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We're gonna need a MUCH bigger boat.

"There's a monster out there..."
Meiying
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The Meg is a 2018 action horror film directed by Jon Turteltaub and written by Dean Georgaris, Jon Hoeber, and Erich Hoeber. It is based on the killer shark genre novel Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror by Steve Alten, and stars Jason Statham, Li Bingbing, Rainn Wilson, Ruby Rose, Winston Chao, and Cliff Curtis.

The story follows a group of scientists who accidentally help a 75-foot Megalodon shark to ascend from the Mariana Trench to more shallow waters, and then must stop it from terrorizing a beach.

It was released on August 10, 2018. A sequel is in development.


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The Meg provides examples of:

  • Accidental Hero: The large group of sharks that show up near the end to attack and eat the bleeding and weakened megalodon; by simply following their instincts, they remove a major threat to humanity at sea and save Jonas from a watery grave.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: In the novel, the megalodons are ghostly white as a result of pigment loss from living in the oceanic abyss for so long. Here, they're a more standard brownish-grey, the result of pragmatic artistic license, as Word of God stated that an entirely white shark didn't look good on film.
  • Adaptation Explanation Extrication:
    • In the novel, Jonas became a paleo-biologist after his final diving venture (where he allegedly saw a giant white shark's head), which is how he's able to immediately identify the giant shark as a megalodon. In the film, he never actually sees the megalodon in the beginning, and became an alcoholic afterwards, but is able to immediately identify the megalodon on first sight nonetheless. Granted megalodon isn't exactly an obscure fossil species.
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    • How and why there are megalodons (believed to have been a shallow-water predator) in a deep sea trench is never explained in the film, while the novels go in-depth with their evolution into an abyssal species (they migrated to the heated hydrothermal vents to escape the ice ages, over millennia gaining a slower metabolism and losing skin pigmentation in the process).
  • Adaptation Name Change: While Jonas and Mac keep their book names, several other characters have their names changed in the movie despite having similar roles.
  • Adaptational Heroism:
    • Heller's dislike of Jonas in the earlier part of the film parallels the novel — unsurprisingly given he thinks Jonas caused the deaths of his friends and the outlandishness of his story. Unlike the book's Heller however, who remains hostile to Jonas throughout, the film's version apologises outright to Jonas once the truth of the matter becomes apparent, becomes a vital member of the team hunting the Meg and performs a Heroic Sacrifice to save Jaxx, attracting the Meg to eat him so she has time to reach safety.
    • As in the original novel, one of the characters is Jonas' ex-wife — but unlike the book's publicity-hungry Jerkass Maggie, Lori is both friendly towards Jonas and immediately volunteers to help take out the Meg when it becomes apparent the crew are going to have to do it themselves.
  • Adaptational Job Change:
    • Jonas was a DSV pilot for the navy in the original book whereas in this one he was a rescue diver (though the film's Jonas retains the original's status as an Ace Pilot of submersibles). This is used to concisely explain why he in particular is chosen for the rescue mission despite being considered insane: he's the only man to ever perform a rescue that deep and survive.
    • This also applies to Jonas' occupation following his initial encounter with a megalodon. In the book, Jonas became a palaeontologist and marine biologist after his first contact, whereas in the film, he spends his time until the modern-day portions of the story running a boat-hire business and getting drunk in Thailand. This is partly due to the fact that, unlike the book, Jonas never actually sees a megalodon in his final diving mission in the prologue, due to being in the interior of a nuclear sub rather than a smaller submersible. He knows something from the outside attacked the sub, but unlike his book counterpart, doesn't have any idea what until he enters the thermocline later and thus doesn't obsess over trying to study and understand the creatures.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Dr. Zhang is saddened after they kill the megalodon, feeling that doing so continues the trend of mankind harming new environments they come across.
  • Always a Bigger Fish:
    • The giant squid that's destroying Suyin's sub receives the end of this when the meg swims out of the darkness and devours it.
    • Later on, when Suyin descends to the water with the intent of shooting the meg with a special poison, several smaller sharks are attracted by pieces of chum thrown by the crew, including great whites and giant hammerheads. They all promptly flee in terror when the meg shows up.
    • A second, considerably larger meg shows up and eats the one the characters previously killed at the halfway mark of the film.
  • Amicable Exes: Jonas and Lori, who get along surprisingly well despite being divorced. Lori herself even gets in on the whole Shipper on Deck business once she notices Suyin's less-than-subtle interest in her ex-husband.
