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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Colossal (2016)



Spoilers: Be warned that I’m going to talk a lot about the plot of this movie. If you don’t like that sort of thing and want to be surprised skip the review and go watched the movie. It is awesome!

Gloria has issues. She is out of work, depressed, drinking way too much and homeless since her boyfriend kicked her out of their apartment. So, she ends up going back to her childhood home, though her parents are gone and took the furniture with them. She meets an old friend, Oscar, and starts working at his bar. Probably not the best place for someone with a drinking problem. They wake up one morning after a night of drinking to the news that a monster has attacked Seoul. It only appears for moments, but that is long enough for people to get hurt. Gloria notices the monster has a familiar tick and eventually figures out that when she steps into the park at exactly 8:05 in the morning the monster appears and does whatever she does. Being drunk she trips while showing this to Oscar and when he steps into the park a giant robot appears!

To recap Gloria is the monster and Oscar is a giant robot. This all goes well until Oscar gets jealous of another man’s attention towards Gloria. This escalates and it becomes obvious that the initially charming and friendly Oscar isn’t the nice guy he pretends to be. How does this play out? Well it looks like Seoul might be in trouble because Oscar is mad and going to hurt Gloria by hurting the innocent citizens of the city.

This is one of the most unique movies that I’ve ever seen. It takes the entire genre of city smashing monsters and turns it on its head. While we get some buildings getting smashed, helicopters firing missiles and people running away screaming that isn’t what the movie is about. Though there are monsters. One is Gloria’s drinking and general irresponsibility. She realizes too late what she can do when she gets drunk and in her stupor, ends up hurting a lot of people. Her actions have consequences. So that is monster number one. She stops drinking, figures out a way to apologize and tries very hard to never cause harm again.

These two make the movie work. Great cast!
By then however Oscar has lost his mind. He turns into an abusive jerk both physically and emotionally. This happens quickly and it is disturbing to watch. Eventually Gloria wants to leave and he threatens that he will visit the park every morning if she goes. She can’t let him do that but when she tries to stop him… Well he is bigger and stronger than her. His violence towards her caused me to cringe. His jealousy and anger are the second monster in the movie.

Let me say something about our cast here. Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis do a fantastic job in their roles as Gloria and Oscar. Honestly, I’ve never been a fan of Hathaway. Most of her movies don’t appeal to me, but with Colossal I get all the love people have for her. She is an amazing actress. Sudeikis is someone that I am a fan of. That said I never really knew he was such a talented actor. His character starts off like most that he has portrayed in the past, but gets dark and nasty. I was blown away by his performance.

The actual monsters don’t get a lot of time on screen, but what you do see is very well done. It is obviously all CGI, but it looks good so no complaints here. Like I mentioned earlier there are some buildings getting smashed and a few bits of helicopters firing away at theme. The final show down between Gloria and Oscar is also staged decently. The movie does violate some of its own rules about where you are and how long the creatures can exist in the real world. But for the story and how it resolves I’m willing to give it a pass. I only mention it because I noticed a lot of people obsess on it and want to rip the movie apart over it. That is a damn shame because Colossal is an original idea and in a cinematic world dominated with remakes, reimaginings, and general ripping off the past it stands out.

How did this not get a bigger theatrical release? It has known stars in it! Do yourself a favor and buy or rent a copy of Colossal today. Not only is it a good time but this is the sort of movie that everyone should support. Obviously, I recommend it.


© Copyright 2017 John Shatzer

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