Every once in a while, there comes a new motion picture that just has ‘Dad’s night out’ written all over it. Such a movie is The Meg, which will see Jason Statham do battle with a 75-foot prehistoric ancestor of the great white shark, known as the Megaladon.

Excited yet? Maybe you will be after watching the newly-released trailer below:

Those who take a vested interest in all things related to oversized sea monsters may know that The Meg has been a long time coming: 21 years, to be exact.

Author Steve Alten’s Meg: A Novel of Deep Sea Terror was first published back in July 1997, and given its obvious cinematic potential (the prologue chapter sees the Megaldon wolf down a T-Rex, for crying out loud), the movie rights were promptly snapped up by New Line Cinema.

Despite directors including Jan De Bont and Guillermo del Toro being linked, it failed to gain momentum; New Line parent company Warner Bros opted to instead produce a rival shark project, 1999’s Deep Blue Sea (and grateful we are for that slice of B-movie heaven).

In the two decades since, Alten has published an ongoing Meg series (the sixth novel, Meg: Generations, is available for pre-order now), but for the longest time it looked like the Meg movie would never escape development hell.

But now, two key power sources have finally brought the film to life. One: the addition of ‘The’ to the title. Two: the casting of the single manliest leading man actor of the 21st century, Jason Statham, as heroic Navy diver Jonas Taylor.

From the premise and the lead casting alone, The Meg’s essential dad movie credentials were never in doubt – and the above still of Statham and co-star Li Bingbing, the first officially released image from the production, only cemented the inherent dadliness further.

I mean, just look at that turtleneck. Look at it. That’s a masterpiece of dad couture.

Now we’ve seen the trailer, surely anyone with a taste for testosterone-fuelled entertainment is feverish with anticipation. After a nicely suspenseful build-up, it then promises to go all-out there with ridiculous spectacle; like Jaws, but several times bigger.

Yes, of course, Jaws comparisons are inevitable. Whatever happens, it’s profoundly unlikely that The Meg will dethrone Steven Spielberg’s 1975 classic as the greatest shark movie ever.

But after so many years in which sharks have featured almost exclusively in cut-price direct-to-DVD schlockfests like the Sharknado series, isn’t it nice to see the mighty predators given their due on the big screen once more?

It may come as a slight disappointment to some that The Meg has been passed PG-13 in the US, meaning its UK rating is likely to be 12A (though this is by no means certain, as the BBFC tend to be stricter on horror). This surely means that the more gruesome excesses of Alten’s novel – the utterly barmy climax in particular – are unlikely to make it to the screen.

But let’s not forget, for many years Jaws was rated PG. And who among us doesn’t look back fondly on being traumatised by the sight of little Alex Kitner disappearing in a fountain of gore, and Quint puking up blood whilst the great white sinks its teeth into his gut? So who’s to say The Meg won’t have a similar bite (though we wouldn’t be too surprised if it’s a bit milder).

Jon Turteltaub directs, and Statham and Li Bingbing are joined by Rainn Wilson, Ruby Rose, Winston Chao and Cliff Curtis.

The Meg opens in UK cinemas on 10th August.

Update – Warner Bros have released a second, slightly more serious international trailer:

 

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