• 25 Aug - 31 Aug, 2018
  • Mohammad Kamran Jawaid
  • Reviews

In The Meg a Megalodon – a giant, ancient and very much extinct member of the Shark family – escapes its secluded natural habitat, thanks to humanity’s craving to explore the dark depths of the ocean. What transpires next is the stuff that blockbuster-of-the-weeks are made of.

But before you go off making assumptions – or imagine the movie as an unintelligible, cheesy, low-budget actioner like Sharkanado – marry the image of Jaws and Jurassic Park, and think of The Meg as their legitimate child.

See… it already looks better by association.

Adapted from Steve Alten’s novel by Dean Geogaris, Jon and Eric Hoeber, (produced by Lorenzo Di Bonaventura, Colin Wilson, Belle Avery, Ken Atchity), the threadbare plot is – wait for it – a perfect representation of what blockbusters were (and should be) made of. A series of tightly paced, galvanising action set-pieces that are interjected with small but appropriate moments of backstories, before something extravagant (and loud), puts people in peril.

Jason Stratham is picture-perfect as the conscious-stricken, almost-drunk, deep-sea rescuer who gives up alcohol and a life of seclusion in Thailand to save a team of stranded deep-sea explorers that includes his ex-wife (Jessica McNamee) and two nerdy-buddies (Ólafur Darri Ólafsson and Masi Oka). The mission is one of many Strathams’ character ends up saving.

Bingbing Li, her on-screen daughter Sophia Cai (the obligatory child of this genre), Page Kennedy (the straight-talking man of colour, also an antiquated prerequisite of the genre), Cliff Curtis, Winston Chow and Ruby Rose round-off the crew financed by a billionaire played by Rainn Wilson.

Jon Turteltaub’s hiring is a good-call that shapes up the movie’s tone (his filmography includes: National Treasure, its sequel, Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Instinct and Phenomenon).

Turteltaub’s experience balances good-looking visual effects with a not-too-fast not-too-slow pace, and omits unnecessary bits of emotionally-weighty scenes, which this type of film doesn’t need in bulk.

The movie, instead, focuses on its principal worry: to make sure that the audience doesn’t feel cheated by the price of the 3D ticket.•