In a bid to conquer the cinematic waves, Meg 2: The Trench takes a plunge into murky waters, but unfortunately, it fails to swim upstream against its own shortcomings. As a dedicated advocate of the original The Meg, it’s with a heavy heart that I must declare Ben Wheatley’s sequel, Meg 2: The Trench, a colossal letdown. The writing trio, comprised of Jon Hoeber, Erich Hoeber, and Dean Georgaris, seem to have taken the wrong cues, borrowing haphazardly from superior predecessors, resulting in a film that drowns in unoriginality.
Uninspired Borrowings and Underwhelming Execution
Meg 2: The Trench shamelessly raids the treasure trove of successful monster movies, but the loot doesn’t enhance its own storyline. Faint echoes of James Cameron’s Aliens, Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park: The Lost World, and William Eubank’s Underwater reverberate through the film, and the comparisons are far from flattering. Instead of carving its own path, Meg 2: The Trench simply wades in waters that have been explored countless times before, leaving audiences with an overwhelming sense of déjà vu.
Character Depth Takes a Dive
Returning to the fray is Jason Statham as the intrepid diver, Jonas Taylor. Yet, the script does little justice in acquainting viewers with his past exploits in the realm of aquatic cryptozoology. The absence of Suyin Zhang (Li Bingbing) casts a shadow over the narrative, replaced by her brother Jiuming (played by Chinese action star Wu Jing). The romantic tension that once added depth to the characters is sorely missed, as Statham reverts to a generic action-hero stereotype, and the chemistry between characters falls flat.
Lost at Sea: Narrative and Script
The screenplay flounders in its attempts to bridge the gap between The Meg and Meg 2, leading to a disjointed and unsatisfying narrative progression. As Jiuming’s oceanic research project becomes ensnared in corporate rivalry, the film treads water with lackluster storytelling, displaying none of the finesse seen in Wheatley’s previous works. The dialogue feels mechanical, lacking the spark that would have breathed life into the characters and their interactions.
A Descent into Visual Mediocrity
The initial allure of the unexplored ocean depths is quickly extinguished when Meg 2 surfaces for a series of underwater feeding frenzies at “Fun Island.” While moments of underwater beauty dazzle with neon flora and vibrant marine life, the film’s descent into the abyss of poor green screen usage tarnishes the spectacle. The digital effects, especially in the latter half, appear rushed and disjointed, creating a jarring contrast with the more polished opening scenes.
Anemic Thrills and Shallow Frights
Despite the potential for visceral horror, Meg 2 shies away from exploiting the depths of fear. The scares are few and far between, and the meg-related carnage fails to elicit the desired impact. The toothy megalodons become mere props, swallowing victims with predictable repetition. The film’s attempts to shock and awe ultimately feel toothless.
Sinking Quality and Missed Opportunities
The movie’s initial third, characterized by a tense survival-horror scenario, hints at promise. However, this early glimmer of hope is swiftly extinguished as the film descends into a quagmire of uninspired performances and lackluster special effects. Even established actors like Sienna Guillory and Skyler Samuels fail to inject life into their roles, leaving the viewer yearning for more compelling portrayals.
A Glimmer of Redemption
Amidst the murky waters, a few bright spots emerge. Page Kennedy as returning engineer DJ injects some much-needed energy, while Cliff Curtis manages to elicit occasional chuckles. The introduction of reptilian mini-predators adds a layer of tension, injecting some adrenaline into the otherwise stagnant plot.
A Sunken Ship of a Sequel
In the end, Meg 2: The Trench sinks under the weight of its own ambitions. Wheatley’s direction lacks the finesse and creativity seen in his previous works, resulting in a sequel that feels more like a collage of borrowed elements than a cohesive film. The lack of individuality and passion for the craft is palpable, leaving audiences with a shallow and forgettable cinematic experience.
In the vast sea of cinematic offerings, Meg 2: The Trench struggles to stay afloat, failing to rise above its derivative nature and lackluster execution. As a dedicated lover of shark movies and a staunch supporter of The Meg, it pains me to declare this sequel a missed opportunity, lost in the depths of mediocrity.