Review by Dustin Heller

Everybody out of the water!  The Meg is a new sci-fi horror flick about a giant prehistoric shark on the prowl.  The movie is based on the 1997 book Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror by Steve Alten.  The Meg is directed by Jon Turteltaub, the acclaimed director of such films as While You Were Sleeping, Phenomenon, and National Treasure.  Jason Statham leads the cast consisting of Li Bingbing, Rainn Wilson, Ruby Rose, Jessica McNamee, Winston Chao, and Cliff Curtis.  The Meg is rated PG-13 for action/peril, bloody images and some language.

Scientists are about to make the discovery of a lifetime: the ocean floor is really just an icy, cold cloud with a world of uncharted territory below.  Three divers make the initial descent in a pod but are attacked by something unknown and end up stranded at the bottom of the ocean.  The only man capable of making the rescue is Jonas Taylor, whose ex-wife just happens to be one of the stranded passengers.  Upon a successful rescue, the cloud remained open long enough for an aggressive monster to pass through along with the rescue pod.  The monster in question is a Megalodon shark that was thought to have been extinct for ages.  It is now up to the crew to hunt down the beast and kill it before it reaches the mass population.

There is good news and there is bad news when it comes to The Meg.  I’ll start with the bad news so we can end on a high note.  First off, the screenplay felt like it was written by a 12-year-old boy who’s really into sharks.  The dialog is senseless and mind-numbing, and seems forced at almost every turn.  There are a number of failed attempts of comedic relief that absolutely fall flat. In contrast, the heavy-handed drama is so bad that it’s almost funny.  Aside from Jason Statham, the acting is really bad, too.  Statham plays pretty much the same character as always, but he is really good at it.  Also noteworthy is the complete miscasting of Rainn Wilson in the role of hipster billionaire; it didn’t work on any level.  I guess to sum up the bad news would be to call it Sharknado with a much bigger budget.

With all of that out of the way, now I can tell you the good news: there is a really cool giant shark that’s out for blood!  That’s really the only reason people are wanting to see this anyway, right?  I know that’s why I wanted to see it.  The CGI shark is awesome, and there is quite a bit of edge-of-your-seat action.  It’s easy to look past some of the faults of the movie because it is what it is, and it knows it’s not going to win any awards.  It’s not trying to be anything other than a monster movie, and it’s actually somewhat successful in that effort.   I go back and forth on whether I’d recommend The Meg.  On one hand, you’ve got a big summer popcorn flick that has some thrilling moments, but on the other hand, it is quite silly.  If you’re needing a break from reality and want to have some brainless fun this weekend, then The Meg might just be what the doctor ordered.

Grade:  C+

The Meg opens in theaters on Friday, August 10

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