“The Meg” review by Nate and Alex Blake

Nate:

“The Meg” is currently the worst movie I have seen in a theater. It probably won’t keep that title for long now that I have decided to see a lot more movies at the theater and write about them. Going into this film, I thought it might be bad in fun way, and in a way where everyone involved is aware that it is bad and that helps turn it into a fun experience. But to my disappointment, this film mostly takes itself seriously, and expects the audience to do so as well. The jokes don’t come from the film being incredibly ridiculous, like “Sharknado.” Instead, the jokes are just quips, and lame ones at that, and the rest of the film plays it mostly straight, including some really over the top slow motion and death scenes that are meant to be touching, but just fall flat.

I knew early on in this experience that the humor was not going to be great when a joke literally consisted of someone using the word “insertion” in a serious matter, and one of the guys sitting behind her started giggling because she said “insertion.” I wish I was making that up, but I’m not.

Opportunities for laughs are missed throughout as the film tries to force us to care about people who eventually die, but doesn’t develop them enough for us to care before they are fatally wounded. It tries to make up for this flaw with slow motion, fades to white and some really sad music. There is also an incredibly forced and weak attempt at a romance, and a drawn out sequence on a boat that in compressed time hits nearly every plot point of the last hour of “Jaws” without humor or sense of parody.

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Some scenes play out as almost shot for shot recreations of “Jaws” sequences but with updated technology and cardboard characters. They put a tracker on the beast, someone gets talked into going into a shark cage, and the beast ends up jumping into and destroying the boat. I did not want to go into this film and compare it to “Jaws.” I was not expecting anything near that level. It has forced me to compare it to “Jaws,” and that is never a wise choice for any animal attack movie to make unless it wants to make fun of itself. Aside from quips, these scenes aren’t constructed that way.

The last fifteen minutes of the film do provide some of the crazy, ridiculous, funny animal attack nonsense I signed up for, but it’s nowhere near enough to save this experience for me.

On a final note, the editing is terrible. The Razzies don’t have technical categories, but I wish they would invent a Worst Editing category in time for this to be the inaugural winner. Even without that category though, everyone involved should brace themselves. I see a lot of Razzies coming this film’s way.

Alex:

You know when you have very low expectations for an experience and then that experience defies your expectations in the worst way possible? Yeah, that is the best way to describe the viewing experience of this film. I was hoping “The Meg” would be a nice stupid shark movie with some good laughs. The biggest flaw in this film though is that it takes itself way too seriously. There were several moments in this film where I was just waiting for a good joke or punch line and it just never happened. The script was downright cringeworthy. There were so many lines that fell flat, were unnecessary, or were so terribly written that I couldn’t believe this film made $45 million dollars in its first weekend.

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I can deal with a terrible script if the plot or acting is good enough to make up for it. But, that just was not the case. The best performance of this film was by an eight year old girl (Shuya Sophia Cai). There were some badass characters, mainly Jaxx, played by Ruby Rose, that were just not used well. I will say, the film did have a diverse cast. However, the one black character was written as a very stereotypical film trope. He was used only for comic relief and the jokes made at his expense were at times racist. It would have been nice if the women of the cast had actually spoken to each other too, but maybe I am just asking for too much. The only thing that could have saved this film is if Jason Statham had sucker punched the shark.

For a film that could have been visually stunning, this is just yet another failure in this film. The editing of the film left a lot to be desired. The only shot that I found to be memorable was a rip off from “Jaws.” The one saving grace was the last fifteen minutes of the film where they finally defeat the shark. It was reminiscent of earlier shark movies without being a shot for shot remake.  Overall, the editing and cinematography in this film left a lot to be desired.

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I have never been closer to walking out of a theatre mid-movie as I was during “The Meg.” For a film with a strong female character (Bingbing Li), it was disappointing to see her used as an underdeveloped love interest for Jason Statham. Somewhere, at some point, probably before the script was written there was hope for this film. All hope is lost though the moment the title sequence flashes across the screen.

 

 

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