Image: 70-foot shark looms under the waves as helpless people don’t notice in The Meg [Source: IMDB]
Coming off the success of ‘laugh at how bad it is’ movies like the infamous Sharknado. The Meg sees Jason Statham bring the ridiculousness of the B movie to the blockbuster movie landscape. After his character Jonas Taylor claims to have been attacked by a 70-foot shark, he must confront those fears to save the crew on a sunken submersible. I think they are gonna need a bigger boat.
Director: Jon Turteltaub. Starring: Jason Statham, Rainn Wilson, Ruby Rose [12A]
When approaching doing a film like this at blockbuster proportions. There is almost a threading the needle type of precision needed to pull it off in a fun, tongue in cheek but not overblown style. It’s likely as tricky as it sounds and sadly for this feature, Turteltaub lacks the finesse to pull off the comedy and most of the gargantuan sized ludicrousness is executed with a ham-handed fist and neither garners genuine drama or larger than life laughs.
You can hear the frustration of Hollywood producers, “how do we make something viral like sharknado – how does popularity work” but then they think “what if we made something so stupid people like it, it worked for Batman and Robin”. But while movies such as Batman and Robin or The Room garner rewatches and cult followings behind them. It is not for the fact that they were purposefully made to be that bad (Tommy Wiseau would disagree) but more the general public revelling in a great big stinking mess of a movie and being absolutely dumbfounded enough that they cannot help but laugh at the block performances and over the top lines of dialogue. You could even say that it is an art in itself to create the “so bad its good” movie.
Where The Meg fails in trying to capture that lightning in a bottle is, strangely – it takes itself a little too seriously. Forced romantic subplots, characterisation just enough to make you care and a real lack of comedy and over the top moments. In fact, in parts, it is really rather grounded (in comparison to things such as Sharknado that is). There are some blown up moments and a few parts of stupidity but in a movie that is written like an average blockbuster just with a little more flair. It’s too heavy-handed and proof that you cannot force a movie like The Room. Jason Statham and Rainn Wilson are by far the most captivating of the cast adding just a touch more life to their characters.
While supporting cast members bring a few laughs and some bigger ones sadly at their expense when a performance makes the tragic part of the film seem absolutely hilarious. There’s a lot of that, odd scene blocking and odd character developments. It runs through most of the movie and just further demonstrates that you cannot catch lightning in a bottle. Still, The Meg is a semi-decent flick that you could toss on as the first in a collection of viewings of films such as Sharknado and the like and The Meg would act as a sort of slow submerging into a giant ocean of trash.