'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.


Curious foreigners get rare chance to sample Emirati culture

Updated 19 May 2019
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Curious foreigners get rare chance to sample Emirati culture

DUBAI: No question was off limits for curious tourists and foreign residents of Dubai wanting to learn more about Emirati culture and the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
Emiratis make up less than 10% of those living in Dubai, the most populated emirate in the seven-emirate United Arab Emirates federation, making it hard for foreigners to meet them.
Dubai goes to great lengths to market itself as open to different cultures and faiths as the Middle East’s financial, trade and leisure center, and a government cultural center is inviting visitors to find out more about Emirati life.
“There are no offending questions,” said Emirati Rashid Al-Tamimi from the Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding.
“How do you worship, what is the mosque, why do you wear white, why do women wear black ... is everybody rich in this country?“
Emirati volunteers gathered at a majlis — the traditional sitting room where the end-of-fast iftar meal is served at floor-level — were asked about dating and marriage, what they think of Dubai’s comparatively liberal dress codes for foreigners, and aspects of the Muslim faith.
“We learn from them, they learn from us. (Foreigners) have been here a long time and I feel they see themselves as Emiratis, and we are proud that they do so,” said Majida Al-Gharib a student volunteer.
Visitors broke the day’s fast with dates and water, before sampling Emirati cuisine, including biryani and machboos rice and meat dishes.
Seven-year-old Anthony from Poland, who goes to school in Dubai, said he came to find out more about the breaking of the fast meal because many of his friends at school do it.
2019 has been designated the Year of Tolerance in the United Arab Emirates and there is a minister of state for tolerance.