4K Ultra HD Edition
Review by Michael Jacobson
Stars: Jason Statham, Bingbing Li, Cliff Curtis, Winston Chao, Ruby Rose, Rainn
Director: John Turteltaub
Audio: Dolby Atmos
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.39:1
Studio: Warner Bros.
Features: See Review
Length: 113 Minutes
Release Date: November 13, 2018
“Just keep swimming…just keep swimming…”
Ever since Jaws changed the face of modern blockbusters, moviemakers have tried to improve on its formula and success. The problem that continues to plague the film industry some 40 years after the fact is that their method is to go bigger, without any regards to better.
Take The Meg…if you’ve seen the posters or trailers, you figure you know what you’re in for…a slice of mindless summer fun starring action hero Jason Statham vs. a prehistoric shark that’s bigger than any whale.
It sort of mimics the Jaws formula in that it’s a long way into the movie before you see the title character, but it doesn’t quite work because the movie doesn’t actually earn your investment during that time. It kind of meanders with little teasing, making you shift uncomfortably in your seat while checking your watch and thinking “any minute now”.
When the big fellow arrives, is he convincing? Meh…I suppose about as much as a modern megalodon could ever be. The story of where he’s been all these years and how he managed to emerge into our oceans is not bad, and I certainly believe the world has good reason to be scared of this thing.
(I should point out that I’ve been saying “he”, when Jason Statham’s character in the film always calls the shark a “she”. Not sure if that was established fully or not in the context of the movie, but no reason to doubt it.)
Statham and crew soon realize that no matter how historic (or prehistoric) this finding is, it cannot be left alive, especially when it starts heading toward one of the most populated beaches in all of Asia.
I realize I haven’t even delved into who these people are, why they are there, or even identified anybody other than Statham. Truth be told, those details don’t make much difference in a movie like this. You know what you came to see, and everything else is just filler in order to get a respectable running time. This is not a knock at the cast, which is perfectly serviceable to a person…I’m just saying when you look at that movie poster, you want to see Statham vs. Shark and don’t care about the pre-title card fights.
So does it deliver on what it promises? Here and there…the movie is spectacular to look at (more on that in the next section), and has some good cheap thrills from time to time. If you appreciate good Hollywood cheese, you’ll certainly get a chuckle at how many times and ways they can make the heroic Jason Statham…well, heroic.
But overall, I don’t think the handful of good moments is quite enough to thread together a mindless popcorn flick and have it stand out amongst the crowd in its year, or likely any year. There’s some fun, but just not enough.
This is definitely one of the best looking releases of the year…Warner’s 4K HDR transfer really lights up the screen with incredible color nuances and detail in every scene, and the more action, the better. Images are so crisp and clean, you almost feel like you can reach out and touch them (which actually makes me miss 3D less and less). Outstanding!
Likewise, the uncompressed Dolby Atmos surround track delivers everything you’d want from a movie like this…powerful dynamic range, solid use of both front and rear channels, and a nicely balanced mix that never loses the dialogue.
There are only a pair of production featurettes located on the Blu-ray disc; one on the making of the movie and another on the creation of the shark.
The Meg rolls of the assembly line with promise, but underdelivers. However, this is one of the year’s most spectacular looking and sounding 4K Ultra HD releases, so it may still be reference-quality enough to merit a place in your library.