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Undertow: 'The Meg' is best when it doesn't take itself seriously

The Meg (Credit: Daniuel Smith / Warner Bros. Pictures)
(L-R) PAGE KENNEDY as DJ, RUBY ROSE as Jaxx, LI BINGBING as Suyin, JASON STATHAM as Jonas Taylor and CLIFF CURTIS as Mac in Warner Bros. Pictures' and Gravity Pictures' action adventure "THE MEG," a Warner Bros. Pictures release.{ }(Daniuel Smith/Warner Bros. Pictures)

"The Meg"
3 out of 5 Stars
Director:
Jon Turteltaub
Writer: Dean Georgaris, Jon Hoeber, Erich Hoeber, Steve Alten (novel)
Starring: Jason Statham, Bingbing Li, Rainn Wilson
Genre: Action, sci-fi
Rated: PG-13 for action/peril, bloody images and some language

SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) - Synopsis: Scientists aboard a multi-million-dollar research station probe what is believed to be the seafloor only to discover that ancient creatures exist below -- creatures that should have remained undiscovered.

Review: Here, we find Jason Statham starring as Jonas Taylor. He’s damaged goods, having lost everything following a rescue mission that ended poorly. Taylor claimed there was a giant creature, a megalodon shark, that force him to leave teammates behind. No one believes him. No one, until a group of scientists comes face to face with a similar creature and finds itself trapped at the bottom of the sea. I’ll give you one chance to guess whom they call to lead a rescue attempt.

It wouldn’t be fair to say that “The Meg” is a paint-by-numbers action film, but maybe it would have been better off it had been. The movie wants to be a silly movie about a massive shark. It also wants to be a movie where cardboard characters are given flimsy and predictable backstories in hopes of connecting with audiences on a more human, rather than primal, level. “The Meg” works best when it’s flying by the seat of its pants and giving into its more ridiculous ideas. You know, like Statham taking on the shark single-handedly.

It doesn’t work when long stretches are devoted to a group of people gathered around a bank of video monitors watching stuff. As an audience, we’re literally watching the watchmen when we should be watching a massive shark wreak havoc.

In “Jurassic Park,” we’re given just enough science to convince the audience that the resurrecting dinosaurs is theoretically possible. In “The Meg” we’re given a bunch of gobbledygook that gets in the way of the film that audiences are expecting to see. There’s also a halfhearted attempt at character development that only slows the film without adding anything to the narrative.

“The Meg” should be a smooth roller coaster ride filled with loops and corkscrews, not a herky-jerky ride that comes to a screeching halt whenever it starts to build some momentum.

“The Meg” could have been a glorious B-movie, but its aspirations to be more than a film about a Jurassic shark gets in the way of some of the fun. It’s not a terrible film, but it’s not memorable either.

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