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Film Review: The Meg (2018) - Megalodon eats JAWS! A Cryptid Approach to the Megalodon Legend

Updated: Nov 11, 2023

FILE PHOTO: A Poster of THE MEG (2018).  ©Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc.
FILE PHOTO: A Poster of THE MEG (2018). ©Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc.

Hollywood and the other countries made thousands of famous or unknown shark films in film history. Film history is total film production and distribution activities of human kind since 1893. Shark films are also made in both Western and Eastern countries. Shark film master pieces we are familiar with are JAWS ( Dir. Steven Spielberg, 1975) and Deep Blue Sea (Dir. Renny Harlin, 1999) However, no films could exceed JAWS franchise (1975-1987) without The Meg (2018).

What kinds of sharks successful filmmakers selected as film characters in their Shark film master pieces? Spielberg chose the great white shark as its dramatic device in JAWS (1975), a realistic approach, then Renny Harlin created genetically engineered short fin mako sharks as its killing machines in Deep Blue Sea (1999), a science fiction approach after Jurassic Park (1990) released. And in The Meg (2018), Dir. Jon Turteltaub took legendary mega shark Megalodon (Carcharocles megalodon) which lived in 23 to 2.6 million years ago as its eating machine in the blockbuster which starring action star Jason Statham (played Jonas Taylor), it is a biological fiction. In this film, Megalodon accidentally appears without any cause and explanation. We can also say it like encounter with unknown creature, such as the Loch Ness Monster and Yeti. It is a Cryptid approach to the Megalodon.

Main feature of a good shark film is neither the shark itself, nor slasher film quality but it is a human conflict, a drama between protagonist and antagonist. In JAWS (1975) which costed $9 millions and grossed $471 millions, we were mostly impressed with Chief Brody (played by Roy Scheider)who fights for saving Amity beach landers from shark-like Mayor Larry Vaughn who is politically blind to shark attack and its devastating damage to the island. JAWS is the best of the bests among all shark films and genre films in the world. Although Megalodon can eat JAWS as a great white, however its Megalodon story cannot eat JAWS. In The Meg (2018), Tyler and its crew manage to attract Megalodon and scratch it to let other sharks to eat Megarodon. Jason Statham saves Chinese coastal beachgoers from Megarodon. This is the entire story.

The Meg (2018)'s plot mistake is that Megarodon did not live in Chinese sea and it was not found in Chinese territories at present. On the contrary, many ancient Japanese legends relate Megarodon. Ancient Japanese people thought fossils of parts of Megalodon as parts (e.g. tooth) of Tengu, a Shinto-related fictional creature. Chinese history is seemed to be 2,000 to 5,000 year long, however, Japan and Megalodon has had 23 million years of historical relationship.

FILE PHOTO: A paint of Tengu.  Image: Public Domain
FILE PHOTO: A paint of Tengu. Image: Public Domain

Image: The crow of Tengu was found as fossil teeth of Megalodon

You should carefully compare the crow of Tengu above and teeth of Megalodon below.

FILE PHOTO: Fossil of teeth of Megalodon.  Image: Public Domain
FILE PHOTO: Fossil of teeth of Megalodon. Image: Public Domain

I think Megalodon should attack Japanese coast beachgoers instead. It is more persuasive than attacking Chinese coastal beach where Megalodon did not even live in 23 to 2.6 million years ago.

FILE PHOTO: Megalodon fossils are mostly found in Japan in Asia.  Image: Public Domain
FILE PHOTO: Megalodon fossils are mostly found in Japan in Asia. Image: Public Domain

Anyway, it is a quality work and the Megalodon is actually larger than JAWS!

Beside this, the other major defect of this film is that there is no bad guy, only we can see is the eating machine, The Meg...This could be the fatal mistake.

This story actually followed the Alien story telling frame work that this story is happened in purely in a company, and there is no police, no authorities, no government bureaucrats. It perfectly embodied the capitalist world of megalodon. There is no country, no border, no bureaucracy. It means that this film's world is a company world, a capitalist world. You should not ignore this main feature of this story telling. Of course, it is a pure cinematic neo-liberal corporate tale, not a communist tale at all.

Talk about co-production between US and China (G2), Independence Day: Resurgence (2016) was a terrible disaster as a less known US-China coproduction film, however The Meg (2018) is actually a better co-production between China and US like Geostorm (2017). I sincerely recommend and enjoy the film. In this era, new and a big challenge must be made in international sphere, not in one country. International co-production within one or several regions must create new fields and varieties of filmmaking. Filmmaking in One Country is the 20th.century's nationalistic old-fashioned mode of film concept.

Traditions of different countries should be more deeply interacted with each other and more synthesised.

Kiyoshi Kurosawa depicted that larger fish eats smaller one. However, I can say that look at The Meg! Even the largest fish can be eaten by a bunch of smaller fishes like this. We should not stick to the dogmatism of food chain.

