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Film Review: The Meg
Jack Bottomley, Media Correspondent
Nearly 45 years ago Steven Spielberg made a film about a shark and in the process broke the box office, created a number of sub-genres and birthed the summer blockbuster as we know it. Naturally, saying Jaws was a film just about a shark is a massive oversimplification but it is the apex predator of the ‘shark movie’ pool and has inspired countless other cinematic terrors of the deep to surface. To that point, The Meg – based on the novel by Steve Alten – is the next film to take audiences somewhere beneath the sea.

The Meg sees wrongly disgraced deep-sea rescue diver Jonas Taylor (Statham), brought back into this line of work, when a high tech research facility team need his help after they encounter something prehistoric, nasty and huge in the nadirs of the previously unexplored ocean.

It will come as no surprise that The Meg is exactly what it says on the tin: a big, action-packed display of Megalodon vs. Statham. What does surprise is how well the film has a welcome embrace of its own silliness; some genuinely seat edge set pieces and a much welcome stance against the repulsive shark fin and whaling industry. It may lack the depth (so to speak) of Jaws, the tautness of The Shallows and The Reef but it matches up nicely with nature attacks features like Renny Harlin’s Deep Blue Sea or Luis Llosa’s Anaconda.

The action is cinematorium rattling, Harry Gregson-Williams’ score strikes the appropriate balance of explosion and intensity, the effects are rather superb and unlike disasters like Geostorm, The Meg knows precisely what its audience wants and delivers. Also, despite fears that the film may wind up like the neutered Shark Night 3D, the 12a age rating does not dilute proceedings that much despite initially being envisioned as an R-Rated project.

Also by Jack Bottomley...
Venom
Johnny English Strikes Again
The Predator
Mission Accomplished!
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Of course it is preposterous on many levels but reviews damning it on those grounds is kind of asinine, as this is surely what everybody was expecting isn’t it? The plot progression is familiar to those raised on films like the aforementioned, as are some of the character constructions and atypical genre conventions (although this film’s ‘dog in peril’ moment is a particularly good one), not to mention moments of cheesy dialogue. Despite this, The Meg gets away with its faults as a film because of its strength as entertainment. Much like this years monster movie Rampage, everyone knows what they are making and Turteltaub may as well be winking at you in the corner of the screen as he ticks off your expectations to serve up his enormously enjoyable display of aquatic mayhem.

Statham is on point, with his much loved “don’t cross me” screen presence and a rugged charisma, while there are some fun supporting acts dotted throughout, especially by young Shuya Sophia. Though it is really the Megaladon you are here for and it’s introduction is chills-worthy and gratifying, as are its clashes with one of modern cinemas best action stars across some boat breaking action sequences, which pay playful reference to other killer fish movie brethren.

The Meg is Jaws by way of Deep Blue Sea with the toothy knowing ridiculousness of Piranha 3D – only with the nudity and gore swapped for the badassery of ‘the Stath’.

It’s not rocket science but it is Meg-a fun tale of man once again unleashing what nature has kept secure, that delivers on all promises made.

The Meg (12a)
Director: John Turteltaub
Starring: Jason Statham, Li Bingbing, Rainn Wilson, Ruby Rose
Release Date: 10th August

Film Review: The Meg, 10th August 2018, 8:01 AM