  • An Arm and a Leg:
    • The group only finds a severed arm when examining the wreckage of the fin hunting boats.
    • All that's left of Morris is his arm hanging onto the side of a whale carcass.
  • Artistic License – Biology:
    • In general, depressurization is not kind to deep sea animals that reach the surface. Compare it to the Blobfish, which lives at depths between 600 and 1,200m, while the Meg dwells at 11,000m deep. The megashark should have turned into mush the second it breached the surface.
    • In relation to the above, sharks actually appear to be entirely absent from the truly abyssal depths of the ocean (there are many deep sea shark species, but they are not found in the deepest parts of the ocean, at least on anything but a temporary basis). Scientists are not entirely sure why (it may have something to do with their physiology), but sharks and their relatives appear to have a depth limit compared to bony fish and invertebrates. Which means it'd be impossible for not just a Megalodon but ANY shark to live in the depths portrayed in the film.
    • Owing to the general lack of sunlight at deeper sea levels, the Meg should realistically not be able to see at all as it surfaces, since the greater volume of light up there is much more overwhelming than what it's been accustomed to for millions of years. This is unusual because the book gets this right and has the important reoccurring plot-point that the megalodon only surfaces at night because the sunlight hurts its eyes.
    • The very idea that an apex predator like the Megalodon could thrive in the cold and nutrient-poor deep sea is questionable at best. Prehistoric Megalodon lived along warmer coastal areas, where they preyed upon whales and other high-fat, nutrient-rich mammals, which are conspicuously absent in the lower layers of the ocean for good reasons.
    • A big deal is made of the hidden depths beneath the thermocline, but when the human subs breach the hydrogen sulfide layer, the actual ocean floor seems to be barely 100 meters below it. While there could be deeper reaches elsewhere, nothing of the sort is ever mentioned and the characters treat the area they visit as exemplary for the biome as a whole. If this really were the case, it's highly unlikely that oversized creatures like the Meg, the giant squid and gods-know-what-else-lives-there could've survived in such a comparatively tiny space for millions of years. Hell, an adult Meg would have trouble swimming up and down to any extent worth mentioning without hitting the (supposedly) lethal thermocline or the ocean floor in the process, and seeing how sharks usually charge their prey from below, well...
    • Giant squids are deep sea squid but not nearly as deep as depicted in the movie. Their habits are admittedly little known, but what is known suggests that at least normally they do not live at depths much greater than 1,000 meters.
  • Artistic License – Paleontology: The Megalodon in the movie is 75 feet (23 m) long, and the species as a whole is given a size range of 70-90 feet (21-27 m). Real Life Megalodons were about 50-60 feet (15-18 m) long, which looks to be about right for the smaller Megalodon.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • As regards her role, Suyin is roughly comparable to Tanaka's son DJ in the novel; she doesn't believe Jonas about the truth of the Meg and proves in over her head on the ocean floor. Here she survives and lives all the way to the end.
    • The first megalodon, who in the novel was swiftly eaten by the much larger one and whose blood allows the second to escape from the trench, is the Disc-One Final Boss of the movie.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • Early on, our heroes encounter the remains of a ship destroyed by the meg. When they see several shark corpses with their fins chopped off floating around, they realize the ship belonged to fishermen who harvested shark fins for soup and react with disgust at their actions. Heller even states the meg pretty much avenged the deaths of all those sharks.
    • Jack Morris dies trying to cover up the meg's existence at the hands of the shark itself.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Literally in the Meg's case. Being an apex predator evolved to hunt in darkness, the Meg is attracted to bright light to the point that it goes nuts in the face of it. Unfortunately for the humans, they need a lot of light to be able to see anything deep under water, so their subs tend to put out one hell of a light show...
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • The first time one of the characters gets a look at the creature attacking their ship... it turns out to be a giant squid. Which then gets eaten by the actual Megalodon.
    • Later at the beach, a swimmer climbs up a raft and saw something that made him say "Oh my god". We cut to some bikini girls on another raft across from them.
  • Bald of Awesome: Jonas, courtesy of being played by Jason Statham and kicking all kinds of shark butt.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Suyin and Jonas argue and tease each other constantly, but throughout the movie it is pretty clear to everyone that there is a mutual attraction. Meiying even teases her mother about it.
  • Big Bad: The megalodon. Specifically, the larger of the two.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Suyin saves Jonas from the Meg's death throes just as a hammerhead shark takes an interest in eating him.
  • Blood from the Mouth: Minway gets this after the second Megalodon sinks the group's ship. Justified as he actually did suffer a severe internal injury that ultimately kills him.
