The best way I can describe Colossal to you is it is Godzilla meets Heathers. The Godzilla part sure, that’s a no brainer. It has giant kaiju monsters in it. But why Heathers? I’ll get to it.
Because this stars Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis, immediately you think these two will get together and fall in love. But you have to remember what I said about romance films made these days in my La La Land review. Romantic leads never seem to get together anymore. And wow does this film take that to an extreme.
Colossal, around the second to third act takes a sudden dark turn. