The Meg

Year: 2018
Production Co: Apelles Entertainment
Studio: Warner Bros
Director: Jon Turtletaub
Producer: Lorenzo Di Bonaventura
Writer: Dean Georgaris/Jon Hoeber/Erich Hoeber/Steve Alten
Cast: Jason Statham, Binbbing Li, Rainn Wilson, Robert Taylor, Cliff Curtis, Ruby Rose

The trailer gave a lot of what was going to be in this movie away (CGI creature feature, Asian audience-targeted blockbuster), but the most interesting thing about it was what kind of tone it would have. As well as the elements you expect, the trailers made it seem like it was going to be partly a comedy.

It wasn't exactly funny, but hero Jason Statham as former dive rescue tech Jonas does a fair amount of mugging for the camera to keep it light, and the character of Morris (Rainn Wilson) – the billionaire who funds the undersea institute where a lot of the action takes place – is out and out comic relief.

Jonas is given A Past® in the opening scenes when he fails to save everyone on his crew from a crippled Russian submarine, leaving the business and becoming a recluse. Meanwhile, a team of scientists in the futuristic underwater research station is looking into the fabled bottom of a deep trench, investigation the theory that what humanity thought was the sea floor is only a topological barrier of silt that leads to a whole other undersea world with undiscovered life forms.

They send a submersible into the murky depths where they discover (and disturb) a whole new ecosystem – one element of which shows up on their radar as a huge, rapidly approaching shape. When it hits them and cripples the craft, time and oxygen are running out, and the mission commander aboard the station (Cliff Curtis) knows there's only one man alive who can get down there and get his people out, one of whom happens to be Jonas' ex wife.

Square-jawed Stath is bought aboard and sent down in another sub to get the stricken sailors out of the damaged craft, but something huge menaces them at the same time, and when they all get back to the station it's in the ocean with them – the prehistoric giant shark of the title. From there the race is on to find and destroy the monster before it finds and eats them or (as it does later) make its way to a crowded shoreline.

It's a movie tailor made for the late northern hemisphere summer mood it was released in – with a firm 50 percent score on the various aggregation services because critics can see it for the dross it is while the kids who went for blood, laughs and bikinis lapped it up. It's also the very model of a modern blockbuster machine tooled to play huge in Asian markets (and not just because of the token Asian stars, location, etc) and that's exactly what it did, making three quarters of it's half billion-dollar box office haul outside the US. Go with the intent and it will raise a smile and a gasp, which is all it aims to do for you.

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