Try To Reel This One In

The Meg
Stars: Jason Statham, Li  Bingbing, Rainn Wilson, Ruby Rose, Cliff Curtis, Shuya Sophia Cai, Page Kennedy, Robert Taylor, Olafur  Darri  Olafsson, Jessica McNamee and Masi Oka
Director: Jon Turteltaub
Scriptwriters: Dean Georgaris, Jon Hoeber and Erich Hoeber from the novel “Meg” by Steve Alten
Composer: Harry Gregson-Williams
Cinematography: Tom Stern
Warner Brothers
Rating: PG 13 for violence
Running Length: 114 minutes 

Those among you who are fans of action star Jason Statham, know that he is usually in a spy thriller with dangerous stunts and car chases. This time around, Statham leaves land and air for water, and goes deep into ocean depths in search of a killer “something” that is lurking out there ready to pounce on boats and devour. This script has many holes in it, but it also has several action sequences and under water photography to whet your whistle for the upcoming “Aquaman” with Jason Momai. In “The Meg,” Statham is dealing with a shark that lived millions of years ago. In the spirit of the “Jurassic Park” stories, this shark (a megalodon) shouldn’t be alive today, but it has been, due to an oddity in the ocean bottom, several miles below the surface of the ocean. When man investigates you know what will happen next---disaster. 

The story has Statham living in Thailand and keeping away from anything resembling an ocean rescue, due to an unfortunate mishap years before in which he lost part of a crew. Currently, Rainn Wilson (using a dry sense of humor) is a wealthy businessman financing research on the ocean bottom, presumably to find something to make him more money. In the meantime, his group discovers that a part of the ocean bottom is covered with a false bottom and under that could be life that hasn’t been discovered yet. Wow…a Park under the sea? It is at this time that people and underwater vessels start disappearing or need rescuing, so Statham is called into play. The action begins with search and rescue (the lady pilots always have perfect make-up) and proving that the accident that plagued Statham through the years could have been caused by the “something” now causing all this havoc. Just as in the “Jurassic Park” films, there is a child (Shuya Sophia Cai) involved here, who is smarter than many of the crew. The electronics are as much a part of the story as the people, but computer keyboards can’t do everything. 

Scenes will remind you of other films. There is the beach scene (“Jaws,”), helicopters (“Jaws” and “Jurassic Park,”) and even a reminder from “Moby Dick.”  Statham proves himself to be the action star, taking command, and with two brave people with him, Suyin (Li Bingbing) and Mac (Cliff Curtis), he has his team.  Just when you think the film will end, there is another moment of action. Creatures can hide in ocean waves as animals can hid behind trees in forest and camouflage is everything. Would you believe a plastic shark cage? 

“The Meg” is doing well at the box office, and I think it is because of the underwater action and the “Jurassic Park” idea of dealing with something prehistoric. Special effects are fairly good.  “In Jurassic Park,” you got a glimpse of a giant fish, but here, there is plenty of time to observe this fearsome one and think of what else might live on the ocean bottom…the real bottom, that is, and is there even one beneath that one? 


Copyright 2018 Marie Asner