The Meg

With a budget of $130 000 000(!), The Meg is probably the world’s most expensive watch commercial.

It pretends to be a movie too. It’s about a tough, gruff drunk named Jonas (Jason Statham) who wears watches while bitterly licking his wounds after losing two of his mates during a rescue mission that saved 11. He claims that something very large and unseen crushed a nuclear submarine, but doctors claim he’s crazy. Still, he’s the guy Mac (Cliff Curtis) and Zhang (Winston Chao) call on when only the best will do.

Zhang is the brilliant watch-wearing scientist running a deep underwater research lab, funded by eccentric billionaire Morris (Rainn Wilson), who loves watches almost as much as he loves sneakers. Zhang believes that there is more depth to the ocean the-meg-featurethan even Mariana’s Trench will have you believe – and a sub from their research facility proves him correct as it plunges below what was previously believed to be the bottom of the ocean. There is all sorts of undiscovered life down there (science boner!), including something big enough and antagonistic enough to ground the submarine containing 3 crew members with only their large, expensive watches to keep them company, the fairest of whom is Jonas’s ex-wife. So down he goes.

And then up he comes, but he’s not alone. It seems he’s brought something with him: a megalodon, an enormous shark previously believed to be extinct for millions of years. This time the science-boners are tempered by the fact that this fish (affectionately nicknamed ‘The Meg’) is eating all the people AND their waterproof watches.

Jason Statham is of course the perfect man for the part. His sneer of contempt is so effortless. It’s a quite sturdy cast, on the whole. Bingbing Li plays opposite Statham – not as his ex-wife, but as his future ex-wife. She’s no damsel in distress, though. She is constantly testing the warranty limits on her watch by jumping into wherever danger lurks. Ruby Rose, Page Kennedy, and Ólafur Darri Ólafsson round out the possible choice of appetizer for the shark. Kennedy was likely cast for his wonderful wrists, able to hold cups of coffee at such crazy, awkward angles to better show off the stunning watches on display there – even on the outside of his jacket cuffs, if necessary. Ruby Rose nearly drowned on set, and at one point when her character narrowly survives an encounter with the Meg, she hauls herself out of the water, and lays there heaving, her wristwatch posed for maximum admiration by viewers only tangentially concerned with her fate, probably wondering whether it’ll be an heirloom, and if so, who’s getting it in her will.

The Meg takes itself quite seriously while I expected (and maybe wanted) a campier version. One that embraced the cheese factor along with the blatant product placement. But no. And the thing is, The Meg is definitely menacing, but he’s no Jaws. Jaws is much smaller of course, capable of much less damage, but he was a better villain because he almost seemed to make it personal. The Meg is just a monster with a prehistoric brain. He can’t help himself. You could almost dredge up sympathy for the guy. I mean, he doesn’t even have wrists, how’s he going to wear a watch that lets everyone know he’s a man of distinction, a motherfucker to be reckoned with?

The Meg is a bit of dumb fun. Sean thought mostly fun, I thought mostly dumb. And also very overpriced – for that kind of money, everything should look a lot better. But there’s no amount of budget-gloss or gung-ho casting that could hide the flaws of the script, which veers drastically from its source material. I can’t say this movie disappointed me. It sank more than it swam, which is about what I expected from a story picked from the carcass of another, better shark movie.

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46 thoughts on “The Meg

  1. Sean

    I didn’t even notice the watches but now I want one!

    And you are right that Jaws is a much better shark – it’s not even close. With that said, the Meg’s CG is really good which makes for some nice shots of prey and shark together (some of the best of which are in the trailer) though at a budget of $130 million, it had better look real!

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    1. Jay Post author

      I didn’t think the CG was always convincing, especially shots of the lab.
      And the shark was supposed to be glowy-luminescent, but they couldn’t manage that with CG either, so it was scrapped.

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    2. Kariyanine

      I didn’t notice them either but now I want to rewatch it to catch them all. It’s not Jaws. Hell, it’s not even Deep Blue Sea. But it was kind of exactly what I was looking for, big dumb fun with a giant shark.

      Liked by 3 people

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  2. raistlin0903

    Lol…makes me almost want to say that I still want to WATCH this movie..oh wait I just did. Well..I’m going to see this one on saturday. My expectations for it are not very high, but I’m still expecting to have some fun with it anyway 😊😊 As always: great post! 😀😀

    Liked by 3 people

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  3. tubularsock

    Jay, Tubularsock had to go hunt up the trailer for The Meg after reading your review. Looks like a shark comedy to Tubularsock.

    Now Tubularsock doesn’t know much about the lead actor Jason Statham but just from the trailer he looks like just the right guy to take on a super big fish. Better he than Tubularsock for sure!

    The trailer doesn’t seem to highlight any watches but from Tubularsock’s recall banks it is remembered that big shiny objects attract fish. So just maybe there is a method to the watch madness.

    Great review Jay. And it for sure, it is a NOT for Tubularsock. Tubularsock will just view his Timex for comfort.

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  4. Spoken Like A True Nut

    My husband and I are going to see this on the weekend because giant shark + Jason Statham = “shut up and take my money” regardless of quality, but I’m looking forward to it even more now that I know playing Spot the Watch will entertain me even if the movie doesn’t.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Jay Post author

      Yes, we also watched The Spy Who Dumped Me this weekend, and that definitely had me thinking of Statham in Spy…which was quite a bit better.

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  5. mywifeisablackbelt

    For me, as a person who loves sci fi and movies with weird creatures, aliens or monsters, it’s such a shame that at an age when technology has made special effects so amazing to look at, almost all movies in these genres have such crappy scripts and stories.

    It doesn’t sounds as this movie is a complete waste though, so I’ll probably watch it at some point. 🙂

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  6. Pingback: SPF-18 | ASSHOLES WATCHING MOVIES

  7. Myndi @ madbooklove

    My son wanted to see this so, so badly that I finally gave in and took him this past Saturday. Since it stars Jason Statham, who tends to be in movies I can’t stand, I expected it to be completely ridiculous. A 2018 B-movie version of Jaws was truly what I expected. With such low expectations, it should be no surprise that I rather enjoyed it! There were only a few truly cringeworthy scenes (not that my son gave a hoot – he’s 7, going on 8) acting-wise, and the effects and cinematography were well beyond what I anticipated. Not going to win any awards, but it was entertaining and my son loved it.

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