Written by: Fiona Underhill, CC2K Staff Writer
I made my way to the historic Egyptian Theater in Hollywood Saturday night for a Shark Triple Feature – The Meg 3D, Jaws 3D and The Deep Blue Sea. Our hosts wore shark costumes and beach balls bounced around the audience in an atmosphere one can only describe as festive. Lea Thompson appeared in person to introduce Jaws 3D, so it was a great night all-around.
Anticipation levels were high for the night’s main event (potentially the movie event of the summer? The year?); Jason Statham and a giant shark – what’s not to love? The Meg does not disappoint. The film starts with Jonas (Statham) attempting to extract the crew of a damaged submarine; however, during the rescue, the vessel is attacked by something huge which damages the hull. Jonas makes the difficult decision to abort the mission in order to save some of the men, sacrificing his friends trapped on board.
Cut to five years later as we meet the Elon Musk-like Morris (The Office’s Rainn Wilson), who arrives to inspect his state-of-the-art research facility, Mana One. There, scientists examine a theory that the deepest part of the ocean is actually a gaseous layer, obscuring the hidden depths below. On board the submersible is Jonas’ ex-wife, Lori (Jessica McNamee). Heroes‘ Masi Oka also appears (lovely to see him getting work). However, something huge and scary attacks the vessel as they examine the ocean floor, leaving them low on not only power, but oxygen. The attack prompts the crew to bring Jonas on-board to save the day again.
I really like Statham (especially in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch) but have not kept up with his various franchises: Crank, Transporter, The Expendables nor any films which can be called either “fast” or “furious.” I have no idea if he gets to keep his own wonderful accent in those movies, but I was delighted to hear it in The Meg. He exudes warmth, humor and charm whilst getting to be the cavalier, maverick action star he is.
A potential love interest and a humanizing element to soften Statham’s character is added in with Suyin (Li Bingbing) and her daughter Meiying (Sophia Cai). Bingbing is part of an impressively diverse cast that includes Jaxx (Ruby Rose), Mac (Cliff Curtis) and DJ (Page Kennedy), who along with Suyin join Jonas in an attempt to track and capture the “Meg.” This is when all of the fun and action ramps up. Statham uses his real life swimming and diving skills to perform some great underwater stunts. In true Jaws style, the level of peril gets really entertaining when a crowded beach full of pleasure-seekers, including children (and a dog!) find themselves under threat. The audience laughed and cheered with this extremely enjoyable section.
I try to avoid 3D presentations at all costs, but I’m glad I saw The Meg in 3D. The flora and fauna in the underwater scenes look spectacular, as do the sightings of whales from the corridors of Mana One. It helped the chase and action scenes as well. I recommend seeing this in 3D or 4D, if you can. The Meg is a family-friendly, feel-good thrill ride and is hilarious to boot. It needs to be seen in a packed cinema on opening weekend with plenty of popcorn.
Author: Fiona Underhill, CC2K Staff Writer
Brit living in Southern California.
Former teacher of Media and Film Studies.
Current film writer for jumpcutonline.com, moviejawn.com and others.