- Review by Kaya Savas - October 11, 2018
The Meg gave us a much needed jolt of ridiculous fun this summer. Director Jon Turteltaub united with Harry Gregson-Williams for the first time, for an overall pleasant entry into the shark movie genre. The score isn’t without its problems, and that’s mostly due to inconsistent pacing and tone issues with the film.
Thankfully the shark genre has become saturated enough that not every movie will be compared to Jaws. With SyFy movies like Sharknado and older B-movie favorites like Deep Blue Sea, the shark genre has embraced enough cheesiness that we expect them to be fun distractions and nothing more. What Harry did with The Meg was actually take the tone pretty seriously, and it works well with the film. The film takes place in China, and Harry embraced some musical flavors of the region, but the score itself is a pure Harry score. The music does a great job of propelling the action forward, adding some intensity and surprisingly a bit of warmth and awe. Structurally, all the pieces are in place but the film itself feels a bit cobbled together to the point that it loses momentum easily. On the album we get a better sense of Harry’s intended pacing and arc, but within the film the music is easily lost. This results in a less impactful score than you would have hoped for in a movie like this.
The one thing missing is a musical presence for the shark. When the shark appears onscreen we hardly feel anything from the score, even though Harry did write a great central theme. Plus the action set pieces are not structured too well, so the music has a hard time finding those memorable moments. One could argue that the movie played it too safe, especially when going for the PG-13 rating. If you look at another B shark movie like Deep Blue Sea, that film embraced a stylish edge to its ridiculousness. Trevor Rabin’s score was also utilized much better, especially for the final act.
While Harry pumps a good amount of his own style into this movie, it gets lost in the generic approach of the film as a whole. Maybe we can credit it to the fact that this was the first time Turteltaub and Harry worked together, but the script itself was so weak that the movie didn’t stand much of a chance.
The Meg has had an immensely long journey finding its way to the screen, dating back to 1996 when the rights of the novel were first sold. With production starting and stalling a number of times over the past 22 years, the movie finally found its way to the big screen. But in the end, The Meg becomes a forgettable shark picture with only a handful of entertaining moments. Harry’s score gets crushed under the weight of bad pacing and poor structure, but the music still found a way to make it generally entertaining. There’s much worse shark pictures out there, and in the end The Meg turns out to be harmless fun.