REVIEW: ‘The Meg’ falls flat, even if it has a few life lessons
“The Meg” opens this weekend, telling the story of a group of scientists who accidentally stumble upon a megalodon. But is it OK for tweens? And is it any good?
Jonas Taylor is a middle-aged man who is enjoying the easy life in Thailand – a country where he doesn’t have to worry about underwater rescues or that huge, 70-foot man-eating megashark he saw years ago.
No one believed him then, but they do now. That’s because a trio of marine biologists who were on a research mission to the deepest depths of the ocean were attacked by a sea creature they had never seen. Even worse, their miniature sub was disabled, and they have only a few hours of oxygen left before they perish.
Taylor is being recruited to rescue the scientists and get them to the surface before they run out of oxygen – and before they’re attacked again by the mysterious monster. Can he do it?
The Meg (PG-13) opens this weekend, telling the story of a group of scientists who accidentally stumble upon a megalodon — a species of shark they thought went extinct years ago and is so big that it can kill a whale.
It stars Jason Statham (The Fate of the Furious) as Taylor; Bingbing Li (Transformers: Age of Extinction) as a female scientist named Suyin; and Rainn Wilson (The Office) as a billionaire named Morris.
According to the plot, megalodons have lived underwater for ages – 2 million if you believe the film – but were set free when scientists were searching for a section of the ocean that’s never been explored.
They then must find a way to stop the megalodon before it eats people and panics the population.
The Meg is one of those summer action movies that I wanted (and expected) to like, but didn’t. The plot is thin, slow and predictable, and the action lackluster. Perhaps we should blame Jaws, which set a high bar for every other shark movie that followed. I think a movie about a megalodon could have worked, but this one didn’t.
Warning: minor/moderate spoilers!
(Scale key: none, minimal, moderate, extreme)
Moderate. The meg eats people – lots of people. But it remains non-gory, and we don’t see any limbs floating in the water. We also experience several tense dark underwater scenes with the megalodon.
Minimal. We hear a lame joke about “sex” and “insertion.” We see Taylor wearing only a towel and talking to Taylor, who likes him. We see people in swimsuits on the beach.
Moderate. About 24 coarse words: h-ll (9), OMG (4), d—n (4), a—es 2, misuse of “Jesus” (1), s—t (1), b—ard (1), SOB 1, GD 1. We also wear the actual word “a-hole” once.
Other Positive Elements
The mother-daughter bond between Suyin and her elementary-aged girl is touching. They watch out for one another.
Other Stuff You Might Want To Know
Characters drink beer.
The Meg provides lessons on self-sacrifice (Taylor and Suyin), redemption (Taylor), living life with regret (Taylor), and having the right perspective on your accomplishments and mistakes (Taylor). (See below.) We also hear a scientist say in the film, “We did what people always do – discover and destroy.” That alone is worth discussing.
Years ago, Jonas Taylor had helped lead a botched rescue mission that resulted in several deaths. Yes, many people got out alive, but he only thinks about the men who didn’t make it. In fact, he says he thinks about it every day. Then he is given a chance to rescue the scientists. He also meets Suyin, who tells him, “It’s not about the people you lose. It’s about the people you save.” Taylor gains a new perspective on life while also taking advantage of his second chance.
The Apostle Paul told the church at Philippi that he forgets “what lies behind” and strains “forward to what lies ahead” (Philippians 3:13-14). That’s good advice for the Christian who is tempted to live life with regret. The Meg reminds us of that biblical lesson, even as we watch people run away from a scary, giant shark.
The filmmakers take their time showing us the shark; instead, we hears bumps on the submarine and see the consequences of the meg’s power. The beauty of the deep sea is enjoyable, too.
Any movie that seems like a “new and improved” Jaws is tough to enjoy. Jaws won three Academy Awards. Also, the characters in the movie take actions that are nothing short of stupid.
- Taylor is told, “It’s not about the people you lose. It’s about the people you save.” Does that logic apply to anything in your life, too?
- Biblically, what should we do when we’re living life with regret?
- Does God want us to look forward in life or look backwards? Or a little of both?
- Name a biblical story where someone was falsely accused.
Entertainment rating: 2 out of 5 stars. Family-friendly rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars.
Rated PG-13 for action/peril, bloody images and some language.