Meg review: a no-surprises narrative

Genre thrills from this creature feature

The prologue of Steve Alten’s Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror is deliciously camp. In the late Cretaceous period, a tyrannosaurus is hunting some mild herbivores by the sea when all of sudden a megalodon (a giant shark) grabs it, shakes it like a terrier would shake a rat and eats it up. While geologically it is not possible for the T-Rex and megalodon to co-exist, it sure was a great opening.

The Meg, the movie based on the novel, unfortunately, does not have T-Rex-megalodon face-off. Directed by Jon Turteltaub, with Jason Statham starring as rescue diver Jonas Taylor, The Meg devoutly follows all genre conventions. And there is a comfort in that.

You know what to expect, when all the jump scares would be and when the shark would roll its wicked little eyes and come smiling at you.

The Meg
  • Director: Jon Turteltaub
  • Cast: Jason Statham, Li Bingbing, Rainn Wilson, Ruby Rose, Winston Chao, Cliff Curtis
  • Story line: Jason Statham battles a prehistoric shark

And when everything goes along expected lines, there is a satisfaction of correctly predicting what follows. After teasing us with flashes of fin, a shadow, a great, gaping maw and scary teeth, we finally see the hulking monster on cue. The close up of the megalodon’s eye however, is not as sweet as the baby blues of the kraken in Deep Rising.

The flip side of a no-surprises narrative is precisely that. You are bound to forget the movie before the credits roll. Visually we have been spoilt rotten by Blue Planet and The Meg looks like a pale imitation of the real thing — which is as it should be as Mother Nature can knock the socks off CGI without breaking a sweat.

Statham decides to give his crisp white shirts a break but shows off his buff body to good effect. The Meg like Skyscraper is set in China. Chinese actor-singer Li Bingbing plays oceanologist Suyin Zhang. Rainn Wilson plays the businessman Jack Morris, unfortunately the megalodon does not have the timing of the sharks from Deep Blue Sea who gobble up Samuel L Jackson mid-sentence.

The Meg does not promise much but neither does it ask much of its audience.

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 12:34:35 AM |

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