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Movies Kelly Parks Review by
Kelly Parks
megalodon
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MEGALODON - 2004
Corbitt Digital Films LLC / Monarch Home Video
Rating: PG-13

Geeks love the Discovery Channel. My kind is fascinated by science documentaries in general and certain fields of science in particular. We love space travel documentaries, we love history documentaries and we loves us some dinosaur documentaries. That's why if you asked the average geek a question about a T. Rex or a Triceratops, the odds are good you'd get more information than you wanted. And if you asked the average geek, "What's a Megalodon?" The answer would come back instantly: "The biggest, most dangerous shark that ever lived."

MEGALODON was directed by Pat Corbitt (his first time directing) and written by Gary J. Tunniclife (GUARDIAN) and Stanley Isaacs (LAST GASP). It opens with a big chunk of exposition disguised as a news broadcast. There's a couple of quick stories about shark attacks and the oil shortage (mini-science moment: there is no oil shortage) followed by a detailed report on Peter Brazier (Robin Sachs: JURASSIC PARK II), CEO of Nexecon Oil. Brazier's company has just finished building Colossus, a huge, mostly automated oil rig in the North Sea.

The report concludes with a wild-eyed warning from an environmentalist that the "plates are unstable" under Colossus and drilling could result in "environmental holocaust". Of course that's just plain stupid - the oil rig may look huge on a human scale but compared to the crustal plates it's the tiniest, most insignificant flyspeck - but that's what you should expect from an environmentalist so it works.

The story cuts to the arrival (by helicopter) of reporter Christen Giddings (Leighanne Littrell) and her trusty cameraman Jake Thompson (Fred Belford) at Colossus. Brazier greets them and gives them the grand tour, which includes introducing them to the really small crew that runs this huge facility. Ross Eliot (Al Sapienza: GODZILLA) and Maz Zablenko (Jennifer Sommerfield: TERRIFIED), the two sub drivers, are the most colorful.

Okay, so we've got a bunch of people on an oil rig way out in the ocean in a movie we know from the title is about a giant shark. I wonder where the shark will come from? No sooner than you can say, "drill into a giant underground cave", does a wide variety of long extinct sea life begin pouring out. Unfortunately it takes rather a long time before said sea-life includes the eponymous big fish. A lot of this time is spent making trips up and down to the sea bottom in a huge glass elevator in what was a pretty cool cgi effect the first time I saw it but after the third or fourth trip had lost its edge.

But one thing that will never lose its edge is the

!!!SCIENCE MOMENT!!!:
The Megalodon (which means "big tooth") is related to the Great White shark but it was quite a bit bigger: anywhere from 60 to 80 feet long.

Continued at SCIENCE MOMENT/Megalodon

The acting ranges from the excellent (Robin Sachs as Brazier) to the decent (Al Sapienza as Eliot) to standard low budget sci-fi flick awful (everybody else). And I did like that the oil company was portrayed as misguided, not cartoonishly evil as has become common in so many other movies, although it is a little hard to believe that they spent billions building this rig but didn't take the time to do the kind of seismic surveys that certainly would have revealed the giant cave.

Another thing that's notable, mostly for its absence, is decent background music to heighten the tension and some appropriate sound effects to go along with all the CGI visuals. Many of the scenes with the big shark seem lifeless as a result. And as is always the case where the monster is in the water in a monster movie, you need to have a reason for people to be in the water so the monster is threatening. Often this is contrived although it's not as truly bad as, say, DEEP BLUE SEA.

Adding up the good and the bad, I have to give MEGALODON two shriek girls. I wanted it to be more. Science geeks like me are eagerly waiting for somebody to make a decent movie about Megalodons. But this ain't it.

Shriek GirlsShriek Girls
This review copyright 2004 E.C.McMullen Jr.

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