I was wondering how long it would take for Steve Alten’s novel, Meg, to become a movie. I’ve always liked sharks, and Jaws is one of my top 10 movies of all time. In truth The Meg took a lot longer than I expected to see the light of day. Thanks to a US and Chinese co-production budget on the 16th August I finally had a chance to see it.
For those of you who haven’t read the book, or seen the trailers, The Meg is a movie about the ancestor of the great white shark, aptly named Megalodon (scientifically there is now large debate that the Megalodon is actually part of the extinct Otodontidae family). The movie does an decent job of explaining how you could go along for the two hour journey and believe a Megalodon could still exist (real teeth still wash up on shores quite frequently). The main difference is the size; instead of 25 feet (roughly the size of the shark in Jaws), a Megalodon did grow to around three times that size (75 feet, or approximately 25 metres).
So in the end we have a decent shark movie, that actually shows quite a bit of heart. The reason for this is a pretty decent script, and a great cast. I was actually impressed with the variety of casting, and how successful it ends up being. Jason Statham does a commendable job as Jonas, and does actually show off some decent acting during the movie. The supporting cast, including Cliff Curtis, BingBing Li and Ruby Rose also help give the film some gravitas, with a touch of light humour.
The Meg is actually inspired by Jaws (and other monster movies), and gives plenty of subtle nods to the Spielberg classic. It builds the tension, while not revealing the shark until part way through the movie. Overall the CGI is also impressive, despite the occasional low quality shot. I would have liked to have seen a couple more scale type shots, comparing a human to the giant fish swimming past, but there are a few and the Meg is hungry.
I have read both books (the extended and standard editions) and even though their have been some changes to the characters and situations, I understand and accept them. Some of the changes really work too, so the the script writers obviously did have a good think about how they could make it work better for cinema. On another note, if you haven’t seen a trailer yet, hold off on doing so. Just go and see the film; as with some movie trailers these days, it takes a bit of the bite out of the film.
This may not be the ultimate movie, but it is still damn good fun, with some touching moments. The story and pace are good, and the light humour is timely delivered during the tension. It is a good shark movie. I’d easily watch this again, because you don’t have to think too much, and simply provides escapist, solid entertainment.