  • Boring, but Practical: The crew's initial solution to kill the Megalodon is... to shoot poison darts at it. The tricky part is to get close enough and shoot it in the place where the poison would be most effective. After several close calls, the poison that Suyin shoots into the Meg's mouth works wonderfully, killing the shark just before it can eat Suyin and Jonas. Too bad there's another Meg, and unforeseen circumstances force the crew to kill it the old-fashioned way...
  • Boyish Short Hair: Jaxx's spiky hair is very short, indicating her tomboyish, rebellious nature.
  • Cassandra Truth: Mac mentions that he tried to warn the authorities about the Meg's approach. Predictably, no one believes him that a 75-foot prehistoric shark is closing in on their coastline.
  • The Cavalry: Taylor specifically makes the megalodon bleed to attract a horde of hammerhead, great white, tiger, and bull sharks to gang up on it and kill it.
  • Chekhov's Gun: In the scene where Morris is given a tour of the underwater observatory by Minway and Suyin, he sees a group of humpback whales swimming just outside the windows and comments that it's as if they're there on cue. Suyin then admits that she uses a whale signal to lure them here in order to impress Morris. Later in the film, Suyin uses the same whale signal to lure the second Megalodon away from the crowded beach, as Megalodons eat humpback whales, so that they can take it down without worrying about casualties.
  • Cold Equation: Jonas' career as a deep sea rescue specialist was spoiled by one when he was forced to decide between going back into a sunken nuclear submarine to save his best friends (which would've risked the lives of everyone down there), or return to the surface with the eleven people they had already rescued by then. He chose the latter, something he has never forgiven himself for even years later.
  • Composite Character:
    • Suyin is a combination of Tanaka's children from the book: she's the one that joins Jonas on the rescue mission to the Trench like DJ Tanaka, and like him proves in way over her head with the appearance of the meg (though unlike the book's DJ, she survives). Like Terry Tanaka, she's initially frosty towards Jonas for his perceived mental instability thanks to Heller, before warming to him and becoming his love interest towards the end.
    • Mac has traits of both his book counterpart (Jonas' Deadpan Snarker best friend) and Tanaka from the same book (the old friend that comes calling to get Jonas back in the game) with Tanaka's other attributes as Reasonable Authority Figure and nature conservationist being given to Dr. Minway Zhang.
  • Covered in Gunge: Played for Laughs when Morris has a helicopter depth-charge what he thinks is the Meg even after the shredded carcass has been blown to the ocean surface. The pilot reluctantly drops another bomb on it, which throws up a huge column of water, and when the camera cuts to him again, he's covered head to toe in liquified whale blubber.
  • Covers Always Lie: The poster exaggerates the size of the Megalodon quite a bit, making it seem to be the size of a blue whale when it's actually the equivalent size of a modern whale shark.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Taylor had to sacrifice two men to save others in a prior confrontation with a megalodon, leading to his being disgraced as a professional rescue diver and retreating to a Thai village to drown himself in drink.
  • Death by Adaptation: Dr. Minway Zhang roughly plays the role of Tanaka from the book (Mac sharing the role), but dies while his daughter lives. In the novel the film is based on Tanaka was also badly injured by a Meg attack but survived the events of the first book, living until another encounter with the sharks in the third novel.
  • Death by Irony: The gigantic prehistoric shark is devoured by a horde of smaller, modern-day shark species — including the great white, the megalodon's closest living relative.
  • Decomposite Character:
    • The character of Tanaka in the book is divided into two separate characters in the movie: Mac, who's Jonas' old friend who seeks him out, and Dr. Minway Zhang, who runs the research operation that lost a sub in the trench.
    • Suyin takes most of DJ Tanaka's attributes, with only the character's name surviving to be given to the film's version of DJ. Toshi also has a few of DJ's traits, being the first character killed by a megalodon, which causes Jonas' eventual love interest (Terry in the novel, Suyin in the film) to be angry at him initially for his inability to prevent his death.
  • Devoured by the Horde: After the second Megalodon bites it, its corpse is immediately swarmed upon by other, lesser sharks.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: The Megalodon that's been attacking Jonas and the crew is killed, only for a second, much larger one to show up.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: His flashback introduction notwithstanding, the audience's first real encounter with Jonas is him getting hammered somewhere in Thailand to forget about the Sadistic Choice he had to make in said flashback scene. It seems he's been at it for years by the time he gets roped into the film's story proper, although it doesn't appear to have had any negative effects on him whatsoever.
