Film

Movie review: 'The Meg'

Even with modern CGI, monster shark thriller still flops around like a fish out of water

By Rick Romancito
tempo@taosnews.com
Posted 8/20/18

A movie like “The Meg” doesn’t come along often, and when it does you might wish you could somehow un-see Steven Spielberg’s “Jaws,” so it could be new all over again.

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Film

Movie review: 'The Meg'

Even with modern CGI, monster shark thriller still flops around like a fish out of water

Posted

A movie like “The Meg” doesn’t come along often, and when it does you might wish you could somehow un-see Steven Spielberg’s “Jaws,” so it could be new all over again.

It’s probably unfair to compare the two movies because Spielberg’s ultra-bitey classic just can’t be beat. But, the reason isn’t how Spielberg’s cantankerous mechanical prop nicknamed “Bruce” was so well-used. It was because he streamlined Robert Benchley’s novel into a modern-day “Moby Dick” quest, with Robert Shaw as a growly Ahab hunting down an aquatic alpha predator with a creaky boat, a small-town sheriff and a mouthy oceanographer.

As with all great movies, though, it all comes down to story, which is where “The Meg” develops some serious leaks in its hull.

Loosely based upon the sci-fi novel series by Steve Alten, the movie centers on the discovery of a Carcharodon megalodon, the largest marine predator that ever existed, at the bottom of the Marianas Trench in the western Pacific Ocean. This ancient relative of the great white, is a 70-foot monster of a shark, kind of a living kaiju without the folklore.

It is barely glimpsed during an opening sequence in which a deep-sea rescue attempt goes horribly wrong, resulting in the deaths of several people. Leading that rescue five years previous was Jonas Taylor (Jason Statham), who found himself faced with a captain’s worst nightmare and now drowns his sorrows in a Pacific hideaway.

Nobody believed his story that something huge and predatory caused that disaster, but now Jonas is the first name suggested to a wealthy industrialist (Rainn Wilson) when a research submersible is trapped in the same region, where a huge state-of-the-art research facility has been built beneath what appears to be an old oil rig. The mini-sub crew also happens to include Jonas’ ex-wife (Jessica McNamee).

As it turns out, Jonas regains his credibility and respect as the result of subsequent rescues and close scrapes while also moving on in his personal life by attracting the attention of a pretty researcher named Suyin (Bingbing Li), who is on the rig with her cutie-pie daughter Meiying (Shuya Sophia Cai). Then, in one of several lulls in the story, we discover another Meg, an even bigger one, is heading toward a beach cove full of splashing vacationers.

Director Jon Turtletaub, who has done more plot-driven fare such as “Phenomenon” and the two “National Treasure” movies, could easily have pared this story down to reflect some sort of epic allegory. I mean the main guy’s name is Jonas, and he does kinda get swallowed at one point, but instead, the story moves in fits and computer-generated imaging starts.

It’s like a manga by someone who loves doing big action set pieces but has no clue what to do when human beings actually have to speak to one another.

At least in this movie, the good guys have a bigger boat.

“The Meg” is rated PG-13 for action/ peril, bloody images and some language.

It is showing daily at Mitchell Storyteller Theatres, 110 Old Talpa Cañon Road. For show times, tickets and additional information, call (575) 751-4245 or visit storyteller7.com.

Also showing in Taos

The following was compiled from press materials.

The Atomic Café

MPAA rating: Not rated

Movies at the TCA


This is a new 4K (4,000 pixels) restoration (in 2016 the film was selected for preservation in the United States’ National Film Registry by the Library of Congress) with no narration other than that provided by historical clips.

It justly states how ludicrous the idea of nuclear war was, and is. The producers spent years going through declassified governmental film archives to find some of the most chilling – and hilarious – footage ever taken. Loved the clip of the guy who invented a lead-lined suit, put it on his son, and then had him try to ride a bike. It’s propaganda on propaganda and highly entertaining.

This documentary will be screened at 2 p.m. Sunday (Aug. 19) and at 7 p.m. Monday through Wednesday (Aug. 20-22).

Movies at the TCA, Taos Community Auditorium, 145 Paseo del Pueblo Norte. For tickets and additional information, call (575) 758-2052 or visit tcataos.org.

Dog Days

MPAA rating: PG for rude and suggestive content, and for language

Mitchell Storyteller Theatres


Elizabeth (Nina Dobrev) is a charming anchorwoman who seeks advice from her dog’s therapist. Tara (Vanessa Hudgens) is a spunky barista who dreams of a life beyond the coffee shop. Daisy (Lauren Lapkus) is a dog walker who’s enamored of a client. Garrett (Jon Bass) pines for a woman while trying to keep his adopt-a-dog business afloat. The beloved canines in their lives soon start to influence their careers, friendships and romantic relationships in funny and unexpected ways.

Directed by Ken Marino, this comedy film co-stars Finn Wolfhard, Eva Longoria, Rob Corddry, and Tig Notaro.

This film will be screened daily.

Mitchell Storyteller Theatres, 110 Old Talpa Cañon Road. For show times, tickets and additional information, call (575)751-4245 or visit storyteller7.com.

Slender Man

MPAA rating: PG-13 for disturbing images, sequences of terror, thematic elements and language including some crude sexual references.

Mitchell Storyteller Theatres


Directed by Sylvain White, “Slender Man” is based upon the urban legend of mysterious beings who appear as tall, thin featureless men wearing black suits who are responsible for the haunting and disappearance of countless children and teens.

The fictional supernatural character originated as a creepypasta internet meme created by Something Awful website user Eric Knudsen in 2009. The character achieved notoriety after two teen girls were stabbed by a classmate who claimed to be told to do so by the online Slender Man.

The film stars Joey King, Julia Goldani Telles, and Annalise Basso in a tale set in Massachusetts about a group of friends who set out to prove The Slender Man doesn’t exist. Then, one of them disappears.

This horror film will be screened daily.

Mitchell Storyteller Theatres, 110 Old Talpa Cañon Road. For show times, tickets and additional information, call (575)751-4245 or visit storyteller7.com.

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