Abnormally large and/or intelligent sharks causing various problems for nosey scientists and/or oblivious beachgoers has long been a bankable concept, perhaps due to a global combination of fascination and fear surrounding these fierce predators. This has led to the endless exploitation of the theme, producing oddities such as Sharktopus (2010), 3-Headed Shark Attack (2015) and (my personal favourite) Sand Sharks (2011), among many more. The result is that it is almost impossible to take a film about a shark seriously any more. That said, it wouldn't seem right for a year to pass without the presence of another shark themed thriller and Hollywood's latest version of this template comes in the form of The Meg, in which Jason Statham and Bingbing Li encounter a thought to be extinct Megalodon, which is, presumably, not particularly friendly.
Despite my better instincts and the simply abysmal track record of shark films, I am quite looking forward to The Meg. Some of the earlier attempts at shark tales, while often not excelling (discounting Jaws, 1975), have often displayed very good elements. I've always been a fan of Deep Blue Sea (1999), even if it is full of dreadful acting and fuzzy science. What it did do well, however, was create a fantastically claustrophobic atmosphere, with sharks stealthily hunting our heroes through the flooded rooms of an ocean-based research facility. The Meg will hopefully manufacture something similar, with its ultra modern underwater laboratory boasting an unsettling amount of glass for such a risky environment.
Another strength is that, unlike many other shark orientated adventures, The Meg has foundations in literature, being based on Meg, a novel written by Steve Alten in 1997. Perhaps the influence of this book will keep The Meg from descending into the kind of inane madness which plagues the seemingly infinite library of shark films. The trailer certainly promises some intense action sequences and horribly realistic underwater creatures, but the real challenge for The Meg will be to submit a plot which matches the effects, one which can avoid venturing too far into absurdity.
And if nothing else, the reappearance of Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) from The Office (2005-2013) will probably single-handedly make this film worth watching!
First thoughts: The Meg may be the shark film to break the mould!