  • Dug Too Deep: Dove Too Deep in this case, but the concept is still the same. Taylor comments that maybe the cloud of hydrogen sulfide that separates the above ocean and the hidden world beneath it might be there for a reason: there are monsters living down there, specifically the megalodons. The cloud is there to contain them within the deepest depths where no human is meant to go.
  • Eldritch Ocean Abyss: Scientists accidentally release a megalodon shark from the Marianas Trench. According to the original novel, megalodons are explained to have evolved into an abyssal species, but are no less horrifying or threatening for it.
  • Everyone Can See It: Almost every other character comments on the Unresolved Sexual Tension between Taylor and Suyin, while they try to keep things professional in between sharing awkward moments.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: After they succeed in killing the megalodon, Jonas takes a photo of the Wall posing next to its mouth, where he immediately notices something off about it. He then shows the photo to Suyin and they both realise that — in comparison to the bite marks left on the Mana One's underwater tunnel when a megalodon made an attempted attack on Meiying — the megalodon they just killed is too small to be the same shark... mere moments before the even bigger megalodon leaps out of the water, killing the Wall, eating the smaller megalodon and capsizing their boat.
  • Eye Scream: A rare satisfying example. Taylor greatly wounds the Megalodon by stabbing it through the eye with a harpoon, presumably all the way into the brain cavity.
  • Failed a Spot Check:
    • Suyin appears to have some kind of shark-blindness, as she's both constantly inside 360-degrees of transparent polymer and also constantly being snuck up on by three creatures the size of buildings as well as an entire swarm of sharks that manage to alarm her despite her spinning in place and actively trying to search the water around her. Clearly late-stage shark-blindness. When she finally rams one at the end, one half-expects her to ask what it was, having never seen one before.
    • None of the crew seem to realise the tracker on the larger meg has been dislodged despite the sheer unlikeliness of a shark that size staying still for any length of time, allowing it to ambush Jonas and Suyin after it's attracted to the faked whalesong.
    • It takes several minutes for a beach filled with hundreds of swimmers and boaters to notice a seventy-foot shark swimming only a few metres below them in the clear water.
  • Female Gaze: Although she asks him to Please Put Some Clothes On, Suyin is clearly appreciative of Jonas' chiseled physique when she walks in on him just as he's leaving the shower. She even returns to take another awkward peek at him through the window right upon leaving his apartment.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: As they're trapped in the submersible at the bottom of the trench, Toshi writes a letter to his wife "just in case". Guess who's the first one to get killed?
  • Fluffy the Terrible: "Megalodon" sure sounds a hell of a lot more menacing and impressive than just "meg".
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend: Averted and then played straight. For the averted Toshi's death is not forgotten by the characters and they repeatedly bring it up throughout the film, with it being motivation for several characters. For played straight Jaxx is shaken by Heller's death... for ten minutes, and then she makes a joke about feeding Morris to the very shark that killed the man that sacrificed himself for her. Morris goes unmourned, the Wall dies and only gets the briefest of mentions, and after Suyin's father dies she goes back to being all smiles and jokes within five minutes.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Watch closely when the nuclear sub explodes in the prologue and the megalodon that attacked it can be seen getting engulfed in the explosion long before the creatures are seen in full later on.
  • Giant Squid: During the rescue dive into the trench, Suyin's sub is caught and almost destroyed by a squid much, much larger than any real-life specimen... which is promptly eaten by a passing megalodon.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: A few moments here and there, most notably the scene where Heller dies. It cuts away right as the meg is about to chomp.
  • Gunship Rescue: Morris manages to call in a helicopter that drives off the Meg with machine gun fire. Slightly subverted in that Jaxx accurately points out a machine gun will do very little to hurt a Meg, to which Morris notes that this was all that he had available, and it at least works to scare off the shark.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Not "man", exactly, but the megalodon bites a young whale clean in half.
  • Heh Heh, You Said "X": When the first submarine with Lori at the helm reaches the thermocline, Toshi and the Wall laugh their asses off about the prospect of "penetrating" the icy layer below them. Lori calls them out on their immature behavior, but is clearly amused herself and proceeds to run with it right in her next radio call to Mana One.
  • Hellish Copter: Surprisingly averted with the Coast Guard helicopter and Morris' meg hunting team, but played straight at the end when several Chinese news copters smash into each other by accident and then crash and explode on the deck of the evacuation ship thus forcing most of the cast into the water.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • After Jonas gets into the mini-sub to rescue the trapped crew in the depths again, he stops dead in the water and stare at the darkness beneath him, clearly terrified by the thought of what happened the last time he did this. Thankfully, it only lasts for a while, and he doesn't let it trouble him during the mission.
