Thursday, 25 June 2015

Mega(lodon) News

Last Wednesday morning I crawled reluctantly out of bed after a pitiful amount of sleep feeling crotchety, exhausted, and under-appreciated by the Universe. And then I checked my phone for news headlines, as I always do first thing in the morning, and discovered that maybe the Universe isn't laughing at me after all.

The news? Steve Alten's 1997 bestseller, MEG, has been greenlit for production.

This...this probably doesn't matter to most people. But oh my goodness, it matters SO MUCH to me! I read MEG the year it was released. I read it a billion times (approximately). This was a hugely formative book for me. Before MEG, I was definitely a kid who was into dinosaurs and monsters anyway. After MEG I was a kid who was obsessed with sea monsters specifically.

Simply explained, MEG is about a 60 foot shark that eats everything she comes across, including one helicopter. It's a thriller and in some respects it's a fairly generic one. World weary hero/only living expert on megs? Check. Feisty love interest? Check! (They have zero chemistry, but who cares about romance when giant sharks are eating our helicopters anyway). Bitter bad guys? Check! Giant shark? CHECK, CHECK, CHECK. I mean, nothing else in this book matters. I loved learning about this prehistoric badass (the book opens with a meg eating a t-rex), and I adored the idea of an ocean full of secrets (in case you hadn't noticed).

I can't remember when I first heard about the possibility of a MEG film, but it was certainly long enough ago that Hollywood tried and failed at this kind of thing several times. Disney, originally attached to the project, dropped it after the unimpressive performance of DEEP BLUE SEA, allegedly. At one point I even assumed DEEP BLUE SEA was the MEG adaptation.

And then we got MEGA-SHARK VERSUS GIANT OCTOPUS in 2009 (which I also thought might be a really loose adaptation of MEG, because I never give up, dammit), which is frankly awful and also the greatest film ever made.

And then we got SHARKNADO, which is also awful and just...awful. No megalodons in that one, but shark films are undeniably back on the menu, even if they are just...awful.

And let's face it - we need a good shark film. JAWS created the summer blockbuster. It also created a lot of terrible myths about great white sharks (but if you want to help correct that, consider checking out The Shark Trust), but that's for another, much longer post. But since JAWS...has there really been a creature feature to live up to it? Not for me.

I desperately want MEG to get made and be awesome. As soon as I read the news article, I went and bought the original book for my Kindle and discovered a slew of sequels I'd never heard of. I re-read MEG in two days and fell in love all over again. The megalodon is just sheer perfection, frankly. She's giant, voracious, unpredictable, and she eats helicopters. The humans are probably fine too, but fuck the humans. You make creature feature films for the creatures.

And we're at a stage where a sixty foot albino shark is going to be no challenge for special effects teams, I think it's safe to say. Plus there's the bonus of JURASSIC WORLD being huge and amazing fun, which hopefully will crack the door open for more "big angry monster eats tiny people" films.

AND if the film gets made and is successful, we can have the sequel with two megalodons called Mary Kate and Ashley.

Think about that.


  1. I think for me my love of big sea monsters came from movies like Warlords of Atlantis and 20,000 leagues Under the Sea. I would love to see more movies like that!

    Jaws is literally one of my favourite movies of all time, certainly in my top 10, probably even my top 5. I love it and used to buy a load of shark books when I was a kid. So big sharks? Bring it on!

    1. You should read Meg! It's utterly ridiculous, but it's really fun.