The Meg seems to be the cinematic equivalent of Marmite (other yeast extract spreads are available).
People seem to either love it for what it is, such as renowned film critic Kim Newman. He said: “Watch this cold at home and you’ll wonder what the fuss is about – but see it on Saturday night in a packed cinema, and it’s a hoot.”
Whilst The Daily Jaws Twitter follower Scott AH (@sctrke1) couldn’t have been explicit in his feelings towards The Meg when he said: “I would rather watch Jaws the Revenge two more times than be forced to watch The Meg again once. It was aggressively awful. Not one redeeming quality.”
I’ve seen Jaws the Revenge far more than two times, so I’m actually fine with that appraisal.
Despite the naysayers The Meg has had an amazing opening weekend., and that is despite several unfavourable reviews from critics and shark movie fans. So, what worked getting bums on seats?
It had a simple premise that echoes back to a summer film we all love, Jaws. It’s already an established and successful book series and it had a fun series of posters that certainly helped engage viewers and give a real sense of it being an event movie.
It’s still early days and The Meg has a lot of money to recoup. But this is great news for Jaws and shark film fans alike, anything that raises the profile of sharks and shark films on the big screen can only be a good thing.
Hopefully it will also introduce a whole new generation to the likes of Jaws, its sequels, other shark films and ultimately shark conservation.
The return of the summer shark movie has been long in the offing with the likes of The Shallows and 47 Metres Down taking chunks out of the box office over the last couple of years.
Fittingly the bite radius of this one is huge at the box office on week one, but it’s going to have to swim hard in its following weeks to ensure it doesn’t return to the Mariana Trench from whence it came.
The Meg will never be Jaws, to fair it doesn’t even look like it is pretending to be, but it is inevitable that it - like any shark film - will always be compared to Jaws. And that is something acknowledged by The Meg author Steve Alten.
In our interview with him, Steve said: “Jaws is the standard-bearer, so it’s natural. I think The Meg, while a shark movie, is more of an action-hero flick with the shark as the bad guy. I don’t think of Jaws as a shark movie, I think of it as great cinema.”
And however you feel about Meg the book or The Meg the film, I think we can all agree on Jaws as great cinema.
Have you seen The Meg yet? What did you think of it?
By Dean Newman
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