'The Meg' is a super-sized 'thrill ride' with a giant pre-historic shark
MANILA, Philippines – Like most creature features, the action in upcoming film The Meg is driven by humans attempting to survive a particularly menacing animal – though unlike other films in the genre, the scale of the monster in this film was not extremely exaggerated.
The meg – Carcharocles megalodon – was in fact a real creature that fed on seals and whales and went extinct 2.6 million years ago.
The film follows an ex-Navy diver Jonas Taylor (Jason Statham) and marine biologist Suyin Zhang (Li Bingbing), who team up to save a crew trapped in a submersible that sank to the bottom of the ocean.
Complicating the already-risky rescue is the titular creature, a 75-foot long carnivorous pre-historic shark that will make the great white in Jaws look like a guppy.
Speaking of Jaws, the comparison to the Steven Spielberg classic is inevitable, but unlike Jaws, which was filmed using prop sharks, The Meg goes full CG with its titular creature.
In a phone interview with Rappler, actor Masi Oka shared that the cast had to film in front of a green screen and use their imagination – which doesn’t sound easy considering it’s a dangerous 75-foot pre-historic shark you’re pretending to be facing.
In The Meg, Masi, who is known for his roles in Heroes and Hawaii Five-O, plays one of the characters trapped in the submersible.
Along with Masi, Jason, and Li, the cast is an ensemble of actors from around the world: Rainn Wilson and Page Kennedy from the US, Australia’s Ruby Rose, Iceland’s Olafur Darri Olafsson, Taiwan’s Winston Chao, and New Zealand’s Cliff Curtis – a choice director Jon Turtletaub made in an effort to represent a globalized world.
Of course, at the center of it is Statham, a star known for being the anti-hero in action flicks that usually involve him firing guns in high-speed car chases – quite different from the deep-sea thrills of The Meg.
Fans of Jason may not be used to seeing the star taking on a new kind of action in the same way that fans of Jaws may not be used to seeing so big a creature take over the screens – but as Masi says, being different is what makes the film worth the view.
“There’s nothing like it out there. It’s just fun for the whole family I think,” he said.
“In this world where there are so many things going on, I think it’s great have something entertaining where you can see something that’s fun, that makes you cry, that makes you mad, that puts you on the edge of your seat, and is just something you can enjoy,” he added.
So how does one prepare for a film that will take on a (mostly scary) emotional rollercoaster?
Masi said to keep in mind that the creature is not real – as far as we know. “The good thing about it is that the meg will not come out of the screen and eat you, so while you’re in the theater, you’re not going to get harmed,” Masi quipped. “It might scare you a little bit, but it’s not real…or maybe it is, we don’t know.”
“Just let go, just go on that thrill ride and have a great time,” he said.
The Meg opened in Philippine theaters on August 8. – Rappler.com