Meg 2: The Trench Blu-ray Review: Works Best When It Repeats What Worked Before

Based (loosely) on The Trench, the second novel in Steve Alten’s Meg book series, Meg 2: The Trench is a sequel to The Meg, although returning screenwriters Dean Georgaris, Erich Hoeber, and Jon Hoeber take too long to figure out what worked previously in this uneven mash-up of other action movies.

A few years have passed since the first movie. Jonas Taylor (Jason Statham) and his “family” return to the Mana One station where exploration of the Mariana Trench continues. Backed by financier Hillary Driscoll (Sienna Guillory), scientist Jiuming Zhang (Wu Jing), brother of the late Suyin, is now Mana One’s director. Among the projects Jiuming works on is training a young megalodon they hold in captivity. The training is dangerous and Jonas has no faith in it working,

While exploring the Trench, Jonas and the expedition team encounter more megalodons and raptor-like amphibious creatures referred to in the Special Features as “snappers.” They also discover a clandestine mining operation whose funder is willing to order the interlopers be killed to keep the activities secret. At this point, Meg 2 becomes a battle royale for most of the remainder of the movie as Team Jonas takes on corporate mercenaries while both groups deal with hungry Trench creatures. The fighting takes the combatants to Fun Island, a heavily populated, tropical resort.

Meg 2 is tonally and visually disjointed. It begins somewhat serious, like an industrial thriller, as Jonas and the team battle villains driven by greed in set pieces that taken place amidst undersea darkness. Characters die and there’s little humor. Then about halfway through, the action takes place on the Mana One’s decks and at Fun Island, both locations sunlit, and the latter featuring many bright colors in the production design. All the previous seriousness subsides, as if the moviemakers decided the movie should now be fun.

From this point on, there’s humor, both from the characters and within action scenes. For example, when a megalodon eats someone at the Trench, the death feels grim. At Fun Island, some plot developments are campy, allowing for a megalodon murder to feel different in the latter half. It’s unfortunate they didn’t use a campy mindset for the entire movie, as I couldn’t take the serious portion too serious.

The video has been given a 1080p/MPEG-4 AVC encoded transfer displayed at the movie’s original aspect ratio of 2.39:1. The colors come through in a wide spectrum of hues, from dark reds in the Trench to a great variety including fluorescent colors at Fun Island. Black are inky and don’t crush. The image typically delivers a sharp focus, although underwater scenes are intentionally softer for appearances of the setting, and a good amount of depth. Fine texture detail is present.

The audio is Dolby Atmos, which drops down to Dolby TrueHD 7.1. The dialogue is clear. The effects deliver ambiance and objects are noticeably positioned and move across channels. Composer Harry Gregson-Williams’ score evokes the emotion of scenes as it plays through the surround speaker. The subwoofer delivers good oomph to the action sequences, particularly explosions.

The Special Features are:

  • The Making of Meg 2: The Trench (13 min): Cast and crew talk about the approach to the sequel.
  • Up From the Depths: Even More Beasts (10 min): The same group talk about the new creatures.

Meg 2: The Trench stumbles out of the gate as the serious tone of the first half isn’t in line nor does it work as well as the campiness of the second half. And campiness is more preferred when it comes to monster movies featuring actors like Jason Statham fighting against giant sharks and dinosaurs. It’s one of the few times where the sequel works best when it repeats what worked before.

In addition to the nods to Steven Spielberg’s Jaws and Jurassic Park, Meg 2 also tips its hat to the Fast and Furious franchise with the multiracial family at its center. They are a likable group and all get scenes to shine. The Blu-ray delivers a quality high-definition presentation, but is lacking in Special Features.

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Gordon S. Miller

Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of this site. "I'm making this up as I go" - Indiana Jones

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