In a nutshell, this is when a hostile force attacks a target by using a much larger vehicle with a large door to chase down and then "swallow" the target vehicle. The attackers have just performed the Mega-Maw Maneuver
. The reasons for using this tactic are usually as a form of piracy. Once inside the large vehicle, the target is at the mercy of its captors, and can be easily boarded, plundered, or seized without risking damage in a firefight.
While certainly an interesting
maneuver, it does pose several problems in Real Life
. For one, it's success hinges upon the maw ship being much larger and much faster than its victims. For another, the very real possibility of the target performing some desperate evasive action trying to get away would pose considerable danger. Sometimes TractorBeams
are used to speed up the chase and/or explain away
why the target isn't performing any evasive actions.
In other words, if there was any real potential to this tactic, it probably would have been tried by now
Compare: Swallowed Whole
, which is this trope but with monsters.
Compare: Driving Into A Truck
, which is the opposite of this trope.
- James Bond
- The Spy Who Loved Me: The Big Bad Karl Stromberg has a device that can cause submarines to lose power and surface. He also has an oil tanker with a bow that can open and swallow up the helpless submarines. He uses them to capture three nuclear missile submarines (one Soviet, one American and one British) during the movie.
- You Only Live Twice: Ernst Stavro Blofeld has one of these, which he uses to kidnap US and Soviet space capsules to start WW 3 between them.
- The pirate spaceship from Space Truckers- again, a huge maw that swallowed smaller ships.
- Star Trek: The Motion Picture: The enormous Mechanical Lifeform V'Ger had a giant maw like this, which the Enterprise flew through in order to reach V'Ger's main processing center. It then closed, trapping the Enterprise inside.
- A hilarious variation could be the scene in Mars Attacks! where the US launches nukes, and the Martians deploy a tiny probe that sucks up the nukes into a balloon-like compartment, in which they explode harmlessly, the balloon probe containing everything. Then the Martians smoke the radioactive remains in some king of space-bong.
- Spaceball One eats Princess Vespa's spaceship in Space Balls.
- In the Mortal Engines quadrilogy, most towns and cities (except those in Anti-Tractionist territories) have been converted into enormous tracked vehicles. In accordance with the philosophy of 'Municipal Darwinism', these settlements are fitted with 'jaws' that allow them to catch and dismantle other settlements and claim their resources; cities prey on towns, towns prey on suburbs, and "statics", non-mobile settlements, are the bottom rung of the food-chain and fair game for everyone else.
- In Babylon 5, Shadow Battlecrabs can absorb other ships into themselves, allowing them to abduct their pilots.
- The Lexx, a giant bioengineered insect/ planet-destroyer could literally eat ship.
- The "Wisp" spaceship from Star Trek: Enterprise had a huge maw that swallowed Enterprise.
- Star Trek: The Original Series: the Planet Killer, a giant ship that destroyed planets. In an inversion, they deliberately flew a starship into its maw to destroy it from the inside out.
- The last episode of Star Trek: Voyager has a Borg Sphere doing this to Voyager.
- The Seeker's semi-invisible spaceship does this to the Space Shuttle Odyssey in Odyssey 5.
- A SeaQuest DSV episode had a large sub pulling this to capture UEO transport subs.
- The first episode of TaleSpin has the air pirates harassing a Khan cargo plane. As the plane ducks into a cloud bank to try and hide, they fly right into the Iron Vulture, the pirates' ship. It even has a mouth for such purposes.
- One one the story arcs on Rocky and Bullwinkle has them looking for the giant whale Maybe Dick, which turns out to be a ship Boris Badanov uses to swallow ocean lines so he can plunder them.