Megalodon (2002)

Megalodon (2002)

Sixty Feet of Prehistoric Terror!

A news reporter arrives on a the largest drilling platform ever constructed in the North Atlantic off the coast of Greenland in order to document how safe it is. During one of the first drilling incursions where the crew drill further than anyone has ever done before, a large fissure is ruptured which reveals a secondary ocean beneath our own. This new ocean is teaming with unique kinds of life, not least a gigantic 60ft pre-historic shark known as the Megalodon.

 

Killer shark flicks deserve better. Why are the majority of them so appallingly made? How hard is it for someone to get the formula right? Everyone has tried to emulate Jaws with little success. In the day and age of CGI, this number is only going to increase. Recently there’s been a bit of a run on killer shark flicks with Megalodon sharks, those gigantic 60ft sharks which inhabited Earth millennia ago. You’d have thought the cool idea of a really big shark would be a gold mine to any potential filmmakers. But those that have dabbled their feet in the water haven’t come up with much joy. Instead of finding a fearsome predator to drag them to the depths, they’ve made their films so pathetic that it’s almost as if a shark with no teeth is licking their foot.

Megalodon is sub-standard horror-thriller which promises much with a groovy cover box but delivers little including a giant version of Lenny the shark from Shark Tale. The idea of a giant shark has been bounced around quite a lot lately with a few similar flicks being released but none have really captured the essence of what a giant shark like that could actually be doing. Instead of smashing boats to pieces and taking apart jetties and piers for instance, the shark here is just content with swimming around the oil platform for most of the film. I want to see the extraordinary shark being placed in ordinary situations (i.e. swimming near beaches, taking out ships, etc.) where our usual preconceptions of a killer shark film could be expanded. I want to see the shark in situations that we have experienced ourselves. Think of how much damage a giant shark could do if it were attacking swimmers off a beach resort – it could simply gulp people down in one go. I do not want it stuck somewhere totally unrealistic and never venturing further a field just for the sake of the film.

It takes long enough for the shark to appear anyway (a good forty minutes I’d say) and even when it does appear, there’s not really a build-up of suspense or anything to deem it a threat. It just kind of appears on the sonar and then doesn’t do an awful lot for the remaining time except smash a few of the mini-submarines. It’s hardly pant-wetting material and it’s a tragic waste of a 60ft shark! Megalodon is not the only recent shark film to feature people in submarines being attacked. Where is the fun in that? It’s like feeding the shark sardines without opening the tin!

It seems like someone was having fun on their computer when this was in post production as practically everything is CGI or enhanced with it and rather unconvincing at that. It’s just saturated from beginning to end. Think of the way in George Lucas turned his second Star Wars trilogy into CGI fests where the only real things were the actors (and even some of the characters were completely animated). It’s cheaper than building sets but my eyes can only take so much low grade CGI before I go crazy. The scenes outside on the iceberg look fake and the shark, well, I’ve already said it looks like it was an extra from Shark Tale. It’s obvious that there was a bit of cash thrown at the effects to save on building models and stuff but at least give the cash to someone who would animate a shark that looks scary.

As I’ve said, the only real things on display are the actors and at least they’re acceptable enough to not warrant a barrage of criticism from me. Robin Sachs is pretty laid back as the businessman who owns the oil rig and Al Sapienza adds a bit of colour to his ‘experienced veteran’ role. Most of the other characters are hit and miss but with these two guys pulling the strings, at least the human side isn’t as bad as it should have been given that almost everything else sucks.

 

Someday there will be a big budget version of this where a giant pre-historic shark actually interacts with humans in real situations and has some cash spent on it properly. Unfortunately until then we’re stuck with the likes of Megalodon, Shark Attack 3: Megalodon and Shark Hunter where the sea is brimming with giant sharks. But they’re toothless and childish monsters, instead of the fearsome, unstoppable monsters that they deserve to be.

 

 ★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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