    • DJ freaks out after the second meg sinks their ship and kills the Wall. A particularly sad example, as he points out all the people the shark has killed were his friends. Not only that, but it was his prank that caused the Wall to fall into the water in the first place.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Toshi, knowing that they don't have enough time to get away before the shark returns, closes the hatch and separates the rescue sub, before turning on the lights to draw the meg towards him.
    • Heller later saves Jaxx by splashing his arms in the water and drawing the meg towards him, distracting it and giving her time to swim to the ship.
  • Improbable Infant Survival: Suyin's daughter Meiying, a bratty fat kid at the Chinese beach, and Pippin the dog survive. Averted with the humpback whale calf who got torn apart onscreen by the Megalodon, who's implied to have eaten the calf's mother earlier.
  • Innocent Prodigy: Meiying; Incredibly cute and smart, she also delivers some backstory.
    Meiying: Eight-year-olds hear everything.
  • International Coproduction: This movie was brought to you by Hong Kong-based Flagship Entertainment and the Chinese division of Warner Bros.
  • It Only Works Once: The plan to kill the first megalodon with poison works, but isn't repeated with the second one. Justified, as it is far larger and stronger than the first, and their attempt to kill the first one still nearly got multiple people killed.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Morris starts off as greedy and conceited (and sees the discovery of a living megalodon as something to be exploited) but seems to soften throughout the movie, saving Jaxx' life during the first surface encounter with the Meg and calling in a Gunship Rescue to drive off the meg pursuing them. Upon returning to the Mana One, he calls in an evac ship and tells everyone that he informed the Chinese military. Then it turns out he hadn't informed the authorities of the shark's existence as he'd claimed to, and is concerned with killing it solely to cover up its existence to ward off potential lawsuits.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Morris is a self-serving, glory-seeking jackass, but he's also the one who comes up with the idea to just tag the shark with a tracking device so they can keep tabs on it while preparing the cage.
    Morris: What? Don't you watch Shark Week?
  • Karmic Death:
    • At one point the Meg massacres a flotilla of boats whose sailors were killing sharks to harvest their fins.
    • After lying to everyone on Mana One about calling the authorities about the Meg, Morris ends up becoming shark chow during his unsuccessful attempt at killing it.
  • Lampshade Hanging:
  • Laser Sight: Suyin uses one mounted on a harpoon gun during her attempt to kill the Meg. She ends up swiping the beam over the shark's eye, which scares the light-sensitive predator off... and enrages it, resulting in a devastating attack from an angle she can't cover — from below.
  • Lighter and Softer: Considerably more so than the novels the movie's based on — far fewer people are shown dying, and while many people are killed by the Megalodon, this mostly happens offscreen. Part of this is likely due to being downgraded from an R to a PG-13 rating, as according to Word of God there are a sizable number R-rated scenes that were cut to achieve that.
  • Little Miss Snarker: Suyin's daughter Meiying provides a few moments of levity with her constant wisecracks. For instance, when first meeting Taylor, she starts off by calling him "crazy guy", and when asked where her Disappeared Dad is, she replies that he's "in Taipei with a pilates instructor".
  • Made of Explodium: Somehow, the nuclear sub in the prologue goes up in a huge fireball virtually the same second it implodes from the water pressure. Might've been acceptable if only the torpedo compartment in the bow exploded, but the entire sub lighting up like a Michael Bay money shot 10,000 meters below the ocean surface doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
  • The Main Characters Do Everything: Justified: Morris' failure to inform the authorities means that by the time the shark reaches the beaches of China the crew are the only ones in a position to do anything about it. Further, Mac mentions that even though he did try to warn people nobody believed talk of a giant prehistoric shark, meaning that even if Morris had informed the authorities it likely would have made no difference.
  • Megalodon: The whole premise of the film is that surviving specimens of these giant prehistoric sharks are still around and ready to play merry hell with the world's oceans.
  • Monstrous Cannibalism: The first appearance by the larger megalodon is when it lunges out of the water to seize the carcass of the first one to chow down on. The concluding battle's ending, in which the second meg is devoured by hundreds of ordinary sharks, hints at this as well, although technically it's a subversion because they're not the same species of shark.
  • More Teeth than the Osmond Family: The megalodon shows its pearly whites to Suyin's daughter.
  • Motifs: Before the surface-action with the megalodon starts proper, there are several appearances of objects that resemble a shark fin, culminating with a roomba sporting one.
