I read Steve Alten’s novel Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror when I was a teenager and immediately wanted to make a movie of it. It’s the heartwarming tale of a 75-foot-long, bioluminescent Megalodon, the adventures she has when she finally ventures out from her home town in the Mariana Trench, and all the fun and interesting people she eats along the way. Meg is goofy and pulpy in the best way possible, the opening scene has a giant shark eating a T. rex and the climax is even more gloriously over the top.
I loved it and, as it turns out, I wasn’t the only one. Nick Nunziata spent years trying to get an adaptation off the ground, first with Guillermo del Toro attached,1 then with Speed and Twister helmer Jan de Bont. Then… crickets. New Line let the option expire in 2007 and the project was dead for years. Then Warner Brothers snatched it up and handed directing duties off to Eli Roth (Hostel, Death Wish). Then Roth jumped ship2 and Jon Turteltaub (National Treasure) came on board.
I remember reading Nunziata’s posts about this project back in the old days at CHUD.com, irrationally mad that someone was making this movie who wasn’t me, but also pumped for the idea of a del Toro-directed giant shark movie. It was disheartening to see the project fall apart. So, after nearly two decades, I’m a bit shocked to see this movie emerge from development hell, now with a fancy new definite article: The Meg.
And Jason Statham’s in it. And there’s a trailer! Let’s take a look.
Okay. First the bad news. Meg no longer appears to be white and bioluminescent. So, that’s a bummer. I always thought that was neat.
And the good news? Well, this certainly looks like Meg: dumb, over the top, and featuring a really big shark. In other words, I am totally on board. There is a squid in this movie. A giant squid, and giant squid are awesome, but somehow that isn’t the coolest thing in this trailer. (Editor’s note: that would be the title card at the end of the trailer, which is somehow not in this article.) Statham looks to be Statham and the supporting cast looks solid. Based on what we see here, it appears at least some aspects of the novel’s gleefully chaotic climax have survived the adaptation process, which makes me incredibly happy. I assume some of that particular blood bath will be toned down to hit a PG-13 rating, but I’m not too worried about that. I’m also glad that it seems to have a sense of humor about itself—it really has to with this premise—without verging into cynical, Sharknado-style self-satire. The Meg looks like it wants to deliver some ridiculous, shark-centered adventure while also laughing along with you, and I’m game.
Also, how’s this for a poster? That tagline? Brilliance. Pure brilliance.
I mean, this is a great poster.#TheMeg knows what it's doing with tone and approach. This flick looks like it has the potential to be the best shark movie since DEEP BLUE SEA.@FinFlicks pic.twitter.com/4wyQ7E9ec9
— Drew Dietsch (@DrewDietsch) April 9, 2018
The Meg chomps its way into theaters on August 10.