The Meg Review

Oh boy.

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy.

This film is exactly what I expected it to be when I realized that this film basically boiled down to ‘Jason Statham punches giant shark in the face.’ My inner eight year old’s undisguised glee matched only by my beloved wife’s absolute horror when we both realized that this film knew exactly what it was and proceeded to be just as terrible as we hoped/dreaded it was going to be.

The plots the usual bunch of nonsense -scientists go where their not supposed to go, accidentally unleash a 75 foot long shark that makes Bruce from Jaws look Vegan, seem unaware that most of them have ticking clocks above their heads and compete to see who can say their terrible, cliched, predictable dialogue with their tongue firmest in their cheek.

Unfortunately, it’s such a simple plot that by my watch the film had ended quite naturally after a mere 75 minutes  but then pulled the most obvious twist in the book right after ‘It’s still moving.’ to pad it’s run-time to 113 minutes.

And… I have no idea why I love this film as much as I did because objectively I should hate it. There’s barely any practical effects, all of the characters were archetypes- nerd, geek, jerk billionaire, the plot hold no shocks or surprises, it’s idea of being clever is calling it’s lead character Jonas (you know, like the guy in the bible?), Jason Staham has NO business being in a 12a film here he can’t do Jason Staham things like swear or beat up faceless goons or react to all the CGI blood that should be sloshing around the set by swearing.

I’m convinced that all the equipment used would shred like toilet paper at the depths we see it go to, there are plot holes on top of plot holes but… but…..

IT’S JASON STAHAM PUNCHING A 75 FOOT SHARK IN THE FACE!

Whales are bitten in half as an afterthought, some underwater sections are tense and scary- others made me leap out of my seat in joy and one frame in particular i’m happy to offer Scriptgremlins arms in payment to get on my wall. Don’t look at me like that. They grow back. They always grow back. And taste great covered in BBQ sauce.

Would I have loved this more if it was allowed the 15 rating that it needed? Yes.

Would I have loved it more if it pandered slightly less to the Chinese audience? No, not really. To be frank it’s nice to not have New York under threat for once. Plus, there’s no real changes to the film besides setting the film off the coast of China as opposed to the USA.

Would it have been better if directed by Eli Roth as opposed to the guy who made Cool Runnings aka the greatest sports film ever? No. The budget was too high and this film was exactly what it needed to be.

Should you mistake this for a date night movie? No.

No no no no no.

Just… trust me on this.

This is a film to grab a couple of mates, sink a few/large amount of beers before/whilst seeing and just enjoy it. I can see this being a serious staple of Friday/Saturday night evenings in for a few years.

I loved it.

Not as much as I love Deep Blue Sea and no-ones ever going to mistake it for a classic but if you are as desperate as I am for a break from franchises and fancy a good old fashioned creature feature that could have done deciding if it wanted to end after 75 minutes or not, having a smaller budget so it could get the higher rating it so desperately needed and er….

If anyone knows where I can get a poster of THAT scene at the end (if you’ve seen the film then you know the one I mean) please put, let me know in the comments.

God speed you magnificent throwback. May you not bomb as hard as I think your going to.

My Score- If Nothing Else 

 

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Ready Player One Review

In the future the world sucks and instead of fixing it, humanity decided to fight the ‘broadband wars’ and then create the matrix. But in a fun way, stuffed full of eye popping visuals and amazing levels of pop culture that  all seem to have stopped about 1989.

But that’s Ok thought I setting about researching this review. It’s based on a book about pop culture so maybe it was written in 1994…. Oh, it was written in 2011. Ok then, I’m just going revert back to my inalienable believe that the books don’t matter and get on with reviewing the most Speilbergy film I’ve seen in years.

Which makes sense given that the man himself directed it and it’s therefore completely understandable why there are none of his films referenced here. (He thought it was a bit vain which is completely understandable) He’s not completely absent though, an item from a film he produced does appear in the film.

But there are so, so many items from other films that I have no idea how they were able to get all of the licences for characters ranging from the ninja turtles to the Holy Hand grenade from Monty Python to well, pick a franchise. My personal favorite? Lets just say that aiming to misbehave has thus far served me well in life.

But, one cannot make a film out of pop culture references alone. And here we get to one of several issues with the film. I mean it looks amazing, within seconds of getting out of the cinema I was texting both of the people I know telling them to see this film in IMAX 3d because my inner eight year old was fully in the driving seat and high on a sugar rush.

But, once that sugar rush faded I began to realize how generic the plot-line actually was, with an evil corporation taking on a gang of kids in order to gain control of a thing by undertaking a quest to collect three things. You’ve seen it done a million times and you’ve seen it done better. With villains who actually have backstories and seem slightly menacing or threatening. As well as heroes who have charisma in either the virtual or the real world. Or at least don’t make me wonder if i’m being reminded of a Final Fantasy character or the lead guy from Reboot. 

It’s packed full of cliches, with narration that repeats itself almost word for word maybe twenty minutes apart, with information that wasn’t terribly interesting or relevant the first time around. Also, the real world scenes seem like an imposition as well as dull and uninteresting compared with the rest of the film. It’s like going straight from a really, really sugary cake to Styrofoam at a seconds notice. It’s also to the films detriment as when i’m not being distracted by playing spot the Easter egg I begin to notice just how little I care about any of the people in this film.

Its all very predictable and to be honest I’m not sure how well it will hold up to repeat viewings as CGI visuals age badly and there’s very little to reward you for sitting through it again on the small screen once you’ve freeze-framed through all the film to see how many Easter eggs truly has.

And I wanted more of the real world explained to me. Is there a government? If so, how does a corporation get away with basically slave labor and having their own people abduct people off of the street? What exactly were the ‘Broadband Wars?’ And does anyone truly believe in the  speech that makes everyone fight for you cliche any more? If there world is running on fumes, how does everyone afford VR technology and how is a purely virtual world kept online with such limitations?

I’m not saying the film is hopeless, but once the sugar rush wears off you realize that this is basically The Goonies meets The Matrix whilst running through a Forbidden Planet with your hands outstretched, throwing everything in sight into your basket. And if that sounds fun to you then go see it. In IMAX 3D. I mean there’s absolutely  worse things out there but this could have been so much better. Just a develop the heroes a bit more, get a less generic villain, either develop or ditch the real world stuff, make the plot slightly more complex and you could have a winner.

I mean I fully expect the film to get a nomination for Best Visual Effects and whilst it’s true that the first bight is taken with the eye sooner or later the rest of you has to get involved at some point.

What a missed opportunity.

My Score- If Nothing Else