Let me open this reaction with an honest disclaimer: I love shark movies. So much so that I tried to bring serious analysis and criticism of the genre to every Cinema Studies class I ever took in college, but I digress.
The official first trailer for Warner Bros. Pictures’ “The Meg” dropped on Monday and I have a lot of feelings. Check it out:
“The Meg” is based on Steve Alten’s 1997 sci-fi, sharkstravaganza “Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror” which was incredibly popular and spawned several sequels in a series. Think “Jurassic Park: The Lost World”, but with sharks. But bringing the Megalodon to the big screen has been a project many years in the making and, admittedly, it makes me nervous for the film.
Back in 1997, Disney waded into the shallows with plans to take on “The Meg” (bidding about one million on the project) but backed out when faced with Warner’s “Deep Blue Sea” as the competing summer sharkbuster. The film was batted to New Line Studios in the early 2000s and the studio was so convinced they had a hit that they fast-tracked the project. Until the money ran out. After passing around the rights to “The Meg” like a hot potato, the film landed at Warner Bros. Pictures and serious production began. Eli Roth had originally been at the helm as director but eventually left the project due to creative differences with the studio (he wanted to keep Meg’s R-rating). The project has now fallen in the lap of Jon Turteltaub.
As a big fan of the books, I can’t help but be excited about this movie. When I say it’s “Jurassic Park” with sharks, I mean it. It’s a masterfully created sci-fi adventure with a monster that fascinates as much as it frightens. But that’s not to say that I don’t have some concerns. Like Eli Roth, I think a good monster flick deserves the bloody freedom of an R-rating. However, the trailer did do some work to convince me otherwise.
Alten’s novel has an incredibly serious tone. It’s intended to make your blood run cold. However, the trailer leans significantly lighter. The more suspenseful set up quickly gives way to humor in snappy one liners, a bit with a dog, colorful images of the Meg cruising among the tourist, and all set to a lively rendition of “Beyond the Sea”. I must admit that it threw me off at first and I may even curl my lip at the idea of Alten’s “Meg” series being glazed with humor, but I get it. This is a summer movie in every sense of the word. I can warm up to the idea of a less serious “Meg”, since its PG-13 rating will more than likely skew the entire film more action and less horror. I can dig it.
I was pleasantly surprised by a few “goodies for bookies” hidden in the trailer. Such as a shot that perfectly imitates the original cover of “Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror”. The film stars Jason Statham, Cliff Curtis, Bingbing Li, Rainn Wilson, and Ruby Rose.
“The Meg” will be out in theatres August 10. If you want to read the book before you see the film, you can find it on Amazon here. What do you think of the trailer? Let us know in the comments below!
Caitlin is a lean, mean writing machine based in Austin, TX. Her love of film began when she was shown “Rosemary’s Baby” way too early in life. Bylines include The Financial Diet and Film Inquiry. Caitlin is a member of the Online Association of Female Film Critics and the Women Film Critics Circle.