'The Meg:' A giant shark movie that lacks the killer bite

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Loosely based on the 1997 book, “Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror” by Steve Alten, the screen version has Statham playing an underwater rescue diver. (Supplied)
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Loosely based on the 1997 book, “Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror” by Steve Alten, the screen version has Statham playing an underwater rescue diver. (Supplied)
Updated 13 August 2018
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'The Meg:' A giant shark movie that lacks the killer bite

  • oosely based on the 1997 book, “Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror” by Steve Alten, the screen version has Statham playing an underwater rescue diver
  • “The Meg” has more excitement to offer, and somewhat along the lines of “Jaws” we see a second giant shark attacking beach swimmers

CHENNAI: It seems that “Jaws,” Steven Spielberg’s classic 1975 movie adapted from Peter Benchley’s novel, can never be dislodged from its high pedestal of sheer suspense and moments of terror.
About a giant man-eating shark, “Jaws” remains the best ever underwater drama, and in comparison Jon Turteltaub’s latest blue water ordeal, “The Meg,” pales.
The nail-biting thriller is not in the same league, despite Jason Statham’s exciting action sequences – which probably could be a major reason for Warner Brothers’ $44.5 million ticket sales in the film’s first weekend in the North American market.
Loosely based on the 1997 book, “Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror” by Steve Alten, the screen version has Statham playing an underwater rescue diver, Jonas Taylor, who is urgently summoned to save a group of scientists trapped in the Pacific Ocean.
Taylor’s former wife, Lori (Jessica McNamee) and two others, after a seemingly uneventful deep-sea exploration in a capsule, are attacked by a gigantic, 23-meter, pre-historic shark, Megalodon.
While Taylor succeeds in rescuing Lori and another scientist, the third dies. Back at the base station, the team discovers that the mammal had escaped from the depths after the capsule had breached a chemical cloud which had kept the dangerous creature imprisoned.
“The Meg” has more excitement to offer, and somewhat along the lines of “Jaws” we see a second giant shark attacking beach swimmers.
Many deaths follow, but somehow the movie does not create the kind of panic one would have expected in a shark-man conflict.
This is more like a B-grade horror movie to which summer crowds once flocked for air-conditioned comfort and a tub of popcorn.
Even if they ignored “Jaws” or other marine exploits such as “The Deep” (1977), a scintillating film based on another Benchley novel, the makers of “The Meg” would have seen the recent cliff-hanger, “Skyscraper.”
And these are far superior to “The Meg,” where the monster shark just lacks the killer bite.


Hawking’s final book offers brief answers to big questions

Updated 15 October 2018
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Hawking’s final book offers brief answers to big questions

  • Hawking was forever being asked the same things and started work on “Brief Answers to the Big Questions” last year before he died
  • “He was regularly asked a set of questions,” his daughter Lucy Hawking said

LONDON: Stephen Hawking’s final work, which tackles issues from the existence of God to the potential for time travel, was launched on Monday by his children, who helped complete the book after the British astrophysics giant’s death.
Hawking was forever being asked the same things and started work on “Brief Answers to the Big Questions” last year — but did not finish it before he died in March, aged 76.
It has been completed by the theoretical physicist’s family and academic colleagues, with material drawn from his vast personal archive.
“He was regularly asked a set of questions,” his daughter Lucy Hawking said at the Science Museum in London.
The book was an attempt to “bring together the most definitive, clearest, most authentic answers that he gave.
“We all just wish he has here to see it.”
Hawking, who was wheelchair bound due to motor neurone disease, dedicated his life’s work to unraveling the mysteries of the universe.
The cosmologist was propelled to stardom by his 1988 book “A Brief History of Time,” an unlikely worldwide bestseller.
It won over fans from far beyond the rarefied world of astrophysics and prompted people into asking the mastermind his thoughts on broader topics, answered in his final work.

The 10 questions Hawking tackles are:
-- Is there a God?
-- How did it all begin?
-- What is inside a black hole?
-- Can we predict the future?
-- Is time travel possible?
-- Will we survive on Earth?
-- Is there other intelligent life in the universe?
-- Should we colonize space?
-- Will artificial intelligence outsmart us?
-- How do we shape the future?


In his book, Hawking says humans have no option but to leave Earth, risking being “annihilated” if they do not.
He says computers will overtake humans in intelligence during the next 100 years, but “we will need to ensure that the computers have goals aligned with ours.”
Hawking says the human race had to improve its mental and physical qualities, but a genetically-modified race of superhumans, say with greater memory and disease resistance, would imperil the others.
He says that by the time people realize what is happening with climate change, it may be too late.
Hawking says the simplest explanation is that God does not exist and there is no reliable evidence for an afterlife, though people could live on through their influence and genes.
He says that in the next 50 years, we will come to understand how life began and possibly discover whether life exists elsewhere in the universe.
“He was deeply worried that at a time when the challenges are global, we were becoming increasingly local in our thinking,” Lucy Hawking said.
“It’s a call to unity, to humanity, to bring ourselves back together and really face up to the challenges in front of us.”
In his final academic paper, Hawking shed new light on black holes and the information paradox, with new work calculating the entropy of black holes.
Turned into an animation narrated by Hawking’s artificial voice, it was shown at the book launch.
“It was very emotional. I turned away because I had tears forming,” Lucy Hawking told AFP on hearing her father’s voice again.
“It feels sometimes like he’s still here because we talk about him and hear his voice — and then we have the reminder that he’s left us.”