I was a kid living near the beach in the 70’s. Thanks to Jaws, that means I was traumatized rather early by the idea of sharks ripping off my legs if I wondered into two feet deep water. I got that fear but there is something about shark movies that always brings to mind the simple horrors of childhood. Forget Pennywise, my fear as a kid was sea monsters.
The Meg is a big action movie with Jason Statham and it is okay. There is a big prehistoric shark and the bald British guy beats it by driving a sub really well. It is what you expect out of Hollywood and it was a fun distraction.
The book the movie is based on, Meg: a Novel of Deep Terror, is crazy town. There is a big prehistoric shark and it proceeds to scare the shit out of the reader in every chapter. The United States Navy gets involved and loses. The giant shark terrorizes whales, surfers, boats, nuclear submarines and one really bitchy reporter. It culminates in a big battle that ends with a character pulling the beating heart of the shark out of the shark. It is a completely ludicrous story that never hits the brakes.
Sadly, it is also a story with characters so cliched that calling them one-dimensional gives them too much depth. There are only two women, the Evil Bitch, and the Bitch Who Gets Nice to the Hero Later. Men are either Good or Dishonest Assholes. It was written in the late nineties but it feels like a retrograde Ian Fleming novel.
But, I am not kidding when I say the shark scenes are fucking cool. Remember that scene in Jaws where one guy is tossing chum into the water? He turns to talk to someone, and then turns back to water just in time to see Jaws about to take his hand off? Remember how that scene made you realize death could strike at any moment? Well, once the giant shark appears in the Meg, those scenes happen in every chapter. It is so nice to have a book that made me swear constantly because of the HOLY SHIT moments.
So yeah, if you want giant shark action, give the book a try. If you rather not read the horrible gender portrayals, then stick with the movie. It won’t be as fun, but you get women with real personalities and a wet Jason Statham.