Mega Entertaining

I have officially reached that point in my life where my love of sharks has become known to all.  New friends, coworkers I don’t get many shifts with, people I barely know… Many of these people at least know that I love sharks.  When friends see cool/funny/interesting shark pictures and videos on social media, they immediately forward them to me.  So it will come as no surprise to anyone that I went to see The Meg in theatres. The only thing that kept me from seeing this film on opening weekend was a trip out of town to a friend’s wedding, so my mother actually ended up seeing the film before I did.  She told me that it was a bad movie but that I would love it. She was right.

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The fact that it is a “bad movie” is the most important aspect about this film. I don’t think anyone actually went into this movie expecting anything more than B-movie “awfulness”.  Audience members went to the theatre expecting to see a giant, long-extinct shark leaving a trail of death and destruction in its wake – and that is exactly what we got.  If you go into this film with an open mind, expecting nothing but entertainment, then it can actually be a really enjoyable film. And I feel like the act of seeing it in a theatre (as opposed to the comfort of my own home) really added to the experience.  Even though this film had already been out a couple weeks, the theatre was packed and this meant that we were all laughing together as one big group at the silliest parts of the film.  This was definitely one of those movies where the overall experience is elevated by the audience togetherness. Throughout all of the good and the bad, this film was just lots of fun.

But it was also more than just fun.  There were definitely some moments that were attempting to be informative and to provide some sort of commentary on the importance of sharks in our ecosystems.  However, many of these moments were lost in the less-than-serious undertones of the film, or upstaged by bad acting.  In all honesty, Jason Statham’s portrayal of Jonas Taylor was the strongest performance of the film; the other characters were laughable, but it was exactly what I expected going into a movie like this.  So it was far too easy to laugh when Suyin (Bingbing Li) was talking about preserving the life of the megalodon in the name of science, or when Zhang (Winston Chau) upset by the despicable shark fin trade.  Although these made for some ridiculous and over the top moments in the story, it is unfortunate that these serious issues were so easily dismissed as silly dialogue.

The Meg also surprised me with it’s level of accuracy.  That being said, there was also a whole lot of inaccuracy.  It’s no surprise that, as a shark lover, I am more than familiar with any topics that may have appeared in Shark Week over the years.  I was pleasantly surprised to see glimpses of deep sea creatures like chimeras and ghost sharks present in the deep sea scenes, and there were some facts presented about the megalodon that could have easily been taken from an episode of Shark Week. I appreciated the level of thought that went into these moments.  Then again, I can’t tell you how many times I rolled my eyes and laughed because something that was just too absurd or too inaccurate.  But, this is a film about a shark that has been extinct for a long time, so obviously I did not go in to this experience expecting a whole lot of hard scientific fact.  I was expecting a hypothetical scenario in which the existence of a creature that could not possibly exist today leads to a massacre.  So, in expecting nothing “intelligent” from this film, even just to see a glimpse of scientific fact her and there was delightfully unexpected.

So, in the end, I got exactly what I wanted out of this film, and then some.  The megalodon itself was was worth the price of admission for a shark lover like me.  And I got that B-movie magic I was expecting from the over-the-top story and acting, random plot points that didn’t really lead anywhere (did Jonas really need an ex-wife for the story to work?), and a giant CGI shark.  And, most importantly, when the movie was over, it ended with…

FIN

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