Saturday, January 21, 2017

But I Digress... My What Big Teeth You Have

By Cat

This week, I couldn’t resist spotlighting something with big pointy teeth! 

Whoever said Facebook isn’t good for anything but memes, food pics, and internet arguments needs to check themselves. I apparently subscribe to the interesting corners of the interwebs, because a few days ago a story from snagged my attention and sent me into a geeky squee-fest.

Jason Statham (Wild Card, Spy, Mechanic: Resurrection) is starring in a megalodon movie. 

Move over Jaws (1975), this has my attention.

What movie, you ask? The title is simply MEG – but there’s going to be little simple about it. Set for a March, 2018 release by Warner Brothers Pictures, this is going to be mega. (Yes, I did that.) With a budget of roughly $150 million and a high-grossing action badass, there’s a recipe for success there. That’s before you take into account the rest of the well-known cast. I’ll get to that in a bit. It’s not a guarantee, of course. We have seen plenty of big-budget flops in the past – but I hold out hope.

Statham’s character is both deep sea diver and paleontologist, and on a collision course with a prehistoric monster in the deepest trench in the Pacific Ocean. With Statham’s swimming background and action-movie repertoire; I am praying for a hole-in-one.

Jon Turteltaub (Jericho, National Treasure, The Sorcerer's Apprentice) is at the direction helm of this movie. The film also features a well-known cast including Bingbing Li (The Forbidden Kingdom, Resident Evil: Retribution, Transformers: Age of Extinction), Ruby Rose (Orange is the New Black, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, xXx: Return of Xander Cage), Masi Oka (Jobs, Heroes Reborn, Hawaii Five-0), Rainn Wilson (The Office, Cooties, Backstrom), and Cliff Curtis (10,000 BC, Columbiana, Fear the Walking Dead).

The film is an adaptation from the international bestseller MEG: A Novel of Deep Terror by Steve Alten (The Shark Is Still Working, Jurassic Fight Club, Monsterquest), whom also worked on the screenplay for the movie.

Alten’s series is comprised of five books, currently. If this one does well; who knows, we might see a film franchise spawn. I’ll be honest that I haven’t read these books. That will be corrected, however. I have been a shark fanatic since I was little, and can’t believe I missed these. MEG was first published in 1997 and has been released recently as a special hardback 20th anniversary edition. 

For any whom might be asking themselves what a megalodon is, I have your answer. It is only the largest shark that has ever lived. Carcharodon megalodon was the nightmare of the Cenozoic era. They grew to be nearly 60ft long, and weighed upwards of 13 tons. Baby megalodons were about the size of modern day great whites. Babies.

Just for some perspective, picture the mosasaurus from Jurassic World (2015) – you know, the giant aquatic reptile that chomped a great white in the trailers? Megalodon put the size of that beast to shame. Those reptiles of the ancient deep topped out at about 50ft. Hollywood roughly doubled its size for the sake of the movie – but picture a shark in scale that was 10ft longer than that monster and with teeth seven to ten inches long.

Left: Fossil reconstructive specialist, Dr. Jeremiah Clifford, holding jaw of large great white shark. Photo by Louie Psihoyos, Corbis Right: Megalodon tooth in comparison with great white teeth, scale in cm.
When I was in third grade, my dad found some fossilized shark teeth while working on a construction site on the East coast. I brought those huge teeth to a museum for identification, and they turned out to be none other than megalodon teeth. I have been fascinated with sharks ever since.

My shark teeth fossils.
Alten promised in his recent interview that this movie will keep you at the edge of your seat.  I don’t want to wait a year. I want to watch it now! Though, considering this project has changed hands through development hell since 1997, I suppose a year isn’t that long. 

Keep your eyes peeled for this one, and I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed.

Bonus!: The following is a promotional trailer released for the special 20-year-anniversary edition of Alten's first book. Please note this is not the movie trailer. No actual film footage has been released at this time. Trailers circulating YouTube are either book promos or fan-made, claiming to be official.

If you'd like more information on the megalodon, check out the Discovery page dedicated to them here. If you would like to see more cast or production information about the movie MEG, you can find it on IMDb here

But I Digress... is a new weekly column for that can't be pinned down to just one thing. It's Cat's celebration of tangents, random references, and general fan geekdom that both intertwines with, revolves around, and diverges from our movie-review core. In homage to the beloved Brit comedians, we want to bring you something completely different!

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