As it turns out, the book version of Jason Statham's upcoming movie "The Meg" is a fantasy, and the reason why has nothing to do with giant sharks. While we all wait for a movie that's climactic scene will inevitably be a 50-year-old man pretending he's a 30-year-old man kicking a shark in the face, some people have looked at the book that the script is based on, and it just might be amazing.
Here's a reminder: Author Steve Alten didn't just write a book called "Meg." He wrote a series called "Meg," which is based on a surviving prehistoric shark, the megalodon. Alten has a master's degree in sports medicine, by the way, plus a doctorate in sports administration, so this is either the best or most irresponsible use of those degrees. Note: There is no degree for archaeology or paleobiology here.
Extremely Stefan from SNL voice: "This book has everything. A prehistoric shark, overdue bills, an angry teenage daughter, whale beachings, and Pat Burrell."
Okay, I know that you have about a billion questions here, because I definitely know that I do. So what I'm going to do is go excerpt by excerpt (hat tip to Cole Kuiper for pointing these out on Twitter) to see if I can unpack this nonsense. Hint: Probably not.
MEG: PRIMAL WATERS
Subtle. Got it.
"--every Giants late-August home game more than a decade ago when Barry Bonds surpassed Hank Aaron's long-held record of 755 career home runs. When Bonds finally did catch Aaron, it was on the road, disappointing the Bay Area crowd."
Some much-needed exposition for the non-baseball crowd reading "Meg." It appears that Alten is going to have a fictional player break Barry Bonds' controversial home run record. Only this time, it will be a visitor in AT&T Park. Looks like the San Francisco crowd will be disappointed once again.
"Now, with Philadelphia Phillies slugger Pat Burrell closing in on Bonds's record, the San Franciscans are arriving in droves. Some to cheer, most to boo, all wanting to be a part of baseball history.
"The boaters in McCovey Cove want something more."
Wait -- WHAT?! You have the baseball world at your fingertips, and you chose Pat Freaking Burrell?! Why? Keep in mind, "Primal Waters" was published in 2004. At this point, Burrell had been in the league for four years and hit 103 home runs, an average of 26 per season. Now, that's hardly a bad rate. I'm not going to sully Pat Burrell's good name, he has a well-earned spot on the Phillies' Wall of Fame, and I'm sure he's a great guy.
With that being said, I don't think most people look at those numbers and go "this guy, this guy is going to break a record." Weirdly, Burrell finished his career at 292 home runs -- with the Giants. So maybe Alten's crystal ball was a little dusty the day he put pen to paper.
"The chaos below creates a massive domino effect as hundreds of tightly packed watercraft are lifted and bashed against one another as if caught in a powerful eddy. For a moment the baseball game is completely forgotten as irate boaters yell and scream and threaten one another, all unaware of the ominous presence still circling beneath their vessels, feeding on the remains of the Great White.
"The sound of the Pac Bell crowd restores order as Pat Burrell comes to bat in the fourth inning."
Steve, buddy, just make it bottom of the ninth two outs down three with the bases loaded in a play-in playoff game. Making it the fourth inning doesn't make this any more organic. Also, this is the third book in the "Meg" series, how are people still unaware of the dinosaur shark underneath them?
"Ronald readies his fishing net.
"Sue and Spencer emerge from below, the couple holding hands as the radio blares: '....Jackson takes his lead off first, and here's the two strike pitch to Burrell...'
"'And there's a long fly ball to deep right field ... Perry Meth is way back ... he's at the warning track ... and that ball is outta here! A two-run monster shot for Pat Burrell, who has just become baseball's all-time leading home run leader! Wow."
First thing's first, and I hate to be grammar guy, but all-time leading home run leader huh? Second of all, I absolutely love when baseball announcers' calls get written out, because they're always amazing. Like the guy that just watched Pat Burrell break the home run record would just respond "wow." I know that you need to make the announcers stereotypes -- Baseball fans aren't your target audience. But in that case, explain this entire scene to me.
"'Sweet Jesus ... it's like a human smorgasbord out there.' Mac grabs David's arm. 'Come on!'
"They race down the aisle, heading for the parking lot, leaving behind the shrieking crowd and the thundering helicopters and the home run music still blasting from a thousand speakers, and the stunned commissioner of Major League Baseball, who stands in horror in his skybox seat, wondering if he should call the game an inning before it becomes official."
To be quite honest, that commissioner quip might redeem this entire passage. Like he's just watching this shark that was apparently super triggered by a Pat Burrell home run going "man, should I call this game?" Also, home run music. I can only assume that that shark tore up to the surface going "BARRY BONDS' HOME RUN RECORD IS NOT STAINED THE COMPETITIVE FIELD WAS LEVEL AND EVEN BEFORE HIS QUESTIONABLE SIZE INCREASE HE WAS ON A RECORD PACE!"
Anyways, I'm buying tickets to this for a midnight showing, but if 41-year-old Pat Burrell doesn't come on-screen I'm demanding my money back.