Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the movie theater, The Meg swims in and threatens to eat characters you might get attached to, in what could be the last summer blockbuster of the season. Jason Statham and a cast of diverse actors and talents offer themselves as a buffet to a particularly pissed off Megalodon, and what's better, this process has been pushed through the prism of 3D spectacle. Which leaves us asking the question it's always safe to ask: to 3D, or not to 3D?
If you're wondering what we thought of the movie itself, you can swim over to our review proper of The Meg, and read away. However, much like Statham's protagonist in the film, it's time for us to tangle with a familiar beast, in the name of the audience. Grab a harpoon, strap on your goggles, and prepare to dive beyond the window with us, as we take a look at the 3D presentation of The Meg!
To a certain extent, The Meg has always promised the audience visual panache and eye-popping thrills. Every ad, trailer, and poster plays with the expectations of depth and life being given to the picture that would unfold on the screen. So with exploding ships, vengeful sharks, and that huge mouth just waiting to swallow anything in its path, 3D would be a fantastic addition to The Meg. Provided, of course, that the conversion is done correctly.
For a film that nails the aspect of depth as well as The Meg does, it's a real big surprise that the folks behind the 3D magic didn't pay as much attention to throwing things off of the screen and into the audience at a consistent. Also, with a film as dark as this one is at times, it's a welcome respite to see those scenes not totally washed out, but the whole picture does suffer from a bit of a grey wash over its visuals. Throw in some sequences that wonk the eyes out a bit, and you've got a 3D presentation that should have been better, and comes up way short.
During the last 20 minutes or so of The Meg, the before-the-window thrills are pretty damned exciting. I flinched more than once at things being thrown out of the screen, and there's one big money shot with Jason Statham and the titular creature that may as well be a lenticular cover to the 3D Blu-ray. So why then is the rest of the damned movie not as impressive? Barely anything gets projected towards the screen with as much gusto as that last sequence, but boy did that last sequence have fun with its efforts.
There's some serious depth to The Meg's 3D picture, and it's the most impressive feature on the film's presentation. With tons of wide shots above and below water that show off the true expansive nature of the sea, you can really feel the depth in each frame of the action. Not to mention, atmospheric effects like bubbles, detritus, and various creatures swimming by are portrayed pitch perfectly. Spatial reasoning is also crisply defined, with characters clearly separated from their co-stars, and their environments.
Yes, The Meg has some pretty dark sequences set in various crafts, enclosed locations, and in the vastness of the deep blue sea. But those pieces of the film's narrative aren't where the brightness of the 3D picture fail. Rather, it's any time that the action goes topside, in broad daylight,that this segment seems to lack the punch it deserves. This comes from two factors that could vary in your showing of The Meg, one of which is the fact that the 3D glasses needed to see the film will dim the picture to a certain degree. With your local theater's projector potentially not being maintenanced or calibrated properly between showings, this just adds to the possibility that your 3D experience may be less than optimal.
The blur of The Meg is pretty strong for the most part, as those moments that you take off your glasses to get some visual air will be extremely shaky looking. However, during some of the close up moments in the film's 3D presentation, it can be observed that certain aspects are more 2D than those that surround them. While this might be a way to anchor the rest of the third dimensional effects of the picture, there's still minor pieces here and there that manage to stick out.
A dim picture puts more than the usual strain on the viewers eyes when partaking in a 3D presentation, and that's where the bulk of The Meg's problems lie. However, there are also scenes that cut or pan in such a jarring manner that your eyes may get a bit confused while watching the film's third dimensionally enhanced product. It's a mostly stable experience, but you'll probably find yourself checking the blur quite a bit during this one.
The Meg is a middling 3D experience that, executed better, could have been a massive entertainment. It's not terrible, but the thrills really don't kick in until the end of the film, leaving the majority of the picture looking slightly immersive. Still, if you're looking for a couple of minutes worth of 3D thrills, and can sit through a decent if unimpressive 3D conversion for the first two thirds, you might have a lot of fun swimming with The Meg in the third dimensional waters.
How will you see The Meg?
Be sure to visit our full To 3D Or Not To 3D Archive.