Discussion about the 2018 film The Meg, directed by Jon Turtletaub.

You may want to watch the film first and think about:

  • What does the film make you feel about the shark?
  • What human impacts on the ocean are depicted?

What the film did well

  • Magical moments descending below the thermocline and seeing all the life and diversity.
  • Plausible design of underwater research station and vehicles.
  • Plenty of moments appreciating the size and power of megalodon sharks.
  • Moments highlighting modern ecological concerns.
    • Plastic pollution
    • Persecution and hunting of sharks for their fins
    • Larger animals getting caught on fishing lines
    • Moment could have come together to become a strong theme through the film, but fade away behind the action scenes and focus on killing the shark.
  • Representation
    • Very diverse crew of researchers.
    • While Suyin is great, the character is let down by needing to be rescued by Jonas in nearly every instance where she begins to be an active character.

What the film missed the mark on

  • Occasional implausible science
    • Size of the megalodons
    • Thermocline trapping warm water below a layer of cold
  • Health and safety
    • Rapid ascents from extreme depths can be dangerous or deadly for divers.
    • Standing on the back of boats that suddenly lurch into movement.
    • Dive equipment seemed to frequently require opening from the outside.
    • Letting your child wander around a construction/building site is not great.
  • Respect for sharks
    • Many missed opportunities to portray the megalodon as an animal and explore reasons for its behaviour. Instead the meg is depicted as a monster, constantly hungry and on the attack.
    • Researchers spend time taking selfies with the dead meg. Missed opportunity to be more thoughtful with the moment and consider what could have  been learned from a live megalodon.
    • Sharks really suffered after the Jaws films, and a lot of work has been done to try and rehabilitate their image. This film occasionally takes steps in this direction, but these are ultimately lost in the plot.

Recommendations

Shark Lady: The Daring Tale of How Eugenie Clark Dove Into History

Nautilus live – live streams from marine exploration rovers.

James Cameron’s Deepsea Challenge (2014)

Deep Blue Sea (1999)

Send in your questions and comments:

Email: knowingnaturepodcast@gmail.com

Twitter: @kn_podcast

Intro/Outro music: Selfish by Derek Clegg. Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 US License

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