“That was the best movie I’ve seen all year!” my friend exclaimed as we left the cinema. While I can’t quite agree with her, I was certainly blown away at how not-bad The Meg had turned out to be.
When you walk into a monster movie like The Meg, all you want to see is Jason Statham fight a giant shark and that’s it. You expect bad CGI, bad lines, bad characters, and a bad-ass battle between man and monster. But if there’s one thing The Meg rips apart, it’s your expectations.
Let’s set the scene: scientists from the research facility Mana One discover a part of the ocean deeper than the Mariana Trench. They find a lot of new life down there and, surprise surprise, a lot of big life too. Now three of their crew members are stuck at the bottom of the deepest part of the ocean. Jason Statham arrives – and I’m going to call him Jason because his character’s name, Jonas, is a flipping anagram of his actual name – and saves the day. However, they’ve now accidentally unleashed a mega mad megalodon into the world. Horray!
The Meg was written surprisingly well for what it is. My first thoughts upon entering the movie was, who are all these women and why are they so awesome?! There was a moment where Jaxx is introduced as the head engineer of Mana One, and Jason turns around and asks, “So my life is in your hands?”
“You got a problem with that?” she spits back.
Jason pauses before saying super seriously, “No. You look like you know what you’re doing.”
And the best part is, SHE DOES LOOK LIKE SHE KNOWS WHAT SHE’S DOING. She doesn’t look flimsy or out of place at all. In fact NO ONE in this entire film looks flimsy or out of place at all. Not even the kid!
I really appreciate the international feel to this film. It’s definitely an American movie, but there’s plenty of dialogue spoken in Mandarin. A lot of the movie was set off the coast of China, so it’s nice to hear Chinese characters actually speaking their own language. There’s an intimate scene between Li and her father that wouldn’t have had the same impact if it were spoken in English.
Oh, and the Kiwi accent doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb! Either Cliff Curtis held it back a bit, or the cast was international enough that it was well hidden among the other accents. But, much like with all the bad-ass women, the movie doesn’t make a point of this and wave it in your face like, “Ooh, look at me, I’m a good film! I’m inclusive!” Everything and everyone feels natural and real.
And you know what? So does the megalodon. I mean, obviously there were limitations in the CGI department, but every time the meg was hanging around, I was hanging onto my chair. There were whole scenes I spent curled up in a tense little ball, trying to become one with the upholstery. There’s plenty of bloody satisfying Jason vs Shark for you to eat up. But the best thing is you’re never sad when it’s back to dialogue. Because all the movie is good!
Okay, granted, this is not going to be the best movie you see all year. There are a few moments where you scoff at the CGI, laugh at the ooh-look-Jason-Statham-in-a-shower scene, and roll your eyes at the occasional absurd line. There are many parts where you’re like, What? Sharks can’t stay in one spot! Oh my gosh, that’s impossible! Where the hell are they getting all these boats from?
But, as I said, you expect these kinds of things from a film like The Meg. It’s the fact that there’s not that many of them that catches you by surprise. And the discovery that you actually like and root for every character makes this film worth more than your average monster movie. Even the douchebag billionaire was oddly likeable in the way that, yeah, you don’t like him, but you like what he brings to the table.
You know, I paid to see this film and I 100% don’t regret it at all. So I say, ditch Jurassic World and Jaws. If you’re fishing for a good, fun monster movie, The Meg is an excellent catch.