by Travis Flatt
August 3, 2123
“We got rocks,” says first mate Kale (voiced by reproduced recordings of Sir Timothy Chalamet). He points his barnacled iron finger starboard off the “Trusty Crusty” hovercraft deck. The battle-scarred, weather-worn vessel glides over a rippling, trash-strewn, moss-green sea. A pocket of sky pops open through the shaggy black carpet of smog encapsulating the stratosphere. An enormous CGI sun roars down upon our cyborg first mate.
Nearby, napping on deck, Jonas (Jason Statham Jr., a spry 116) rouses and rises from his plastic-slatted folding bed chair. He squints through the hellish sunlight, reaches a wrinkled hand into an ice bucket, and retrieves a pair of beat-up, black binoculars. Peering and grimacing, he whispers his catchphrase: “Well, I’ll be darned.” The audience mouths the words along with him and grin.
Close-up of blasted, heat-hazy rocks. There are three of them, brown and weathered, poking up like turd tips from the green garbage stew. Jonas loudly boops a button on his watch. A holographic map appears in the air above his wrist. Although their location–Japan–is clearly labeled on said map, he asks Kale, “Where you think we are?”
Most of the men in the audience lean into their girlfriends/wives and whisper, “Japan.”
“Japan,” says Kale, an iron skeleton with a glass jar head, Chalamet’s face CGI-ed inside, and adds, “Meg cuh-cuh-cuh-cuh–” Jonas reaches and bonks the jar with his binoculars, crackling the audience with laughter “--unt–” more laughter, second bonk “--ree.”
Jonas scowls, his face trenched with wrinkles. “Better get Sinbad.”
Appreciative, anticipatory smiles from the audience.
But the captain of the Trusty Crusty appears before either man or robot can call. Sinbad (the Rock, seemingly unaged) stomps up from below deck and gazes heroically into the distance. No particular distance. Just the distance.
“Let’s rock,” Sinbad says under his breath. The audience explodes in cheers and applause.
There’s like an hour of the hovercraft sailing around rocks, the men talking insipid, science-sounding bullshit about testing the water for supersonic-sonar wavelengths and readouts. Readouts of or by what? Who knows.
The audience sits in a stadium held aloft by a network of aluminum cables within a sun-shielded glass sphere above a green sea, similar to that of the film, watching The Meg 14: Sindbad’s Voyage projected all around. During this time, some can forget.
The Trusty Crusty rides a tsunami like a surfboard. At rising speed, the titular Meg, an enormous shark, or Megalodon, gives chase. All of this happens horizontally, skimming the giant wave. Some of the audience stands in anxious excitement, which might annoy the people behind them if they couldn’t look up, down, sideways, or backward.
Since apparently no one remembers Jaws, Chalamet’s character, Kale, hurriedly straps himself with a shit-ton of plastic explosives while Sinbad splashes him with crimson chum. Seeing where this is going, the more sentimental in the audience grows verklempt.
As he prepares to dive off the back of the hovercraft, Kale begins a short speech: “Don’t worry, guys–I’m not scuh-scuh-scuh–” but with the Meg bearing down, all yellow teeth and cavernous throat, Jonas boots him in the chest, sending Kale overboard and into the Meg’s gaping maw. Mixture of giggles and gasps from the audience.
Kale/Chalamet disappears down the Meg. The monster gulps, its eyes briefly closing in satisfaction. Sinbad and Jonas hug, weeping at the loss of their cybernetic pal. In focus groups, the studios find audiences prefer their hero hunks to be in touch with their feelings. They often overcompensate.
Its guts full of semtex and C-4, the Meg erupts violently, splattering hovercraft, heroes, and the camera lens with chunks of gore. Even the tsunami turns red.
The audience cheers. The female lead, who hitherto has done nothing of note, appears and embraces Sinbad. Jonas delivers a few salty one-liners.
The credits roll. The audience lines up, sighs in contentment, and is pooped out of the cinema sphere onto the artificial island where they live their short, cancer-riddled lives. They anxiously anticipate the as-yet unannounced, but rumored-in-production, Meg 15.
Travis Flatt is an epileptic teacher living in the dead center of Tennessee. He likes dogs and theater.