Movie Review: ‘Meg’ low mania
“The Meg” is a by-the-screenplay-book thriller about a prehistoric shark run amok.
Think: “Jaws” (1975) meets “The Poseidon Adventure” (1972) meets “The Abyss” (1989).
The movie’s title, “The Meg,” refers to a 75-foot-long megalodon shark, a prehistoric creature thought to be extinct. The creature resurfaces from the deep to wreak havoc on a nuclear submarine, a research vessel, and a beach resort. The movie is based on a 1997 book, “Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror,” by Steve Alten.
Jason Statham plays Jonas Taylor, who had led a team that was not entirely successful in rescuing a stranded crew inside a submarine at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. Taylor is called upon to head another team to rescue a crew when they become stranded in a submersible research vessel at the bottom of the Mariana Trench.
In each instance, Taylor claims that a giant shark thwarted the rescue. Others’ disbelief changes to belief when the shark attacks again, this time killing some research crew members.
The research team includes Suyin (Bingbing Li), her father Zhang (Winston Chao), who are Asian actors; Masi Oka (Toshi,), a Japanese-American actor; Mac (Cliff Curtis), a New Zealand actor; Jessica McNamee (Lori), an Australian actress, Jaxx (Ruby Rose, an “Orange Is The New Black” TV ensemble Actors Guild 2016 recipient, and an Australian actress), and Morris (Rainn Wilson, TV’s “The Office,” 2005-2013).
The international cast reflects the movie’s multi-national production pedigree.
“The Meg” is a co-production of a Hollywood studio and a Chinese studio, and was filmed in Hauraki Gulf, Auckland, New Zealand, and Sanya Bay Beach, Hainan Island, The People’s Republic of China.
Statham has a solid screen presence and, if you’re a fan, he’s the chief reason to see “The Meg.” Wilson is almost unrecognizable. The other actors are good, but also don’t make much of an impression.
Jon Turteltaub (director, “National Treasure: Book Of Secrets,” 2007; “National Treasure,” 2004; “Cool Runnings,” 1993) directs with an efficient attention to checking off the plot points in the screenplay by Dean Georgaris (writer, “Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life,” 2003), and Jon and Erich Hoeber (writer, “Battleship,” 2012).
“The Meg” has aspects of a NASA mission for its use of high-tech communication and exploratory equipment, including nifty underwater craft that resemble the X-wing Starfighter in “Star Wars.”
“The Meg” has predictable dialogue, scenes, camera angles, pacing, editing and soundtrack. The action is surprisingly low-key. The suspense doesn’t really ratchet up until the final third of the film, when the giant shark terrorizes beach-going swimmers. Then the mania begins. It’s a lot, but it’s a lot a little too late.
“The Meg,” MPAA Rated PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. Parents are urged to be cautious. Some material may be inappropriate for pre-teenagers.) for action-peril, bloody images and some language; Genre: Action, Horror, Science-Fiction, Thriller; Run time: Distributed by Warner Bros.
Credit Readers Anonymous: At the conclusion of “The Meg” appears the word “Fin,” French for “end” and a reference to a shark fin.
Box Office, Sept. 14: “The Predator” opened at No. 1 with $24.6 million, said to be worst-ever live-action film opening for a movie opening at more than 4,000 locations, even worse than “The Mummy,“ 2017, which previously held this “distinction.”
“The Nun” was unseated, dropping one place from No. 1 to No. 2, with $18.2 million, $85.1 million, two weeks.
“A Simple Favor” opened at No. 3 with $16 million.
“White Boy Rick” opened at No. 4 with $8.6 million.
5. “Crazy Rich Asians” dropped two slots, $8.6 million, $149.5 million, five weeks. 6. “Peppermint” dropped four slots, $6 million, $24.1 million. 7. “The Meg” dropped three slots, $3.8 million, $137.1 million, six weeks. 8. “Searching” dropped three slots, $3.1 million, $19.6 million, four weeks. 9. “Mission: Impossible - Fallout” dropped three slots, becoming the highest-grossing “Mission” release, topping “Mission: Impossible II” (2000), $2.2 million, $216.1 million, eight weeks. 10. “Unbroken: Path To Redemption,” $2.2 million. opening.
Unreel, Sept. 21:
“The House with a Clock in Its Walls,” PG: Eli Roth directs Cate Blanchett, Jack Black, Lorenza Izzo and Owen Vaccaro in the Fantasy Comedy. An orphan helps his uncle find a magical clock.
“Life Itself,” R: Dan Fogelman directs Oscar Isaac, Olivia Wilde, Annette Bening and Mandy Patinkin in the Romantic Drama. A young college couple marries and has a child.
“The Sisters Brothers,” R: Jacques Audiard directs John C. Reilly, Joaquin Phoenix, Jake Gyllenhaal and Riz Ahmed in the Comedy Western. A gold prospector is chased by assassins named the Sisters brothers in 1850s Oregon.
“Colette,” R: Wash Westmoreland directs Keira Knightley, Eleanor Tomlinson, Dominic West and Fiona Shaw in the Biography Drama. Colette, forced to write novels under her husband’s name, seeks recognition.
Two Popcorn Boxes out of Five Popcorn Boxes