Ever since I started seeing previews for The Meg weeks and weeks ago, I couldn’t help but mentally replay Lois Griffin from Family Guy screaming her daughter’s name. I don’t know why. But it had all the teeth-grinding incessancy of a bad song getting stuck in your head. As the marketing campaign amped up, Alex Borstein’s nasally, gravelly delivery continued to play on a loop.
I even made a Photoshop in the hopes that the simple act would get it out of my head. Which it didn’t.
— Christian Long (@cuneform) July 27, 2018
See? It’s got the hashtag and everything.
Anyway, now that I’ve actually seen The Meg (and about 6 commercials for it while I’m writing this), this phenomenon still hasn’t gone away. A remarkable testament to the utterly unremarkable cinematic construction that is The Meg.
The script, credited to Dean Georgaris, Jon Hoeber, and Erich Hoeber, has all the earmarks of being written by a committee. The Meg even has three distinct plot lines that run through its nearly two-hour runtime.
The first one is a deep sea rescue in a newly discovered trench at the bottom of the ocean floor, courtesy of a deep sea research lab built by billionaire Jack Morris (Rainn Wilson). The second is a prehistoric shark-hunting exhibition in open water with (mostly) the same crew. By the time the third story rolls around, which is another prehistoric shark hunt but with tourists, some of the lesser-billed cast members have been phased out for dramatic purposes.
Despite director Jon Turtletaub’s competency at the helm, the constantly shifting storyline seemed like an anxious attempt to keep re-upping the stakes. And the improbable scenarios that go along with them.
There is some genuinely entertaining banter between Jonas (Jason Statham), the lantern-jawed diving expert who’s seen it all before (even The Meg) and Mac (Chris Curtis), which is all that’s given the space to breathe. Jack, on the other hand, seems to alternate motivations from cluelessly arrogant billionaire to maliciously arrogant billionaire. Wilson seems to have fun in every scene he’s in, but when strung together I couldn’t tell if I was really root against him or just kinda rooting against him.
Obviously, no one’s going to The Meg expecting some Oscar-caliber masterpiece (although, anything’s possible with The Academy’s Most Popular Movie award). The reality is that it’s too well-made to be trashy, but too trashy to be objectively good.
P.S. The shark was ample.
The Meg opens in theaters nationwide this weekend