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The Meg

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
The Meg Movie Poster Image
Lots of shark-movie clichés and violence, not many thrills.
  • PG-13
  • 2018
  • 113 minutes

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 29 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 35 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Death doesn't make much of an impact here; characters briefly seem upset but move on quickly. A scientist bemoans the fact that humans seem bent on destroying anything we discover, but this thought is quickly swept aside and never explored in any depth. Several somewhat cartoonish depictions of nonwhite characters/cultures.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Jonas is capable of jumping fearlessly into the fray without questioning his own safety, and he sometimes makes difficult decisions. He's flawed and far from perfect, but he's definitely a guy you'd want to have around in a crisis. A female character is said to be smart and strong but also needs frequent rescuing and is required to fall in love with a man to be complete. A secondary Asian character heroically sacrifices himself to save others. Cartoonish cultural depictions that verge on stereotypes.

Violence

Many characters die. Bloody wounds. Blood swirls in ocean water. A shark sliced open and stabbed in the eyeball. A woman is accidentally stabbed in the stomach with a screwdriver. Explosions. Sudden shark attacks. Tons of destruction and carnage. Dead sharks in the water, their fins removed by poachers. Dead whale with chunks torn out of its carcass. Young girl is briefly in peril. Images of "chum" (fish guts used for luring sharks). Brief rifle shooting.

Sex

Jonas appears shirtless; a woman is flustered by this. Several scenes of flirting.

Language

Single uses of "s--t," "son of a bitch," "hell," "damn," and "bastard," plus "Jesus" (as an exclamation). A little girl uses the term "a--hole."

Consumerism

Two cans of Coca-Cola shown in one scene.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Early on, Jonas is said to "drink too much" and is seen holding or opening bottles of beer, but this seems to be instantly forgotten.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Meg is an action movie about a giant prehistoric shark and the team of heroes (led by Jason Statham) trying to stop it. Violence is definitely the biggest issue here: Many characters die, and there's some blood (wounds, blood swirling in the water). And of course, there are shark attacks (often sudden/startling) -- plus lots of explosions and tons of destruction and carnage. Many dead, mangled sharks and other sea creatures are shown, a woman is accidentally stabbed with a screwdriver, and a young girl is briefly in peril. Language is infrequent but includes "s--t," "son of a bitch," "bastard," and others. Statham's character, Jonas, appears shirtless, and there's a bit of flirting. He's also accused of drinking too much and is shown holding or opening bottles of beer early in the movie. Some nonwhite characters are portrayed somewhat cartoonishly. Shark fans are likely to be interested, but be warned: It's clumsy and slow and lacks genuine scares.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byAliceommy August 12, 2018
Adult Written byYesyesyesssss August 12, 2018
Teen, 14 years old Written byTony Stark 123 August 8, 2018

Great thriller with loads of bloody violence and action

The Meg is a great thriller. A lot of violence and blood. Keeps the audience at the edge of their seats the whole time. The main protagonist is an amazing role... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byDisneymovielover7777 August 12, 2018

Get Out of the Water!

In 1975 Steven Spielberg’s classic horror movie Jaws was released to theaters, scaring people out of the water, and helping the MPAA create the PG-13 movies rel... Continue reading

What's the story?

In THE MEG, wealthy investor Jack Morris (Rainn Wilson) travels to China to see his new research station, where scientists are trying to reach a new level of the ocean floor that's hidden by a layer of frozen gas. They break through, but before they can investigate further, they're attacked by an enormous megalodon, a prehistoric shark thought to be extinct. With three of the group trapped on the ocean floor, controversial but effective expert Jonas Taylor (Jason Statham) is called in to rescue them. Unfortunately, during the extraction, the "meg" manages to escape to the surface, leaving it up to Jonas, shark expert Suyin (Bingbing Li), and the rest of the team to stop it before it reaches more populated areas.

Is it any good?

Despite the enticing promise of Statham vs. a giant shark, this action movie lamely steals just about every shark-movie conceit ever invented, while draining the suspense, terror, and fun out of them. The Meg starts well enough with its clever scientific discovery, which could have been explored a little further, but director Jon Turteltaub proceeds to barrel right past it with instant and relentless attacks that feel more like bludgeons than thrills. Shark fans will already know all the moves in this one -- quite a few of them taken straight from Jaws -- and the movie fails to conjure up anything even remotely like a surprise or a scare.

The action sequences are, if not exactly terrible, certainly clunky, with plenty of largely meaningless, largely bloodless slaughter that doesn't have much impact. And of course, the movie drags on way too long. Via a prologue, a half-hearted attempt is made to add some depth to Statham's character, specifically a rescue mission in which his decision resulted in two deaths (leading to lots of guilt for him afterward), but this rarely seems to give him any pause during the movie's present-day action. And while The Meg assembles a multicultural cast, with a couple of exceptions, not many of them are terribly nuanced (some even border on stereotypical) or have much to do. Sadly, not even the shark is very interesting.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about The Meg's violence. How does it compare to other action/shark movies you've seen? What kind of impact does the violence have?

  • What's the appeal of sharks in movies and on TV? Do you think they're portrayed accurately/fairly?

  • Did you notice any stereotypes in the movie? Where is the line between cartoonish behavior and offensive portrayals?

  • How is drinking handled in the movie? Does Jonas actually have a drinking problem? Are there any consequences? Why is that important?

  • Jonas' decision to let two co-workers die to save several other people haunts him. Did you ever have to make a difficult decision that involved choosing a bad thing over a much worse thing?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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