4) The Meg: Uneventful Beach Attack
Chekhov’s Gun is a revered creative principle, stipulating that each element of a story must be relevant and needs to have some form of pay off. So, for instance, if you draw attention to the fact that there’s a firearm in the background of a scene then it stands to reason that it should be used. If that’s not the case, then it’s best to get rid of it altogether, with the logic being that it’s wrong to ‘’make promises you don’t mean to keep’’.
Like all these things, Chekhov’s Gun is more of a guideline than a hard-and-fast rule, still you probably ought to have a good reason if you plan on dismissing it. Perhaps you intend to subvert expectations and are deliberately misdirecting? Or maybe you’re the director of The Meg and have never really cracked this whole storytelling malarkey. I mean, how else would you explain the film’s exceptionally boring beach attack?
Completely wiping its ass with Chekhov’s gun in the most unfulfilling way imaginable, the movie teases a potentially glorious set-piece and then does nothing with it. To set the scene, the titular prehistoric shark arrives at a heavily populated resort, filled with all kinds of crazy possibilities. There’s rafts begging to be overturned, inflatable hamster balls ripe for chasing, and jet-skis all revved up for high speed shenanigans. Not to mention the all-you-can-eat-buffet of swimmers, ready to supplement the film’s body count.
And what do we get instead? A weirdly disinterested monster, aimlessly drifting by and not really bothering anyone. It’s utterly bewildering! I have no idea why they would establish such a tantalizing premise, only to then completely deflate the idea in this way (though I suspect it might have something to do with that ill-fitting PG-13 certificate). What’s more, the few casualties that do occur are purely accidental, because the Meg is apparently just a big Klutz and can’t help bumping into things.
As if to rub salt in the wound, they then have the audacity to relocate the finale out in the middle of the ocean, setting the stage for another tame and bloodless showdown with no threat of collateral damage. Lame!
3) Solo: A Star Wars Story: The Slave Revolt
If you’re one of the 6 people that actually purchased a ticket for Solo: A Star Wars Story, then you might be querying why this innocuous set-piece has made it onto this list. Well, there are two reasons.
First, it’s tainted by the ghastly visual aesthetic that plagues the entire production. You know, where every shot looks like the cinematographer forgot to turn off the camera’s ND filter. Given that this sequence already takes place underground and in the dark, it’s more noticeably hindered by this regrettable creative decision and you might even struggle to make out some of the characters thanks to the dim lighting.
The second and infinitely more aggravating problem however, is that the chain of events is instigated by the most vexing addition to recent Star Wars canon: L3-37. I’m sorry, I know some people have come to the defensive of this irritating shit-stick, but I found her to be absolutely unbearable and the fact that she dominates this significant portion of the movie really killed any sense of investment for me.
Why? Because I was constantly being yanked out of the action by her obnoxious yelling and excruciating attempts at comedy. Before long, I was overcome with a powerful urge to puncture my own ear drums with a pencil, just so that I didn’t have to listen to anymore of her gibbering bollocks. It’s a pity, because if you removed her from the equation then you’d be left with a perfectly adequate caper/ breakout. But then again, that’s the issue isn’t it? You can’t remove a hideous stain like this, no matter how hard you try to ignore it.
The only saving grace is that we’re eventually put out of our misery, when L3 finally kicks the bucket. But it’s too late, the damage had already been done.
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