“The Meg”: another bland and uninspired shark flick

George Ibarra/Staff Writer

If the shark movie genre had rotted away with the release of Joe Alves’ “Jaws 3D,” audiences might’ve been blessed with the nonexistence of Jon Turteltaub’s “The Meg.” As yet another bland, uninspired and predictable attempt to cash in on both the legacy of “Jaws” and the undeserved success of Syfy’s “Sharknado” series, “The Meg” is an utter waste of time and money.

In “The Meg,” our story follows a group of scientists who believe the bottom of the Mariana Trench is a layer of thick clouds that obscures a deeper area of unexplored ocean. However, chaos ensues when our protagonists’ research takes them face to face with a long-thought extinct terror of the deep: a giant shark known as the Megalodon.

In the years following the release of the dreadfully unenjoyable “Sharknado” films, there’s been an increased demand for cheesy, shark-themed monster flicks that might be labeled as “so bad, it’s good.” In this respect, “The Meg” succeeds in stumbling past this impressively low standard.

Unlike the “Sharknado” franchise, the director of the “National Treasure” films has left a minimal amount of goofy moments sprinkled throughout “The Meg,” giving a few drops of humor to those audiences thirsty for nonsense.

However, “The Meg” as a film suffers from its confused identity. Some scenes make the film feel like a rescue movie, while others showcase flat out monster movie destruction, and even still, there’s many scenes that feel like hollow imitations of Steven Spielberg’s “Jaws.”

For a film set on delivering on the chaos and destruction brought by a gargantuan shark, the stakes presented are low. For instance, the Megalodon chooses to swallow its victims whole, leaving this movie bereft of blood and gore. When the supposedly mindless and monstrous shark behaves like this, who’s to say you can’t just cut open the Megalodon and save all those swallowed people at the end of the film like in “Sharknado”?

There are rare occasions when “The Meg” seems to give a glimmer of self-awareness in just how dumb its story, action and characters are. But it’s clear that the writers of this film actively pursued these moments to excuse this movie’s poor quality. Apparently making a self-aware nod or two is enough to justify cinema shlock as “biting satire,” even if the rest of the film contradicts this interpretation in both its story and tone.

With how many effortlessly dull shark films continue to be produced in the shadow of “Jaws,” I find it difficult to believe that these movies are making a profit from anyone aside from masochists like myself. At nearly two hours long, there’s not enough humor or absurdity to make drudging through “The Meg” worth anyone’s time.

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