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MOVIE REVIEW

The Meg also known as “Meg,” “Meg: The Monster,” “Meg: Tubarão Gigante,” “Megalodon,” “Megalodón,” “Megatubarão,” “Shark - Il primo squalo,” “Ca Map Sieu Bao Chua,” “MEG: Confruntare în adâncuri,” “En eaux troubles,” “Megalodonas: gresme iš gelmiu,” “Ο Κυρίαρχος Του Βυθού,” «Мега звяр», «Мег: Монстр глубины»

MPAA Rating: PG-13-Rating (MPAA) for action/peril, bloody images and some language.

Reviewed by: Keith Rowe
CONTRIBUTOR

Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
• Young Adults • Adults
Genre:
Sci-Fi Action Horror Adaptation 3D IMAX
Length:
1 hr. 53 min.
Year of Release:
2018
USA Release:
August 10, 2018 (wide—3,900+ theaters)
Copyright, Warner Bros. click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Warner Bros. Copyright, Warner Bros. Copyright, Warner Bros.
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Warner Bros.

What is the LEVIATHAN mentioned in the Bible? Answer

“Jaws”—“One ‘Harmless’ Movie” by Gary Bates, Creation Ministries International

Sharks: denizens of the deep” —“The fossil record is clearly consistent with the fact that sharks have always been sharks, and have not evolved from non–sharks.”

ORIGIN OF BAD—How did bad things come about? Answer

Did God make the world the way it is now? What kind of world would you create? Answer

Animals were not created carnivorous, for God commanded that they eat only plants (Genesis 1:29-30). Death (physical and spiritual) entered the world through Adam’s sin (Genesis 2:17; 3:19; Romans 5:12; 6:23; I Corinthians 15:20-23). Although work and pain existed before sin, they were greatly increased after the fall (Genesis 3:16-19). Clearly, the Bible tells us that the world that we are familiar with is very different from the one which God created and pronounced as “very good.”

VEGETARIAN SHARK (similar articles: • “Piranha” • “The lion that wouldn’t eat meat” • “Lea, the spaghetti lioness” • “Instead of eating baby antelopes, this LION wants to love and protect them” • “The cat who refuses to eat meat” • “Catching a kinkajou” • “The ‘bird of prey’ that’s not” • Vegetarian spider

Copyright, Warner Bros.

Bravery / courage / self-sacrifice

Saving another by sacrificing yourself

FEAR, Anxiety and Worry—What does the Bible say? Answer

Copyright, Warner Bros.

Lives lost due to a leadership decision

Copyright, Warner Bros. Copyright, Warner Bros. Copyright, Warner Bros. Copyright, Warner Bros.
Featuring: Jason StathamJonas Taylor
Bingbing Li … Suyin
Rainn Wilson … Jack Morris
Ruby Rose … Jaxx Herd
Winston Chao … Dr. Minway Zhang
Cliff Curtis … James “Mac” Mackreides
Robert Taylor … Dr. Heller
Jessica McNamee … Celeste
Ólafur Darri Ólafsson … The Wall
Masi Oka … Toshi
Page Kennedy … DJ
See all »
Director: Jon Turteltaub—“National Treasure” franchise, “The Sorcerer's Apprentice” (2019)
Producer: Apelles Entertainment
Di Bonaventura Pictures
Flagship Entertainment Group [China]
Gravity Pictures [China]
See all »
Distributor: Distributor: Warner Brothers Pictures. Trademark logo.
Warner Bros.

“There’s always a bigger fish.”
—Qui-Gon Jinn, “Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace” (1999)

Qui-Gon’s wry comment is perfectly illustrated by one of the movie posters for “The Meg,” the new deep sea thriller from director Jon Turteltaub (“National Treasure”), which depicts the terrifying tableau of a diver swimming toward the surface who is being pursued by a great white shark which is stalked by a massive megalodon (technically, Carcharodon megalodon, a supposedly extinct mega-shark that serves as the movie’s ubiquitous threat). Simply put, it’s eat or be eaten out on the open water.

Our “supersize” mentality has permeated every segment of society, ranging from value meals to movie monsters. This is particularly true of thriller franchises like “Jurassic Park” where the T-Rex was replaced by the Spinosaurus, which was supplanted by the Carcharodon megalodon which was superseded by the latest bigger/faster hybrid introduced in the recent “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” (which I won’t spoil, in case you haven’t seen it yet). Instead of starting off with a great white shark and working up to a larger predator, the movie goes right to its supersized antagonist, the megalodon.

The movie opens with an ill-fated rescue mission, where Jonas Taylor (Jason Statham) makes a difficult judgment call that condemns half his crew to a watery grave after the ship is attacked by what he later describes as a 70-foot creature. Five years later, after losing his career and marriage, Jonas is a guilt-stricken alcoholic who has sworn off diving for the rest of his life.

Jonas’ pity party is interrupted when pal Mac (Cliff Curtis) and Mana One underwater station supervisor Dr. Zhang (Winston Chao) show up to enlist his help on another rescue mission. Jonas is adamant about not getting involved until Mac reveals the identity of the person trapped inside the disabled submersible, which is rapidly running out of air… Jonas’ ex-wife. And I’ll give you one guess as to what damaged the sub and lies in wait for Jonas at the bottom of the ocean.

As would be expected for a summer creature feature, the movie is packed to the gunnels with stock characters. Statham is the reluctant hero. Bingbing Li is the love interest. Rainn Wilson is the unscrupulous business tycoon with no respect for people and no reverence for nature. Ruby Rose is the uber-smart techie. Page Kennedy is the comic relief. Robert Taylor (who is solid as usual, but seems miscast here) is the cool under fire doctor. Shuya Sophia Cai steals the show as precocious youngster, Meiying.

