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Movie Review

The Mariana Trench is a crescent shaped valley in the Earth's crust considered to be the deepest part of the world's oceans. Let's put it this way: Scientists say that if Mount Everest were dropped into the Trench, the mountain's peak would still be more than a mile beneath the surface.

But what if that deep chunk of ocean floor off the coast of China isn't really a floor at all? What if it's a false layer of gasses and silicon that's been created by hydrothermal vents in a much deeper level of the ocean? And if so, what might be lurking down there?

That's the question the ultra-modern underwater research facility, Mana One, was created to answer. Led by visionary Chinese oceanographer Dr. Minway Zhang and his gifted daughter, Suyin, the researchers used high-tech submersibles to dive through that false floor. What they discover is an ecosystem filled with species that mankind has never seen before, an ancient world hidden for, it seems, millions of years.

But an ancient, unexplored world can come with some ancient unseen dangers, don't you know. And that's exactly what Mana One's submersible crew stumbles upon: something big and dark and angry. In fact, it's 75 feet of dark and angry, to be precise: a Megalodon, a creature no one thinks could possibly still exist.

This prehistoric monster shark is attracted by the submarine's bright lights. And all it has to do is thump the relatively fragile underwater craft a few times with its sizable bulk, and suddenly three trapped crewmen find themselves clinging to survival in depths of water where a rescue has never been attempted.

Jonas Taylor is the only man who's even come close to going that deep. But after his last rescue turned deadly a few years back—thanks to some impossibly large creature that no one actually saw—he got out of the deep-sea rescue business. In fact, he's become something of a drunk, trying to drown his bitter memories. And he has absolutely no interest in helping Dr. Zhang.

Of course, Jonas is really the only person for the job.

He's the only guy with the skills and the pure bravado.

And, well, his ex-wife just happens to be the downed submersible's pilot. So there's that, too.

I guess it's time for Jonas Taylor to take another poke at an impossibly large creature that no one believes can still possibly exist.

Positive Elements

Jonas is that type of guy who's willing to put it all on the line to save those in danger. And he does so here on several occasions—often leaping unprotected into waters teaming with sharks of many sizes.

But Jonas isn't the only hero here. Several others actually give their lives, willingly, in an effort to save their friends. Jonas and others mourn those who are lost. But Suyin reminds them, "It's not just about the ones you lose, it's also about the ones you save."

After being badly injured, a stoic father turns to his daughter and expresses his feelings of love and pride—emotions that he was unable to express in their normal, day-to-day lives before that.

Spiritual Content

A man looks at the large megalodon terrorizing people and declares, "That thing is the devil." We're shown a large statue of a three-faced Buddhist goddess of sorts that stands in China's Sanya Bay.

Sexual Content

A Chinese beach and waterfront is populated by hundreds of swimmers. Bikinis abound.

A young tech proclaims that "sex, food, power and money" are the four things that motivate him in life. Suyin charges into Jonas' room right after he steps out of the shower. He's dressed only in a towel, and Suyin (as well as the camera) carefully examines his chiseled physique. But after Suyin leaves the room, she voyeuristically peeks back into it through a glass porthole in the door, obviously hoping to see more of him and with a lusty look on her face.

Violent Content

As you might imagine, when you're dealing with a monstrous, ravenous shark sporting teeth the size of a picket fence, you're gonna end up with lots of peril and mess. And that's exactly what The Meg delivers.

A full-sized submarine gets pounded and crushed, and several submersibles receive the same treatment—all erupting in underwater explosions and killing their human occupants. One escaping submariner has a sharp object driven into her abdomen. Helicopters smash into each another, plunging in flames into the ocean and onto the deck of a ship. Several large boats are destroyed as well. In one case, the Mana One crewmembers examine the aftermath, pulling up the carcasses of several smaller, butchered sharks as well as a gory, dismembered arm from a human victim.

We see the meg rip large hunks of blubber out of a whale and bite a smaller one in half. (The camera lingers on the bloody, goopy remains.) The huge beast also attacks Mana One researchers and a beach full of splashing vacationers—repeatedly pummeling, crushing and gobbling up terrorized and screaming people.

This sort of deadly havoc—seen both up close and at a distance—is often fast and somewhat blurry. But on a number of occasions, we see people swallowed whole singly and in crowds. A bloody wave is generally left in the monster's wake after it feeds. In one shot after a beach attack, the shark swims toward the camera with its mouth open: Its rows of ragged, saw-edged teeth are littered with the remnants of swimsuits and other human debris. On several occasions scores of smaller, opportunistic sharks swoop in on the bloody dead and dying left in the ocean waters. We also see a bucket of bloody chum.

A supposedly indestructible shark cage is pulled free of its chained mooring and nearly swallowed whole with the human occupant still inside. And even when some lucky folks manage to escape, the jaw-snapping, sharp-toothed peril is still thick.

People drop depth charges on the meg (dramatically—and bloodily—detonating a whale in the process) and fire at it with automatic weapons. Harpoons and sharp objects are driven into the gigantic shark at various points along its body.

Someone mentions that while working for Greenpeace, a female pilot created a homemade explosive and blew up a whaling boat. Other characters winkingly agree that her terrorist actions weren't all that bad.

Crude or Profane Language

One s-word, seven or eight uses each of "h---" and "d--n" and a couple uses each of "b--tard," "b--ch" and "a--." We hear several misuses of God's name (including one combined with "d--n"). Jesus' name is exclaimed once fully and another time partially.

Drug and Alcohol Content

When Dr. Zhang seeks out Jonas in Thailand to recruit his help, Jonas is essentially a drunk who lives above a bar, content to imbibe practically nonstop. What's worse, the film suggests that this overindulgence hasn't impacted him negatively at all. In fact, he's impossibly fit and instantly able to drop the bottle and leap into heroic action.

Other Negative Elements

The Mana One research facility has been financed by a gregarious billionaire named Morris. But he lies and breaks laws to limit his potential liability when things turn disastrous.

Conclusion

When you first hear a fabulous yarn told by a friend or relative who's really gifted at storytelling, it can have a big impact. The well-paced reveals, the mounting tension, the great payoff—it's the kind of stuff that can send a whole room of people into gales of laughter or leave them breathless.

Let's face it, though: By the time you hear that same story the fifth, sixth or twentieth time, it's not quite so exciting. The tale might get bigger with each retelling—and you might still grin at parts—but it's just not the same.

That sums up The Meg pretty well.

This fishy tale is essentially Jaws on CGI steroids. It regurgitates that familiar finned fable, while also nibbling on derivative bits from favorites such as Jurassic Park and Moby Dick. There are bigger predators, a buffer hero and louder screams as larger crowds of beachgoers get gobbled.

But that once-great shark story? Well, it's sorta lost in the chum, er, lost its charm.

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Credits

Rating

Readability Age Range

Author

Cast

Jason Statham as Jonas Taylor; Rainn Wilson as Jack Morris; Bingbing Li as Suyin; Shuya Sophia Cai as Meiying; Winston Chao as Dr. Minway Zhang; Robert Taylor as Dr. Heller; Ruby Rose as Jaxx Herd

Director

Jon Turteltaub ( )

Distributor

Warner Bros.

Network

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Publisher

In Theaters

August 10, 2018

On Video

November 13, 2018

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Bob Hoose

Content Caution

Kids
Teens
Adults
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