Real Writers. Real Opinions. No Boundaries.

Movie Review: ‘The Meg’ Only Sort of Lives Up to the Camp You Want it to Be

It’s like the director was in on the joke but only decided to tell the actors about halfway through shooting the damn thing

Jason Statham, Cliff Curtis, Bingbing Li, Page Kennedy, and Ruby Rose in The Meg (2018)
Photo by Daniel Smith – © 2016 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and RatPac-Dune Entertainment LLC

Starring: Jason Statham, Li Bingbing, Rainn Wilson, Ruby Rose, Winston Chao, Cliff Curtis

Director: Jon Turteltaub

Running Time: 113 Minutes

Rating: PG-13 for Giant Monsters Putting a Damp on Your Wedding and Ridiculous One-Liners

Release Date: August 10, 2018

In the climax of The Meg, Jason Statham abandons his mini hi-tech submarine and stabs a giant, prehistoric shark with a harpoon, resulting in everyone at the screening I attended laughing.

Sure, when you saw the trailer, you probably thought “Oh, this is going to be the ‘So bad it’s good’ movie of the summer.” And you’d be right…sort of.

See, The Meg doesn’t lean into its campiness until multiple megalodons in (yes, there’s more than one). It’s like the director was in on the joke but only decided to tell the actors about halfway through shooting the damn thing, with the final product feeling like two completely different movies.

The first half of the film is actually quite depressing. The story as to why these giant sea creatures still exist is accompanied by deaths of characters the movie actually spends time investing in, with their loss constantly lingering in the background of what should be a ridiculous romp. When certain people become fish food, the characters actually take the time out to mourn. Hell, the opening sequence is about how our main hero, Jonas Taylor (Statham), is haunted by the existence of the giant shark, which forced him to sacrifice the lives of his three friends in order to save the rest of his crew from imminent death.

What a fun way to start a summer blockbuster, am I right?

The last thirty minutes do live up to the exciting “Jason Statham fights a shark” premise I was hoping this entire film was going to be, but everything beforehand is just a bummer. At the very least, you do get a few fun performances out of The Meg, with Rainn Wilson as an Elon Musk-esque billionaire bro, Ruby Rose essentially playing her bad-ass self (But this time she’s a tech wiz!), and Statham eventually turns into his character from Spy, but as a deep sea diver.

When I came out of the screening for this, my immediate thought was “How long do I have to wait until How Did This Get Made does an episode on this?” It didn’t take long until my prayers were answered. If you’re going to end up watching this thing, at least you have that to look forward to! 

The Meg is Recommended If You Like: The Fast and the Furious franchise, Sharknado, any of those SyFy original movies about giant sea creatures, and using your Movie Pass to the fullest extent before the service eventually folds.

Grade: 2 out of 5 Finding Nemo References

You might also like