A very big shark and an underwater habitat for the rich

The action movie Meg was released in 2018 and did surprisingly well at the box offices, considering that the shark-vs-man plot seems so outdated and overdone. Apparently it was two decades in the making and it feels a bit like it too watching it. Nevertheless, there is a sequel already in cinemas now testifying to it’s apparent appeal.

The first half of the film is essentially an underwater movie and thus I found it worth analyzing for this blog. The most striking aspect of this underwater scenario seemed to me the interior design of the habitat. As opposed to the usual submarine research base, this submarine station looks a lot more like the rescue bunkers currently advertised for billionaires across the globe or the luxury ocean resorts by South-African hotel mogul Sol Kerzner. Compare this image from the movie and the one from an ad for “Atlantis Hotel” in Sanya Bay, China, below:

This is clearly not coincidental: The second half of the movie plot is prominently set in this very Sanya Bay, currently a prime Chinese tourist destination. The movie is a US-American-Chinese co-production and there are clearly visible marketing intentions at play here. (I have written about the Atlantis hotel group elsewhere in this blog.)

There is also a scene in the movie indicating quite directly the connection between the taste of the mega-rich and this kind of submarine design: Towards the beginning of the movie the US-American Billionaire who finances the research station comes to visit. Entering a freight elevator to go down to the station, he expresses his disdain with the raggedy look of the elevator’s inside, calling it inappropriate for such an expensive research project. He is than relieved to find that the station itself looks much more to his taste.

Here are two more images, with the first one being clearly reminiscent of hotel resorts (with a little girl frolicking along) and the second of the type of sleek office design favored by global market players:

The interior design tells us that this project is actually catering to the taste and needs of the wealthy class more than to science. The topic of submarine refuge is never touched upon verbally in the movie but the images speak quite loudly too, I think. One can’t help notice the stark difference to earlier movies about (and the reality of) submarine research and thus the attractiveness of these fictional rooms.

As billionaires in the real world continue to publicly participate in person in all kinds of enterprises that were once reserved for scientists only, the work environments change accordingly. This of course makes the whole enterprise highly questionable in scientific terms. And I am afraid we are going to see more of this in the future – in film and real life. (See also my post on rich men’s rescue schemes here.)

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