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Tuesday 14 January 2020

Burl reviews The Meg! (2018)

Hello chums, it’s Burl, here to review a monster shark picture of recent vintage, The Meg! Ha ha, I have a friend who went out with a girl called Meg for a while, but I believe it ended badly, so I’m sure he never went to see this picture! Now that I’ve seen it, though, I can tell him that it’s not actually very scary at all, and that it has nothing whatever to do with his old flame Meg or her two monster dogs!
No, The Meg is a milquetoast assemblage of parts taken from other water-creature pictures! From Jaws we have an entire scene lifted: a boat, hooked onto the shark, is pulled backward and the winch boom is wrenched free and nearly crushes somebody! Ha ha, I was waiting for Robert Shaw to cry “She’s givin’ way!” Plus we have a child riding an inflatable who is in danger of a chomping, and a swimming dog named Pippin (not Pippet, as in Jaws); but unlike the Spielberg picture, both of these knock-offs survive the enormous icthyo’s depredations!
Plus, nicked from Jaws: The Revenge we have a scene with a banana boat pursued by the beast; from Deep Blue Sea we get a super-rich capitalistic shark enthusiast who catches an unexpected chomp, plus a bald black man who constantly expresses a desire to be somewhere other than where the shark is; and much of the first half of the picture is full of moments borrowed from the underwater epics of 1989: pictures like DeepStar Six, Leviathan and The Abyss! There are even references to The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou shoveled in there!
Much thought seems to have been put into the big shark’s origin, and why there would be a limited number of them! Underwater explorers have developed the theory that the bottom of the Mariana Trench is actually just a layer of cold water, below which is a whole other undersea world, populated by waterbugs, giant squids, megalodons and the like! Ha ha, it doesn’t make any scientific sense of course, but it was nice that they tried! A submarine complex populated by the kind of pan-global gang of professional misfits you find in movies funded by pan-global interests and intended for pan-global audiences runs into trouble when they unwittingly draw the toothy menace up from its usual habitat! Slapheaded action hero Jason Statham, well known from Ghosts of Mars, is called in initially to rescue the survivors of the Mariana expedition, but ultimately he must battle the beast with his fists and steely glare!
It’s all very slickly and internationally carried off, and so eager not to disturb that there’s hardly any sense of menace or suspense to be found in the thing at all! One fact I could hardly believe: there are three, count them three, scenes in which helicopters hover above the giant shark, and not once does it leap from the water to pull a copter down! I’m not sure if that counts as a victory or a defeat for the viewer, an omission or a triumph of thwarted expectations for the picture, but the fact that one assumes it will happen any time a helicopter rotor is heard tells you what kind of movie we’re dealing with! Ha ha!
It’s calculated and silly and harmless and airy, and possesses no virtues aside from briefly expressing disgust at the human tendency toward thoughtless destruction! Not nearly enough people are chewed up, and that the monster never trolls through the crowded beaches sucking up people like a whale feasting on krill counts as a major debit! I give The Meg one single severed arm, which is the only bit of gruesomeness this bland picture deigns to offer!


  1. Couldn’t agree more. Bland bland bland.

  2. Couldn’t agree more. Bland bland bland. Lots of squandered potential.

  3. Couldn’t agree more. Bland bland bland. Lots of squandered potential.

    1. Ha ha! I can tell you agree most heartily! And yes, what a missed opportunity this movie was!