Photo via Warner Bros.
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It was 7:32 p.m. and my two best friends and I were running late for our 7:30 p.m. showing of “The Meg.”
We spoke of what we were expecting as we made the 20-minute drive to the movies from my best friend’s house, nestled in the sandy shores of northern Long Island. After a water-filled day of kayaking and sitting on the beach, something possessed us to go see what would potentially keep us off the beach until our departure less than 24 hours later.
We hurriedly grabbed three tickets, three sodas and the biggest popcorn we could find. After about eight pumps of buttery goodness, we were walking into the theater at 7:36 p.m., just as the opening credits were running.
The next hour and 53 minutes were filled with exactly what we were expecting; a pretty slow start, about 10 jump scares and enough cheesy clichés to satisfy any middle-aged dad with a gleeful grin.
“The Meg” is a movie about the discovery of the long-extinct megalodon, a shark about eight times the size of the one from “Jaws.” After exploring a false floor on the ocean bottom, researchers find the shark and end up provoking it enough to raise it from the deep ocean to terrorize the researchers, their families and beach-goers alike.
The shark itself is believable. Looking at those huge, beady eyes and that perpetually scary face, it’s hard to feel anything but absolute fear when the shark is facing the screen. If the movie was strictly about the adventures of “The Meg” and its casualties, you’d have one gory, scary movie. Except you don’t, because “The Meg” only shows up at the most predictable moments, with a plot twist that leaves you going, “wait, I knew that was coming.”
Boasting an impressive line-up of A-list cast, including Jason Statham (Jonas), Ruby Rose (Jaxx), Li Bingbing (Suyin), and Rainn Wilson (Jack), I found myself very hopeful that the cast could potentially bring the movie from B-list scares and tactics to one that would scare me off of ocean swimming for years to come. Instead, the cast, particularly Bingbing and Statham, delivered many clichés that left me laughing enough to wonder if the movie was even trying to be scary.
Rainn Wilson is probably the most impressive member of the cast, completely shedding his signature “Dwight Schrute” dorkiness and becoming somewhat of a diabolical liar. As you feel yourself finally connecting with the character, he lies his way into some predictable scenarios, including endangering his own life to kill “The Meg” on his own to prevent lawsuits from the deaths that occurred earlier in the movie.
Overall, the movie brought me a bunch of good jump scares and a decent 113 minutes of entertainment. If one wants just mindless, pure entertainment — of both the comedy and jump scare territory — this is a good choice to see. If you’re someone like me, who thinks way too much, this movie will probably leave you more confused and guffawed than scared.
“The Meg,” rated PG-13, is showing in local theaters.