It is becoming a regular occurrence both in the cinema and on DVD to see shark films, be it a parody film or one with a more serious, but comedy narrative, as is the case with The Meg.
Released in cinemas nationwide on 10th August, the film had every chance to become the next Jaws, however, it does not reach that level of cinematic engagement.
One thing it does do is pay homage to, and in certain ways, parody, scenes from Jaws, Jaws 2, Jaws 3 and Deep Blue Sea when the Megalodon, which, over 2.5 million years ago was the largest predator in the oceans, attacks beachgoers, an underwater laboratory and boats.
As the shark approaches the beach, a woman and child are on the beach; the boy asks his Mum if he can go back out on the water with his inflatable. His mother first refuses, then allows him to go. This scene homages the same scene when Alex Kintner goes back into the sea with his lilo.
Further adaptations include the cage dive to kill the shark; the Megalodon attacks the plastic cage which in turn damages the winch and crane onboard the boat. This scene is filmed in exactly the same way as the one in Jaws when Hooper’s cage is attacked and the gantry collapses.
The acting is not perfect, and the title of the film is mentioned numerous times and for no specific reason, also the shark attacks are nothing special, which appears to be because it was a 12A, however, Jaws was a PG and 12A and featured more realistic shark attacks.
The CGI effects of the massive shark are very good; however, the cast doesn’t really interact with the shark as it always appeared to be from distance, apart from on the odd occasion when they were in the submarines, which were very well filmed scenes.
Overall it was a good film and entertaining even if some of the acting was not perfect and the interactions between people and the shark were not focused on with detail. From what I could tell, all the shark footage was computer generated with possible live footage, however, very unlikely, with real sharks.
The young Chinese actress was very good, and the interactions between her and Jason Statham were funny and gained laughs in the audience. Additionally, laughs occurred when the little dog went swimming and saw the shark. The dog swimming references Jaws in that it was called Pippin, the dog in Jaws was called Pippit.
Thankfully the writers didn’t focus on a relationship between Statham and Bingbing Li who played Jonas Taylor and Suyin respectively.
The film was a co – Chinese – American production by Gravity Pictures and distributed by Warner Brothers. The latter needed this to be a good film considering how poor Deep Blue Sea 2 was, and, in my opinion, the film is enjoyable, and a good addition to the growing list of shark films.
The one serious topic seems very contradictory in the first 40 minutes of the film and that scene is when the Chinese actor shows his disgust at killing sharks by cutting off the fins then dumping them back in the water, which regularly occurs in China and Japan. This could also be seen as positive in its highlight of the problem in the country and that killing sharks by the thousands, which in turn can damage the state of the oceans due to them being the main predator, is not a good thing.
Sharks gain a bad reputation from the media and film, however, they should not be, as close encounters are rare, and deaths certainly are. They are fantastic animals and should be appreciated for their beauty, elegance and power.
The Meg is well worth seeing, and I recommend it to moviegoers. I give it 3 out of 5 for fun; it is also a jump scare film as you never know where the shark will appear from.
The Meg is out now in all cinemas across the UK.