  • My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels: Morris' only attempt at speaking Chinese turns into Word Salad; fortunately for him, everyone switches to English afterwards.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Kronosaurus gets a quick cameo while our heroes are looking up details on the megalodon. Kronosaurs would first appear in the second book (the revised edition of the first novel also includes one in the prologue).
    • When Meiying encounters a megalodon for the first time, she's wearing an angel outfit. In the books the main megalodon featured in most of the sequels is named Angel.
    • Despite being promoted to Disc-One Final Boss, the first megalodon still dies caught in cables and is then eaten by the second, much larger female, as in the novel.
    • The opening of the film features Jonas attempting to rescue the crew of a sunken nuclear submarine, assumedly sunk by the megalodon itself, which Heller served on. Presumably, this is a nod to the first novel, where the Navy attempted to kill the megalodon by hunting it via submarine. Didn't work out so great there either. For bonus points, Heller's brother was a crew member of the sub in the novel.
  • Named After Someone Famous: One of the gyro-submersibles of Mana One is named after ill-fated explorer Ernest Shackleton. Sure enough, it gets destroyed by the larger Meg, though not before Taylor could use it to critically wound the beast.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The final frames of the teaser shows a small canoe about to be Swallowed Whole by an absolutely gigantic meg coming up from below. The megs themselves are nowhere as large in the film proper, and at no point are any of the motorboats driven by the crew at immediate risk of being chomped. Hell, the megasharks don't even breach surface like the trailer implies.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • The megalodon is released from the ocean depths because it followed the path to the surface created by the rescue mission. It gets even more pronounced later in the film when it turns out an even bigger meg had escaped, too.
    • DJ's prank, scaring the Wall into the water by making him think the displayed meg corpse was showing signs of life, gets his friend killed when the second, larger megalodon arrives.
  • Non-Malicious Monster: Surprisingly, the megalodon counts as one since it doesn't specifically target humans over other prey, being shown to devour giant squids and whales at other points in the film; they just happen to be available once it reaches the surface and a few times it only kills people seemingly by accident. It actually only attacks the beach-goers when they panic and begin causing a lot of movement and activity, which causes it to go berserk. Near the end, a recording of whalesong is enough to get it to leave a crowded beach alone, although it had already killed several people by then.
  • Non-Indicative Title: The title's use of "The" suggests that the protagonists confront a single Megalodon; in fact, they kill one of them halfway through the film, which is then eaten by a second, bigger shark.
  • Oh, Crap!: Many, many examples — most notably when Jonas' torpedo malfunctions just as he's angered the meg enough to start charging at him.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Ruby Rose's American accent is, uh, not flawless.
  • Perfect Poison: Subverted: despite intentionally overshooting the amount necessary to kill it just to be sure, it takes several minutes for the poison harpoon to kill the first megalodon, during which it's still extremely dangerous and would've killed both Jonas and Suyin if the rest of the crew hadn't tied it up in cables to restrain it.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation:
    • The film follows a few basic plot elements of the novel, mostly in the opening setup, but largely diverges greatly from it afterwards (the second half in particular has almost nothing in common with the novel outside of a basic "megalodon hunting" story-line). Of specific note, the infamous Tyrannosaurus vs megalodon scenario, attempts to capture the Meg alive, and the novel's Sequel Hook are completely absent, and how it's finally killed is also completely different.
    • Steve Alten himself explained this was the case with the Meg's color changing: an albino shark just didn't look that good or convincing in CGI so they changed it to brown.
  • Precision F-Strike: Taylor to the Meg, Jaws-style. In the trailer, it's a Curse Cut Short.
    Taylor: Chew on this, you ugly bastard.
  • Playing Gertrude: Winston Chao (58) plays the father of Bingbing Li (45) in the movie. To be fair, their characters' ages are not specified in the movie, and Li is Older Than They Look.
  • Properly Paranoid: When Morris and his mercenaries attempt to kill the second Meg on their own, Morris wisely stops his boat no less than a mile away from the Meg's location and orders the helicopter to drop what's essentially a depth charge on it, again and again, to make sure it's really dead. The bombing only stops after the helicopter pilot — splashed with the creature's blood — tells him there's no way that it's still alive after all that. Only then does Morris moves the boat in. When it turns out that the body isn't the Meg, but a whale, Morris immediately orders his crew to get the hell out of Dodge now. If he hadn't fallen off the boat by accident, he might've made it out alive. Of course, the fact that he tries to kill the Meg on his own, at night, and personally stays on a small boat instead of the helicopter he's on beforehand is just asking to be eaten anyway.
