour, given that the titular shark is probably the most interesting character. None of the characters, save for those played by Li Bingbing and Shuya Sophia Cai at times, are likeable, nor is one likely to care if they fail to kill the shark. Jason Statham is playing Jason Statham, no more, no less. Even his character’s name is an anagram of his actual first name. An especially annoying character is one played by Rainn Wilson, who fails in every attempt to be funny.
In fact, that’s one of the main problems with this film; it could have been more entertaining had it embraced the goofiness of its premise more, but there are hardly any laughs to be found. There was one point I smiled, and that is when the shark seemed to look at Shuya Sophia Cai’s character like a puppy would look at its owner, which I’m certain was not the intention. Most of the time when the film tries to be humorous, we end up with groanworthy scenes like one including a dog paddling in the ocean.
The Meg is one thing a shark movie shouldn’t be – boring. It feels like it goes on for too long and it’s hard to care about most of the characters. Again, the most sympathetic character is perhaps the shark itself. One point in the movie has the shark attack a boat full of shark poachers, which made me imagine the shark as a vigilante getting revenge on humanity for hunting its kind, and perhaps that would have been a better movie.