The Meg is Closer to ‘Jaws’ Than ‘Sharknado’

MOVIE REVIEW When Steven Spielberg’s Jaws opened in theaters in 1975, it took the world by storm. Not only was the movie hugely popular as it was genuinely scary, it actually affected society in a strange way. Audiences began to have an irrational fear of sharks even when swimming at a lake. When Jaws 2 came to theaters three years later, everyone knew the catchphrase, “Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water…” Since then, it’s been hard for movie studios to be able to drum up the same excitement with their own Jaws knock-offs. Shark movies became a joke. Even Jaws 3 and Jaws: The Revenge were met with disdain (and with good reason). But sharks are still a popular subject, just not one that we take very seriously anymore.
This brings us to next big shark movie, The Meg which judging from the trailers alone, looks like another campy knock-off movie and while it indeed is campy, it isn’t as much as you would think. When comparing movies, The Meg is closer to Jaws tha…

Ashley Judd is One Tough Mother

MISSING - ABC's "Missing" stars Sean Bean as Paul Winstone,
Ashley Judd as Becca Winstone, Cliff Curtis as Dax, Adriano Giannini
 as Giancarlo, Nick Eversman as Michael Winstone and
Tereza Voriskova as Oksana. 
  • “I am not CIA. I am a mother looking for her son.” That’s not a line you hear every day, but then again, it’s not every day that Becca Winstone loses her son. And Becca Winstone isn’t an ordinary mom.
ABC’s “Missing” is the new spy thriller action adventure which appears to be a cross between the former ABC show, “Alias” and Liam Neeson’s movie, “Taken.” At the beginning of the pilot, everything appears to be rosy for the Winstone family. Becca (Ashley Judd) is out jogging and thinking that it is time to add another child to the family. Little Michael is on vacation with his CIA agent father, Paul (Sean Bean, "Game of Thrones"). Everything is so rosy in fact, that you just know that it’s not going to last very long. And it doesn’t. In about two minutes into the program, Michael witnesses his father’s death.
As the commercials promise, Michael goes “missing” in just a couple of weeks on his new venture and Becca imagines the worst. In no time at all, she is flying to across the globe, meeting up with people she knew a long time ago and having to relive the life she left behind years earlier.Fast forward 10 years, and Michael (Nick Eversman) is now 18. He is given the opportunity to study abroad and Becca reluctantly agrees to let him go. The dialogue is still syrupy sweet with Michael telling his mom, “you don’t need to protect me anymore” and she replying that she is his mother and she will always protect him. At first blush, it appears that Michael is a momma’s boy, but what he doesn’t know is that not only was his father a CIA agent, but so was his mother.
With exception to some cheesy lines, Judd is excellent in this role and makes it quite clear that the bad people have messed with the wrong mother. The show if full of action and mystery and ends on a cliff-hanging note. It will be interesting to see if the cast and crew can keep this momentum up every week. It’s not clear if the show will have an procedural element to it or if each episode will be treated like a chapter in a book. Hopefully, the latter. NBC’s short-lived series, “The Firm,” tried to do both and it didn’t work out so well for them.
The pilot of “Missing” was a great ride and has me looking forward to next week’s episode. It certainly has the “girl power” factor, but is has more than that. Judd is also in her mid 40’s and she is a mother. I can’t remember another show with that same combination.
Missing” airs Thursday, March 15 on ABC at 8:00 p.m., but don’t confuse it with a family show. It’s pretty violent for that time slot.


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