  • Rasputinian Death: How the megalodon bites it at the end — first it's eviscerated by a submarine ramming into it, then it has an harpoon plunged into one of its eyes. Then, as it bleeds to death, it's eaten alive by hundreds of smaller sharks.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Lori gets stabbed with a screwdriver while in the sub. While she survives and it explicitly missed her vital organs, she's still hospitalized for much of the movie due to blood loss.
    • Despite being gigantic, the megalodons can still attack suddenly and out of nowhere. Sharks are still ambush predators, and the ocean is big. As a result, their fins normally only break the surface when they're swimming around or chasing prey down. When they go on the offense, they go underwater and strike from nowhere.
    • Suyin's laser sight on her harpoon gun swipes over the first megalodon's eye. This startles it, preventing her from shooting it... and enrages it, resulting in it attacking from below.
    • Poisoning the first meg doesn't instantly kill it; rather, it takes several minutes during which it's still incredibly dangerous and now enraged.
    • Suyin runs out of air during the fight with the Megalodon and loses consciousness, then remains underwater for several moments until she can be given medical attention. She actually dies and has to be resuscitated as a result.
    • The megalodon might be gigantic and has too thick of a hide for the bullets to pierce, but it's still startled and backs off when shot.
    • The megalodon consistently ignores smaller prey if larger prey is readily available and primarily attacks what is making the most noise or emitting the most light at any given time. This includes completely ignoring the small dog in the water in favor of the large, noisy, splashing crowd of people nearby, as would be expected of a real life predator. The exception to this is when it's enraged or driven into a feeding frenzy.
    • The megalodon is relatively docile while swimming near the beach full of people, seeming more curious than anything. Then everyone sees it and panics. That many creatures making movements like prey in distress promptly causes it to go completely berserk and enter a feeding frenzy, as a real shark would. Even then, it mostly targets larger "prey", like the rafts, rather than piddly little individual swimmers.
    • It's noticeably more aggressive and erratic during the following final confrontation than it has been for the rest of the movie, but that may be because it finally starts suffering some serious wounds and impediments by that point.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Dr Zhang. Morris shows signs of growing into this, but he remains a self-serving jackass to the end.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Heller apologizes to Taylor for declaring him a coward after he made a Cold Equation during a previous deep sea rescue mission after he discovers that Taylor didn't make the Megalodon up, but Heller eventually sacrifices his own life by attracting the Megalodon to keep it away from Jaxx.
  • Retired Badass: Jonas spends his days getting hammered in various Thai bars after leaving the rescue business. It takes Mac and Zhang informing him his ex-wife Lori is possibly in danger from the same thing he encountered to convince him to go back.
  • Scenery Porn: The lost world below the thermocline is gorgeous, full of fields of marine life and the spires of black smokers. It's probably not too far removed from what the deepest depths of the ocean can really look like, but it's much brighter lit and therefore much easier to behold in all its alien splendor. Not even the Meg wreaking havoc on the humans down there changes much about that.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The Meg lived confined to the deep trench with other creatures, but, unfortunately, Taylor's rescue mission created a path to the surface it promptly followed.
  • Shark Fin of Doom:
    • As usual for shark movies. Megalodon's especially large fin provides the main characters an easy way to track the gigantic shark from the surface, as well as a Mass "Oh, Crap!" moment when it goes below the water...
    • More humorously, when Meiying is playing by herself, she walks past a roomba floor cleaner that someone on the research station seems to have provided with a mini shark fin as a joke.
  • Shipper on Deck: Mac is pretty encouraging towards Taylor and Suyin getting together. By the end, Meiying and even Lori approve too, which is surprising considering the latter's relationship with Jonas.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The scene with the giant squid could be referencing The Beast, a novel written by Peter Benchley, who also happens to have written Jaws.
    • Pippin the dog could be a reference to the devoured Pippet in Jaws, as that canine's name is often thought to be Pippin.
    • In the same way, the bratty child that begs his mother for going into the water until she reluctantly accepts could be a reference to Alex Kintner, the boy with the yellow air-bed in Jaws. Fortunately, it ends MUCH better for him.
    • Likewise, the scene where Jonas realises from the Meg's bite pattern that it's too small to be the one that left the teethmarks on the station is a nod to Hooper's similar realisation about the tiger shark in Jaws.
    • Taylor quotes Finding Nemo at one point; at another point in the movie, Jonas sings "just keep swimming" to himself while swimming off to shoot the meg with a tracking beacon.