The real star of the show, of course, is the giant shark. The sheer immensity of the creature is breathtaking. And yet, even though the leviathan is undeniably imposing, there’s something lacking in this terror from the deep… some aspect that prevents it from inducing the same level of bloodcurdling dread that the violently thrashing creatures showcased in earlier shark movies did to a superlative degree. Maybe it has something to do with the way Turteltaub frames the super-shark. Or maybe it’s the photo-realistic CGI that’s so finely rendered that it leaves nothing to the imagination. Say what you will about Steven Spielberg’s animatronic shark in “Jaws” (1975), it was downright terrifying. The less-than-impressive title creature leaves us with a lingering question: how is it possible that something so gigantic, so powerful, and so quick can be so unconvincing?

One of the major reasons why the megalodon fails to frighten is that the story, written by Dean Georgaris, Jon Hoeber and Erich Hoeber (based on the novel “MEG: A Novel of Deep Terror” by Steve Alten), has no teeth. The story is highly imitative of the “Jaws” series and the many cheap knockoffs it inspired: “Deep Blue Sea” (1999), “Megalodon” (2002), “Sharknado” (2013) and “The Shallows” (2016), to name just a few.

With the subgenre’s tropes so well-defined at this point, it’s almost impossible to make a shark attack film without being derivative, and “The Meg” is no exception. The scene where the giant fish approaches the teeming Chinese beach is reminiscent of the initial shark sighting at the beach on Amity Island in the first “Jaws” film. Someone needs to inform the writers that humans don’t taste good to sharks, and that all the people in the water would only serve as an appetizer to the colossal creature. Plus, as one scene slyly visualizes, clothing, snorkels, flippers, etc. Get lodged in between the megalodon’s massive teeth… and there’s no such thing as shark floss.

Though the crew pursues the megalodon in a big boat, it turns out they need an even bigger one, which, of course, is a tip of the hat to the famous line in the first “Jaws” movie. Mana One station is a high-tech, less commercial version of SeaWorld Orlando’s underwater tunnels in “Jaws 3-D” (1983). Also, there’s more than a passing resemblance between Jonas firing a spear-like weapon with a tracker at the whale-sized shark and Captain Ahab hurling a harpoon at the white whale in Moby-Dick.

Suffice it to say, the list of comparisons between “The Meg” and other shark films is expansive. The one thing the story does right is pacing. The ratio of character beats to action scenes is surprisingly well-balanced for a horror/thriller flick.

Content of Concern

So, let’s take a deep dive into the movie’s questionable content. Although there’s mild profanity during the first half hour of the film, the expletives start dropping like depth charges after the megalodon makes its first appearance. There are a couple instances each of a**, b—ch, b*tard and s**t. Standard swear words like h*ll and d*mn are heard about a dozen times in the movie. We hear God and Jesus’ names taken in vain on a several occasions. The most jolting expletive in the film, for me, is when 8-year-old Meiying says “a-hole.” Even in its abbreviated form, the word is still completely inappropriate for a kid to say.

The film doesn’t have any sex scenes, but there’s an awkward moment where Suyin (Li) walks into Jonas’ cabin right after he steps out of a shower. Even though Jonas has a towel wrapped around him, a blushing Suyin says, “You’re naked.” Suyin rushes out of Jonas’ berth (good behavior), but then turns around and peeks through the door’s porthole window (bad behavior).

The word “insertion” is employed as a juvenile double-entendré. After some men make a suggestive comment about the word, a female character replies, “Is everything sexual with you guys?” During the scenes in China, the beach and ocean are populated with hundreds of women in bikinis.

In addition to several frightening and intense scenes, the movie is inundated with gory images. Several scenes show the shark smashing into various ships and underwater vessels. A crewmember is impaled in the abdomen by a sharp object.

The megalodon terrorizes beachgoers and gobbles up many of them as they try to evade the ravenous beast. In several scenes, we can make out a trail of blood in the giant shark’s wake. We witness the megalodon swallowing smaller sharks whole or biting them in half. Another graphic scene fixates on the megalodon ripping into the blubber of a dead whale.

Perhaps the most grisly sequence is when the ship maneuvers through the flotsam created by the megalodon’s vicious attack. The crew pulls up the carcasses of several smaller sharks as well as the dismembered arm of a human victim.

One character makes a racist comment about how members of a particular race can’t swim, which is distasteful.

When Zhang petitions Jonas to join his rescue effort, Jonas is clearly drunk, having just shambled out of a bar; Jonas is still clutching a beer bottle. Jonas offers Mac and Zhang a beer from his fridge. Strangely, even though Jonas admits that he drinks too much, when he undergoes a physical on the ship, Jonas is determined to be in peak physical health. Since Jonas’ earlier binging never slows him down during action sequences, the message conveyed here is that excessive alcohol consumption has negligible side effects, which is not only inaccurate but potentially dangerous.

In the end, “The Meg” is a disappointing effort that feels more like a big budget Syfy channel movie than a major studio tentpole. Even when characters are face-to-face with the megalodon, the movie has a strange lack of peril. Still, “The Meg” delivers exactly what it promises… a summer popcorn flick that boasts a generous number of adrenalin-pumping chases and close calls with rows and rows or razor-sharp teeth.

So, will there be a “Meg 2” and, if so, how will they outdo the mega-shark in this film? Or, to put it a different way, how can you supersize a megalodon?

  • Violence: Very Heavy
  • Profane language: Moderately Heavy
  • Vulgar/Crude language: Moderately Heavy
  • Nudity: Moderate
  • Sex: None
  • Occult: None

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


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