The Meg (2018)

JON TURTELTAUB

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.  /USA, 2018.  , , , , .  Screenplay by , , , based on the novel Meg by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by , , .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by , .  

Great white sharks are nothing compared to this mother of a sea monster, but how does the Meg compare to ‘s muscles?  The race is on when a marine research team accidentally wakes up a prehistoric beast during an exploration of the Marianas Trench, going beneath a layer of hydrogen sulfide that has formed a thermocline (look how smart I sound) and disturbing the peace of an eighty-foot eating machine.  Following them up through the protective ocean layer and starting to nibble on their underwater ocean lab, the megalodon is at least good for Statham’s reputation, as he was declared insane five years earlier for trying to tell everyone about what chased him out of a similar situation and killed his friends.  Now Statham has to help save the team and the billionaire nutjob () who is funding the lab, which is hard to do when you’re being pursued by a creature that’s as big as a shopping mall (but can somehow swim next to shore without being detected by swimmers, okay sure).  What should be a supersized version of Jaws is ruined by a poor sense of adventure and a distinct lack of death, a movie that can’t quite find the middle ground between Spielberg’s classic and the boredom of Sharknado silliness, or a balance between unbelievable escapes and indulgent carnage:  with audiences complaining about what they felt was a judgmental attack on an undeserving character in Jurassic World, a subject that was actually discussed on pop culture podcasts, monster movies can no longer enjoy the body count they once had (she wasn’t being judged for her lax child care, by the way, she got killed because there were dinosaurs with wings flying over her).  It’s fine that the filmmakers ignore all the scientific details about being underwater (like descending a billion feet without the slightest pressure headaches to go with it), but the poor plotting and lack of stakes (surprising for a movie based on a novel!) make for something that doesn’t zing as summer entertainment.  Statham is game but for the most part seems unmotivated, and his romance with co-star is muted for the Chinese movie market to the point that it’s simply illogical.

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