Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, there’s a new shark movie in town. Will it haunt your dreams? Will it traumatize your childhood? Will it make you terrified to ever swim in open water again? Probably not. But if you’re looking for a badass action hero shark movie, I’d like to introduce you to The Meg.
If you’re the parent of a little boy, you’ll probably already know that “The Meg” is short for megalodon. If that still means nothing to you, you should know that the megalodon was the largest shark species to ever exist. In fact, its teeth were about the size of your hand. But no worries. The megalodon lived over 20 millions years ago and has been extinct for a long, long time.
Or so we thought.
Honestly, ever since my son became obsessed with sharks, he’s become equally obsessed with the idea that there are a few megalodons that escaped extinction. And he’s not alone. A quick Google search comes up with headlines like:
Now take an outrageous story like a gigantic prehistoric shark lurking in the deepest parts of the ocean and add some hot chicks and a bald man with an accent and you’ve got the makings of one great action movie.
The Meg opens with an introduction to our hero, Jonas, played by the tough but likable man’s man, Jason Statham. He’s a deep sea rescuer that has to make tough decisions that affect the people he rescues and the people he leaves behind. But on his last mission, he saw something down there that he can’t explain and no one will believe him. So he retires to Thailand where he wastes away his days until…
Enter billionaire Jack Morris, played by Rainn Wilson (Dwight from The Office). He’s funded a super expensive marine research station off the coast of China and when he stops by to see how his money is doing, something goes horribly wrong.
I don’t think I’ll spoil anything by telling you that a rather large shark has somehow been discovered and has made its way, after millions of years, to the upper levels of the Pacific Ocean. It’s the megalodon and it’s apparently pretty pissed off. We’re not sure why he attacks things. Sometimes it’s attracted to light or noise or splashing or blood. Or sometimes it just likes to bite things like boats and aquariums. And of course, we need our hero, Jonas, to come and save the day.
I won’t be the first to tell you that this movie is heavily influenced by Jaws and by Jurassic Park. But I couldn’t help but be reminded of Die Hard except the diabolical terrorist is played by a giant shark instead of Alan Rickman.
The story is somewhat predictable. (Come on, it’s a shark movie. It attacks. They fight back. People die). The “I’ll-save-the-day” antics of our hero are a little over the top. I mean, would you jump in the water with a giant shark? And many of the scenes are full of Oh, yeah right moments. BUT…
It totally works. This is a fun throwback to the action hero movies of the 80s. Because Jason Statham isn’t just an action star. He’s a hero. He’s not afraid of anything and will do whatever it takes to save just about anyone. As an audience member, I’m gasping, yelping, jumping out of my seat, cringing, and cheering him on. It was the summer movie I’ve been waiting for. The story was fun. The acting was great. And the directing by Jon Turteltaub kept it totally believable even when it shouldn’t have been.
If you’re thinking about going, have fun with it. Go see it on the IMAX screen if you can and take the older kids. Yes, people die and there’s blood but you won’t find anything exceptionally gory. And you’ll walk away smiling about what a good time you just had at the movies.