“I can’t even remember any of the deaths from the movie…”
‘Don’t show the shark’ has been an anecdote in the film industry since the release of Jaws in 1975. It is in reference to Steven Spielberg’s reliance on suspense and characters as opposed to gratuitous shots of an impressive animatronic. This decision wasn’t truly his (there were issues with the robo-shark during filming), but he made the best out of a bad situation and also created a benchmark for all horror films to come. I had always lived and died by that saying, critiquing movies for it and implementing it in my own writing alike, but yesterday I learned a valuable lesson. If your movie is about a shark, and you are not Steven Spielberg, show the fucking shark.
The Meg is not the kind of movie that you watch for the characters or the story, but strangely the movie didn’t understand this. Forty minutes. That’s how long The Meg took to show you what you came to see: a giant shark. Not only was I disappointed by this fact, but unfortunately even a giant prehistoric shark couldn’t save this sinking ship. Though the action scenes were pretty cool, and some of the dialogue was just campy enough to get a chuckle, these moments were few and far between. What we were instead left with was a terribly boring, very generic shark movie sans-shark.
Jaws worked so well becasue it made you care about the characters that were hunting the shark. You grew attached, and that made every scene with them more impactful than the last. With The Meg there isn’t much to get attached to. Movies like this don’t understand that sometimes audiences just want to have fun and watch a shark eat bunch of stuff. Don’t try to be the next Jaws becasue it’s not going to happen. Play to your strengths, and the strengths of The Meg were giant sharks. Unfortunately this was forgotten very early on.
I will admit that I enjoyed the climax of the movie, the “final fight” if you will, but the problem is that it came too late to save it. The entire movie had built up these characters and spent so long focusing on their bland stories and relationships that by the time of the climax of the movie everything felt rushed. It felt like the filmmakers were desperately trying to wrap things up as quickly as possible, but what was weird about that was the timing. The Meg had just spent over an hour dragging its feet only to rush out an ending? It was bizarre to witness.
Overall The Meg is a giant disappointment. I can’t even remember any of the deaths from the movie, and that says all you need to know.
I give The Meg a D