The first trailer for the Jason Statham giant-shark action movie The Meg is out, and surprise! It turns out it’s a far-future science-fiction movie set in a high-tech deep-sea research station that strongly resembles a space station. The tone is grave and serious, like Alien mixed with the better parts of Sphere. There are some shocks, but clearly this is a tension-packed, grim future-horror movie.
Or wait, no, that’s just the first half of the trailer. The second half reveals it’s actually a wacky mega-monster movie along the lines of Sharktopus, complete with dog reaction shots and one-liners. Also, Bobby Darin is singing his swinging, upbeat rendition of “Beyond The Sea” for some reason.
Or wait, given the visual references to Jaws and to shark science, maybe it’s trying to do something serious after all? And Jason Statham is certainly acting like he’s in one of his many straight-faced action movies. But c’mon, someone’s trying to escape a building-sized shark by running away from it in a Zorb ball. What exactly is going on in this trailer?
The easy answer is that it’s the latest film from producer/director Jon Turteltaub, who also made National Treasure, National Treasure: Book of Secrets, and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, all movies that whiplash wildly in tone, but are pretty entertaining if not taken remotely seriously. Turteltaub’s movies often feel like he started out making either a comedy or a straitlaced action movie, then got distracted and lost his grip on the tone. But the results can be fun, if only because they’re so offbeat and over the top.
Taking the trailer at face value, we can assume this movie is another Turteltaub special that throws in everything he could think of: it’s obviously a science-based, well-researched look at the unlikely resurgence of Carcharocles megalodon, a prehistoric proto-shark. But it’s also a lively comedy about people trying to drop the best joke or snappy action one-liner while not getting eaten by a floppy special effect. By the looks of it, it will be everything and nothing, a grab-bag of tones and images and ideas, all thrown into one frothing sack and given a good shake. It’s bizarre, it’s confusing, and it’s pretty hilarious. The movie is out August 10th.