Is The Meg Real?
Ali Plumb from BBC Radio 1 joins us on this podcast to get real… Statham-y. Is The Meg Real? Hmmm…
THE MEG isn’t a deep film, but it is a fun film! And our conversation with Ali Plumb from BBC 1 Radio was even more fun (funner?)! Jay, Daryl, and Ali attempt (mostly unsuccessfully) to dig deeper into a B-movie that will have absolutely nothing to do with that nonsense… Jason Statham’s THE MEG!
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The Story Geeks’ blogger Ashley Pauls responds with her own take on the questions discussed in the podcast.
What did you think of “The Meg”?
While the concept was cool, the film felt oddly disjointed to me. Like, there were moments where it was trying to be a deeper, more character-driven piece by going into backstories, struggles, etc. Then, there was this completely different side to it, with these over-the-top action sequences involving Jason Statham engaging the giant prehistoric shark in hand-to-hand combat (I actually liked the over-the-top moments more).
I felt they should have picked a tone and stuck with it. While this film didn’t handle the character development or deeper moments particularly well, I think it’s entirely possible to do a more “serious,” nuanced version of this monster movie (kinda like what the 2014 “Godzilla” movie was going for, but didn’t quite succeed, either). However, “The Meg” also could have gone the other direction, and fully embraced its status as a full-on summer “B-movie” and included even more crazy stunts and action sequences. Overall, the film felt a little underwhelming.
2. It’s Scary Movie Month on The Story Geeks podcast…and one of the main questions we’re asking is: What makes this movie scary?
This movie relies on more surface-level scares, as compared to “Get Out,” which is a deeper psychological thriller. “The Meg” takes a real-life fear that many people have — i.e. sharks — and then amplifies it and exaggerates it. Although I’m pretty sure I don’t have to worry about a shark as big as the Meg the next time I go swimming in the ocean (I’m really going to try not to think about that), I would be afraid of a regular shark if I saw one. Monster movies like “The Meg” play on these real fears, but the movies are still fun to watch because in the back of our minds, we know the threat is just pretend.
3. Is there a core truth or premise that the movie is exploring here, and if so, what is it?
It’s no secret that “The Meg” is not a particularly deep film; the main moral of the story here is probably something like: if you find yourself in dangerous, shark-infested waters, stick close to Jason Statham. 😉
All kidding aside, while the movie doesn’t handle its deeper themes as well or as thoroughly as it could have, it kind of hints at the same ideas as the “Jurassic Park” franchise. Human hubris too often leads to danger and destruction; we have more confidence than actual ability when it comes to controlling nature. Humanity’s arrogance can (and often does) have a very devastating impact on the world around us.
4. “The Meg” is another entry in the long saga of sharks vs. humans in movies. Which shark warrior is the best shark warrior of all time?
– Jonas Taylor (Jason Statham in “The Meg”)
– Chief Martin Brody (Roy Scheider in “Jaws”)
– Carter Blake (Thomas Jane in “Deep Blue Sea”)
– Nancy (Blake Lively in “The Shallows”)
– Fin Shepard (Ian Ziering in “Sharknado”)
This is going to be a cheesy answer (please don’t judge me!), but I have a special place in my heart for the Sharknado movies, so I’m going to have to go with Fin Shepard. These movies are truly terrible works of cinema and are beyond ridiculous, and yet, I love them. There’s something so-bad-it’s-awesome about seeing Fin (yes, they actually named him “Fin”!) fighting a shark with a chainsaw, surrounded by gloriously low-budget special effects. I can’t defend these movies at all, but I also can’t look away.
5. At one point during the movie, everyone in the movie decides that the Meg needs to die. And as they make the decision to kill it, Zhang, the Chinese doctor, says, “That’s what we do. We discover and destroy.” Do you agree with the doctor? Do you think that’s true about humanity?
People don’t always mean to destroy what they discover. They may start with good intentions, inspired by curiosity and a sense of wonder about the world. Yet human history includes many examples of exploration being twisted into something less altruistic; sadly, discovery and destruction do sometimes go hand in hand.
The history of human exploration has sadly included the spread of disease; invasive plant and animal species; extinction; as well as slavery and the exploitation of certain groups of people. Since the Cold War, world leaders have even pondered how to weaponize space exploration. There definitely is a darker side of exploration, and we have to be mindful of that.
However, people shouldn’t stop exploring, and it’s important for us to learn about the world around us. We just need to keep our hubris in check and carefully consider the potential impact of our actions.
6. Did any of the deaths in the film mean anything? What significance did the deaths have?
If the film had included better character development overall, we probably would have felt the loss of the characters more. Instead, the film’s uneven tone shifts mean the emotional moments don’t always feel authentic or earned. Again, I feel this is an example of the film trying to “have it both ways” — you can’t try to be a more serious character drama while also going for over-the-top B-movie thrills.
That being said, Toshi’s death was the one that affected me the most, especially seeing him hand off the note to his wife. I would have liked to see more from this character.
7. What movie monster would you put up against the Meg and why?
I would really like to see a fight between the Meg and one of the kaiju from “Pacific Rim.” It seems like the kaiju can handle themselves in the water, so it would be cool to see one of those glowing monsters fighting the Meg in the ocean. It would be even better if we saw one of the robot Jaegers from “Pacific Rim” drop into the ocean to fight both the Meg AND the kaiju at the same time! 😉 Also, it looks like both of these movies were distributed by Warner Bros., so let’s make this crossover happen!