Shark scientists Dr. Marianne Porter and Dr. Stephen Kajiura stand in the jaws of the prehistoric, over 50 foot long Megalodon shark.
This week, I was invited to see The Meg at the AutoNation IMAX Theater with a reception in the Museum of Discovery and Science in Fort Lauderdale, home of a 50 foot Megalodon model. I expected a great action adventure movie - what could be more exciting than Jason Statham and a giant shark? As a female shark biologist, here are a few of my favorite aspects about The Meg.
Warning: there maybe a few spoilers in here!
The Meg starts off on a very elaborate billion dollar marine lab. It is a fantasy to have a privately funded lab like this housed with all the science technology and equipment you could ever want. It would be amazing to have this sort of facility (hint, hint – Bezos, Gates, and Zuckerburg!).
The Meg cast is wonderfully diverse. Leading characters represent a range of nationalities and ethnic backgrounds. We all know that workplace diversity is important. I am also happy to see a lead character is a female scientist!
The lead scientist is also a mom, and she is able to bring her child to work! Talk about a progressive workplace! It is fantastic for moviegoers, especially younger ones, TO see women in career roles modeled in movies. I hope that more women will be featured in lead roles, especially lead scientists, but I am biased there.
Throughout the movie he randomly pulls masks out of his wetsuit and keeps jumping in the water without fins or any gear. Jason Statham was a world ranked diver in his youth and knows how to swim. As a biomechanist who studies swimming, I am happy to see an actor with good form. It is easier to believe someone in the role of marine scientist/explorer if they can actually swim.
At several points in the movie many species of sharks are featured. The behaviors shown in the movie are not entirely representative of their actual biology.
As a shark biologist, The Meg fascinates me. Carcharocles megalodon is extinct and like dinosaurs, they inspire us with their size and power. The Meg has a skeleton made of cartilage like other sharks so it does not fossilize well, but we can learn a lot of the bits we are able to find - like their teeth. We can also study extant species, those species that are around today, to understand what the Megalodon might have looked like and how it might have lived. If you are looking for a nice action adventure movie before the academic year starts, I can highly recommend The Meg. Also, you do not have to worry about Megalodon at the beach; you are safe there!