Steven Spielberg's Jaws read the temperature of the moment, and stamped it as cold, water-based fear. Likewise, Jeannot Szwarc's Jaws 2 made the fin as fearsome as ever. However, what was lacking in both productions were reliable, realistic and revolutionary shark effects. Zip forward to 2016 and Jaume Collet-Serra's The Shallows finally made it happen. Regarding Jon Turteltaub, he's a decent filmmaker. Note: I wish he would make another National Treasure. Meanwhile, his thriller The Meg adapts Steve Alten's stunning bestseller.
If I were predicting how The Meg might fare financially, I'd guess: sleeper hit. The film will probably make its $150 million investment back, yet a sequel seems unlikely, not to mention potentially self-destructive. Remember how Jaws 3-D and Jaws: The Revenge turned out? Sharks deserve better teeth.
Thinking about The Meg, a passive sensibility emerges. I enjoyed practically the whole picture, even when the sentimentality grew like a thorn on my nose. However, a lingering bias towards Jaws and The Shallows remains. Despite Turteltaub's project costing more than those two combined, I am left hollow.
Mostly, The Meg embraces every chance to be scary or suspenseful but it came out toothless. I blame editors Steven Kemper and Kelly Matumoto because they telegraph the bigger surprises, holding a beat or two longer than necessary. Think about Samuel L. Jackson's big moment in Deep Blue Sea, and you're in the right pond.
Much better than the film he's swimming around, Jason Statham oozes charisma. In fact, I'd consider a revisit just to watch him upstage some fins and human lunch boxes. He carries the novelty via transparency and likeability
(Released by Warner Bros./Gravity Pictures and rated “PG-13” for action-peril, bloody images and some language.)