    • During the final shot of The Meg sinking to its watery grave, it makes almost the same exact roaring-like sound as the shark from Jaws made as it sunk to its own grave.
  • Soft Glass: Averted. The Mana One's underwater glass is so thick that not even the megalodon's bite can penetrate it (although it leaves a pretty nasty bite mark). The same applies to Jaxx's special glass shark cage, which is durable enough to withstand several of the megalodon's bites. The meg tries to get around this by swallowing the cage whole.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The trailer has the cheery "Beyond the Sea" playing over intense action sequences and scenes of the Megalodon eating people.
  • Spell My Name with a "The":
    • Presumably done in this adaptation so that audiences would know that "Meg" is a monster.
    • Also, lovable sidekick scientist the Wall. It might just be his nickname, but it's all he's ever called by the other characters.
  • Spiritual Successor: Very much one to 1990s underseas action films such as Deep Rising and Deep Blue Sea.
  • Stealthy Colossus: As befits an aquatic ambush predator, the Megalodon is quite capable of sneaking up on people despite being the size of a large whale.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: Or in this case a horde of smaller ones — by cutting open the meg and making it bleed with his sub's fin (then stabbing it in the eye) Jonas is able to attract a swarm of smaller sharks to the meg, which then eat it alive.
  • Survivor's Guilt: Jonas has this as a result of leaving his two friends and a group of survivors behind in the doomed sub to escape whatever's attacking them in the opening scene and it left him jaded and became a drunkard to the present day. Suyin later comes to feel the same way when she couldn't get her fatally injured father back to Mana One to get proper treatment in time before he died.
  • Swallowed Whole: Given the sheer size of the megalodon, a few characters end up experiencing this.
  • Tagline: The marketing campaign for the film produced several; "chomp on this", "pleased to eat you", "opening wide", and so on.
  • Take a Moment to Catch Your Death: After Morris falls off the boat in his attempt to kill the Meg, he attempts to climb up the whale carcass to get to safety as the Meg charges in to attack. It misses. Morris laughs in relief after successfully climbing up the carcass, thinking that he's safe for the moment, only for the Meg to launch itself up and eat him.
  • There's No Kill Like Overkill: Jonas slices open the meg's body with his sub, then stabs it through the eye, presumably destroying its brain in the process, before leaving the doomed giant to be devoured in a feeding frenzy of large sharks.
  • The "The" Title: Unlike the novel on which it's based, which was just named Meg, the film uses a definite article to qualify the Megalodon that goes on a rampage.
  • Threatening Shark: Take a wild guess. Subverted with the various "normal-sized" sharks that appear at the end to devour the dying Megalodon.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Morris goes after the Megalodon by himself with a small crew without informing any of the other characters. While he takes sufficient firepower with him in the form of depth charges, his choice to hunt it down in a small boat instead of the helicopter he was previously in gets him killed.
  • Uncle Tomfoolery: DJ, the black member of the team, is a comic relief character who is constantly bemoaning the other characters for their near-suicidal plans to stop the Megalodon while being largely incompetent himself. Even Meiying tells him to shut up at one point.
  • Ungrateful Bastard:
    • Heller gives Jonas no end of accusations of killing the men on his sub he couldn't save and repeatedly calls him crazy despite the fact that he saved his life and those of several friends and colleagues. Jonas remains fairly bitter about it and gladly rubs the fact that the sea monster he attributed to cracking under pressure was real after all in his face. He does admit he was wrong and apologizes for it, but Jonas is still slow to forgive him, telling him they'll call it even if he can save Lori.
    • Jaxx bitterly suggests throwing Morris out of the boat just a scene after he saves her life. Moments later, when a helicopter with a machine gunner Morris has contacted to drive away the chasing Meg shows up, she complains about what use that would be against such a big shark. Morris quite reasonably points out it was the best he could do on such short notice and that it actually does drive the Meg away. That said, she does thank him for it in the moment.
  • Villainous Rescue: A megalodon eats the giant squid that was about to destroy Suyin's submersible, although it later comes back and tries to kill them.
  • Violation of Common Sense: In order to put a tracker on the Meg, Jonas has to swim straight toward it to get close enough, armed with nothing but the tracker harpoon gun and no protection gear at all. Even Jonas himself thinks the idea is insane, but someone has to do it because the ship can't get close enough without scaring the Meg away or worse, aggravating it into attacking.
  • Zerg Rush: After Jonas wounds the Meg, every large shark in the vicinity comes running, attracted by the blood, all eager to make a meal out of their much larger prehistoric cousin.

Alternative Title(s): Meg

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