The deepest part of our oceans is Marianas Trench. However, from the looks of things, there’s a cloud of hydrogen sulfide at the bottom, which has created a thermocline; basically, a water divider, and in this case, a very very cold one. An underwater research facility called Mana One manages to get a submarine of three people down, and it is revealed, yes, there is an entirely unknown ecosystem underneath what they thought was the end. But a strange force attacks them and knocks their communication, oxygen, circuitry, everything, into submission. But before being disconnected, one of the divers, Lori, says Jonas was right. Jonas Taylor, played by Jason Statham, is a former rescue diver, who is the only person in the world who has survived going 10,000 feet beyond the ocean surface. Jonas agrees to go back under, despite having had his credibility swamped five years prior after he decided to leave his two best friends underwater to die from an instinct and the pressure of a beast after them, and the doctor who disavowed him being a part of this experiment gone wrong. But him diving 11,000 feet, this time into the unknown, is only the beginning.
The movie is so aware that it’s just hoping to be fun that it has a cheerful Chinese rendition of an old song that was hip when my parents were teenagers as the main credit sequence, even though tons of people died. I mean, do we feel pure sadness with those that lost their lives because of this shark, and we will forever think thrice about even going near sand? Not really. Our current technology is efficient enough that if a megalodon were still out there in the ocean, unless we did what these characters do, one isn’t going to swim up to the beach and feast on our ribs. Because of a shark attack like this being a little implausible, it’s not quite as terrifying in the long run as Jaws. Maybe there’s also the fact Jaws was revolutionary, giving The Meg a disadvantage. But the pressure when the shark is out of sight is just enough for us to enjoy squirming in our seats as we wait for our stomachs to jump.
My favourite part of this movie actually wasn’t the shark. I liked the science idea. The deepest ocean point in the world perhaps being deeper because something’s potentially underneath the surface? To be fair, this was Steve Alten’s idea, not the filmmakers, but they kept it in the movie…so I guess I have to bring some points there. When we get to below that surface, the strange fish, plants and coral are all breathtaking. Still, if I were in that submarine with the three divers when it first all goes down, I’d be pissing my pants even before they get attacked. I’m terrified of sea creatures. They can easily sneak up on you, being sometimes invisible in the water, you’re in their terrain, and there are so many different ways they can bite or poison you. Oh, and by the way, there was also a giant squid in the film, but the megalodon is the only real threat here. I found that a little weird and wished they looked more at the idea of giant sea creatures.
Might as well get the bad out of the way. One story problem is how Taylor tries to prove the identity of The Meg after it supposedly attacked him five years ago, but the crew didn’t penetrate that hydrogen sulfide surface before. So was this a megaladon that had already escaped? The film never quite makes this clear, especially since if one did escape, it had five years of inactivity, and I think it’s a simple error on the writer’s part. The characters are for the most part disposable and the dialogue between them a little too disposable.
But…another thing I enjoyed was how uncertain I was of how much time had gone by in the film. There’s a supposed climax and then a feeling of finite, and then I looked back on everything that happened. I hoped there was a twist and there was. My hunger for a big underwater battle was met by the time the credits rolled for real. Also, this movie is so clearly inspired off of Jaws and in the trailer, it shows Statham about to push a button for something, with a very similar line to Brody’s, “Smile, you son of a-BOOM!” But they smartly twist that expected scene up. I also liked a scene involving Rainn Wilson’s character that not only brought a chuckle in an otherwise very tense night sequence, but gave us a surprise with a logical mixup.
I was going to give this movie a B, but the more I talk about it, the more I realize there are loads of memorable action sequences that I hope to see again soon. I mean, an indestructible pod not breaking, but being swallowed? Points for creativity there.