The Meg — My Thoughts as a Shark Lover & A Biology Minded Individual (Spoiler Free)

The Meg — A shark attack movie with a prehistoric twist

I have always loved sharks. When I first learned about them as a child, I found them fascinating and beautiful. My love for sharks continued throughout my childhood and into my adulthoot. I checked out books about them in my school library, trying to learn more about these apex predators in the ocean. I feel as though my feelings on the movie would best be revealed with a quick biology lesson about the megalodon, so the readers are all on the same page.

The Biology & Brief History of the Megalodon

The Meg is short for megalodon, a prehistoric gargantuam sized shark (many scientists estimate megalodon to be around 60 feet {about 18 meters}, with a jaw diameter 63 inches {about 1.6 meters} around and teeth around 7 inches tall {18 centimeters}). If you want to compare that to humans, humans average bicep is around 13 inches in diamaeter (33 centimeters), so a single megalodon shark teeth, if pushed directly into the human arm, it would be a substainlly deep cut.

Personally, I do not have a clear conclusion on if the infamous megalodon could still be in existence. Many scientists have theorizes as to why it possibly went extinct (it became “too niche” of a predator, it ran out of prey animals to consume and thus starved to death, changes in the biochemistry of the ocean were too drastic for the shark to survive, among other theories). While only about 10% of our own oceans are discovered (this is mostly due to the fact that our technology just can’t dive down deep enough to discover all these new deep sea species), I suppose anything is possible.

What I did learn from my ecology class, however, is that when you start getting into those dark, murky depths of the ocean is that animals have an extremely specialized anatomical and physiology design. This is why many animals are extremely tiny (those that we have found at very deep ocean depths). The few that are very large (such as the collasol squid and giant squid) are often built thin and streamline (as well as “squishy”) to help them withstand the ginormous pressures from being that deep under the water.

My background with biology (in particular, what I learned in that ecology class I took for my undergraduate degree, which my minor was in biology) makes me skeptical of the megalodon currently being still alive, but as I said earlier, I suppose anything is possible with our ocean (again, only 10% of our oceanlife is estimated to currently have been discovered), so I am open to the possibility if we did find a megalodon in the murky depths of the ocean (or a washed up corpse).

The movie

I was somewhat hesitant going into the film. I know shark movies have a notorious history of scarring young children for life when it comes to sharks (the people behind the scenes of the movies Jaws have said they regret making the moving because of the effect it did have on so many people being scared out of their minds of sharks). The Meg is a PG-13 film that focuses more on the sheer size of this mammoth shark to scare its audiences than sheer blood and gore. Apparently this film was almost a rated R film, but due to the executives higher up in the film industry food chain (pun?), they wanted a PG-13 film.

Some memorable scenes from the film are honestly when the film just shows off the size of this prehistoric shark. A scene where the megalodon bites into glass,which shows the terrifying diamaeter of the sharks jaws. A scene where a person is on a surf board, and you see this 60 feet long shark swim ominously beneath the surface. A scene where a megalodon leaps out of the water to eat a large corpse of a fish hung up on a boat (the way this is shot is truly terrifying).

The film does have heart towards sharks. The scientists and biologists on board of the vessel are very hesitant initially to kill the megalodon, because they would rather study the animal while it is alive and not interfere with its life. There is an impactful scene where they mention the horrors of shark finning (to make a long story short: fishermen will catch sharks, cut off their fins, and then toss the sharks back in the water for them to die while using the fins in soup).

If the film failed to show any type of sympathy towards sharks, I believe I would have a much more negative view of this film. The film respects the fact that these sharks are indeed apex predators, but it does not go out of its way to make it seem like a “big heartless killer”. The horror lover I am, I partially wished we got to see a rated “R” version of this film, but the behind the scenes people said this would not happen since these grisly scenes were never finished with their creation process.

Would I recommend bringing young 5 year old Jimmy, Susan, or Morgan to this film? No, despite how we had them in the showing I was in. Only do that if you want to potentially psychologically scar your child and make them terrified of going in the ocean.

I was also not aware that this was based on a series of books. My boyfriend, who attended the cinema showing with me mentioned it to me and said he wished the film stuck closer to the books, but it was still an enjoyable film.

Last Words…

Sharks are beautiful and need to be respected as apex predators. The movie does a good job of balancing the megalodon (in regards to the violence it inflicts and the scientists in the movie having a biological respect for this prehistoric shark). It does have a few jump scares, but they are not the focus of the film. It is a good film if you just want to have a fun “animal attack people” movie.

I’m a queer adopted healthcare worker who writers in their spare time. I have a MPH degree.