Day 4: The Meg
As a child of the 80s, I’m a sucker for bad movies and sharks. (That’s generational, right?) I spent $20 to see a movie about a prehistoric killer shark that I knew would, in a word, bite. I got tickets for the fancy-pants RPX theater with 3D and a Rumble Pak with excessive bass built into my “lounger” seat.
Despite a cutesy title like The Meg, I was hoping for an inkling of the Jaws experience with blood, grit, and a smidge of terror. Instead I got a bloodless, multimillion dollar PG-13 blockbuster flick. (Seriously, they spent over $270 million dollars on this movie.)
Another child-of-the-80’s trait is that we’re nostalgic for the pop culture era of our youth. I miss the animatronics, dark narratives, and meticulous attention to ambiance from the films of my childhood. (Plus, they were actually filmed on film.)
No amount of stunts, CGI, or comfy seating can compare with the rawness, character, and sheer I-don’t-give-a-fuckness of that ancient mechanical Jaws head as it breached that we’re-gonna-need-a-bigger boat.
In both a narrative and a meta way, The Meg is very much new school versus old school, and old school is a whole lot scarier. The Meg was a really fun spectacle, but it won’t give me nightmares or make me scared to go in the pool. For those non-horror fans, a movie that forces a powerful, visceral response and leaves a mark on your psyche is essentially the Holy Grail. It may seem cheesy now, but Jaws is in the DNA of every shark movie (nay, every underwater monster movie) made since. It left a mark on an entire generation.
In the words of every old-timer, “They don’t make ‘em like they used to.”