By MIA ARANDA
What makes “The Meg” stand out from other thrill-packed shark movies? “The Meg” focuses on not just any ordinary shark, but a prehistoric 75 foot Megalodon shark thought to have been extinct 2.6 million years ago. This is considerably larger than a Great White, like the one from “Jaws,” which usually measure no more than 21 feet. Bigger shark, scarier movie. The film is rated PG-13 for action and peril, some profanity, and bloody images, but practically all shark movies have action and almost always sanguinary scenes.
“The Meg” is actually based on the science fiction book “Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror” by Steve Alten. Directed by Jon Turteltaub, the film’s cast includes the exceptional action star, Jason Statham, known for his role in “The Transporter” trilogy and in the “Fast and the Furious” franchise, as well as many other successful movies. The film also features Rainn Wilson, famed for his role of Dwight Schrute on The Office and Chinese star Li Bingbing well-known for her role in “Seventeen Years.”
Asides from focusing on the shark, the movie centers around a rescue diver named Jonas Taylor, played by Statham. Taylor had once been a professional rescue diver but after five years of inactivity he is called back when he hears about a group of scientists trapped at the bottom of the Mariana Trench after their mission goes wrong. For this reason, he travels down to the Mariana Trench to assist those trapped, but encounters the bloodthirsty Megalodon shark. Thereafter, the movie revolves around the objective to kill the Megalodon shark.
Statham did a noteworthy job as the lead despite his too-serious personality. He could have been more entertaining, which is why Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson should have starred in this action role instead, purposely to add more comedic relief. Johnson’s performances in “Jumanji:Welcome to the Jungle” and “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island” clearly serve as an example of one of his qualities and goals when acting: to make people laugh in do-or-die situations. Johnson and Statham should have switched roles in their summer movies with Johnson as Jonas Taylor in “The Meg” and Statham as Will Sawyer in “Skyscraper.”
Like most summer movies, the film length, nearly two hours, is a reasonable time and the suspense keeps you on the edge of your seat. Like Steven Spielberg’s “Jaws,” there is a predictable connection between character development and death (this is not a spoiler alert as a shark film without any deaths would be more shocking than an attack).
On the other hand, this film is totally different due to the type of shark, which plays a huge role in the film’s originality. Although “Jaws” and “The Meg” both have the same plot, to kill the shark, the Megalodon is the largest shark ever recorded, and has an even more distinguished reputation as a predator.
Most shark movies debut in the summer to appeal to beach-goers. “The Meg,” which debuted in theaters on Aug. 10, received significantly higher ticket sales due to this factor. I highly recommend this film to those who haven’t seen it, as it is highly entertaining and is quite different from most shark films.