THE MEG — Review by Susan Granger

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Lurking in the depths of the Pacific Ocean is something very, very scary – according to former deep-sea rescue diver Jonas Taylor (Jason Statham), who now spends his time in a drunken stupor on Thailand’s waterfront after a questionable decision cost him his career and his marriage. Summoned by billionaire Jack Morris (Rainn Wilson) to a deep-sea research facility called Mana One, located 200 miles off the coast of China, Jonas discovers that his ex-wife Lori (Jessica McNamee) is trapped in a tiny submersible 11,000 meters down, beneath a layer of hydrogen sulfide in the Mariana Trench which, apparently, covers an even deeper canyon.

That’s where a Carcharodon Megalodon, supposedly extinct for millions of years, is prowling.

“There’s something out there!” “It’s huge!” “And it’s moving fast!”

Accompanied by experienced oceanographer Suyin (Bingbing Li), whose father is Mana One’s head honcho, Dr. Zhang (Winston Chao), Jonas goes after the prehistoric, cheapo computer-generated 75’-long leviathan.

Based on Steve Alten’s pulpy “MEG: A Novel of Deep Terror” (1997), it’s blandly scripted by Dean Georgaris, Jon Koeber & Eric Koeber and unimaginatively directed by Jon Turteltaub (“National Treasure,” “Last Vegas).

Absurdities abound – none more ridiculous than trying to pass off a sinewy hunk in as superb shape as Jason Statham as someone who’s been debauched in alcohol for the past five years. On the other hand, as an actor, Statham shows more genuine emotion here than in his past cinematic outings, even cracking an occasional smile in scenes with young Meiying (Shuya Sophia Cal).

Then there’s totally predictable chaos, reminiscent of Steven Spielberg’s “Jaws” (1975), when the Meg heads towards a tourist haven, terrorizing hundreds of beachgoers, including a young boy begging to go back in the water. And the endangered Yorkie is named Pippin, just like the lab in “Jaws.”

For other shark scares, see “Open Water” (2004) and “Sharknado” (2013).

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “The Meg” swims in with a schlocky 6. It’s a splashy, by-the-numbers sea-monster movie.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.