FILE PHOTO: A surfer and Megalodon.  Image: Public Domain
FILE PHOTO: A surfer and Megalodon. Image: Public Domain

We already have the world famous shark film list below:

  • 2-Headed Shark Attack (2012; mutant two-headed shark)

  • 3-Headed Shark Attack (2015; mutant three-headed shark)

  • 5-Headed Shark Attack (2017; mutant five-headed shark)

  • 12 Days of Terror (2004; bull shark, based on the Jersey Shore shark attacks of 1916)

  • 47 Meters Down (2017; great white sharks)

  • Aatank (1996; abnormally large shark)

  • Ape (1976; abnormally large shark)

  • Avalanche Sharks (2011; prehistoric snow-dwelling sharks)

  • Bait 3D (2012; great white sharks)

  • Blood in the Water (2009; bull sharks)

  • Blue Demon (2005)

  • Creature (1998; mutant humanoid shark)

  • Cruel Jaws (1995; great white shark, but labelled as a tiger shark)

  • Cyclone (1978; sandbar sharks)

  • Dark Tide (2012; great white shark)

  • Deep Blood (1989)

  • Deep Blue Sea (1999; large genetically engineered shortfin mako sharks)[1]

  • Deep Blue Sea 2 (2018)

  • Dinoshark (2010; prehistoric dinosaur-shark hybrid)

  • Gamera vs. Zigra (1971; goblin shark-like kaiju)

  • Ghost Shark (2013; undead great white shark)

  • Ghost Shark 2: Urban Jaws (2015)

  • Great White (1981; great white shark)

  • Hammerhead: Shark Frenzy (2005; mutant hammerhead shark-human hybrid)

  • Jaws (1975; large great white shark)[3][8]

  • Jaws 2 (1978; large great white shark)

  • Jaws 3-D (1983; large great white shark along with its pup)

  • Jaws: The Revenge (1987; large great white shark)

  • Jaws in Japan (2009; giant great white shark)

  • Jersey Shore Shark Attack (2012; killer albino deep-water sharks)

  • Jurassic Shark (2012; megalodon)

  • Mako: The Jaws of Death (1976; mako sharks)

  • Malibu Shark Attack (2009; prehistoric goblin sharks)

  • The Meg (2018; megalodon)

  • Mega Shark Versus Giant Octopus (2009; abnormally large megalodon)

  • Mega Shark Versus Crocosaurus (2010)

  • Mega Shark Versus Mecha Shark (2014)

  • Mega Shark vs. Kolossus (2015)

  • Megalodon (2004; megalodon)

  • Mississippi River Sharks (2017; bull sharks)

  • Monster Shark (1984; mutant Dunkleosteus-octopus hybrid)

  • Night of the Sharks (1988; tiger sharks)

  • Open Water (2003; Caribbean reef sharks)

  • Open Water 3: Cage Dive (2017; great white sharks)

  • Ozark Sharks (2016; bull sharks)

  • Raging Sharks (2005; highly aggressive great white sharks)

  • Red Water (2003; bull shark)

  • The Reef (2010; great white shark)[1]

  • Sand Sharks (2011; prehistoric sand-dwelling sharks)

  • The Shallows (2016; great white shark)

  • Shark (1969)

  • Shark (2000; great white shark)

  • Shark Attack (1999; genetically enhanced great white shark)

  • Shark Attack 2 (2000; seven genetically enhanced great white sharks)

  • Shark Attack 3: Megalodon (2002; megalodon)

  • Shark in Venice (2008; great white shark)

  • Shark Kill (1976; great white shark)

  • Shark Lake (2016)

  • Shark Night (2011; various sharks)

  • Shark Swarm (2008; various shark species attacking as one under chemical effect)

  • Shark Zone (2003; great white sharks)

  • Sharkansas Women's Prison Massacre (2016; prehistoric amphibious sharks)

  • Sharknado (2013; waterspouts full of sharks)

  • Sharknado 2: The Second One (2014)

  • Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! (2015)

  • Sharknado: The 4th Awakens (2016)

  • Sharknado 5: Global Swarming (2017)

  • The Last Sharknado: It's About Time (2018)

  • Sharktopus (2010; mutant shark-octopus hybrid)

  • Sharktopus vs. Pteracuda (2014)

  • Sharktopus vs. Whalewolf (2015)

  • Snow Shark (2012; prehistoric snow-dwelling shark)

  • Spring Break Shark Attack (2005; tiger sharks)

  • Super Shark (2011; megalodon)

  • Swamp Shark (2011)

  • Tintorera (1977; tiger shark)

  • Up from the Depths (1979; prehistoric shark-like sea monster)

  • White Death (1936; great white shark)

  • Zombie Shark (2015)

FILE PHOTO: A Poster of THE MEG (2018).  ©Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc.
FILE PHOTO: A Poster of THE MEG (2018). ©Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc.

Note: On August 10, 2018, anti-China negative campaign was taken place at this film's IMDb page. Negative rating between 1 to 6 score users suddenly got nearly 50 helpful points. It is a conscious unfair act on internet. It should be blamed.

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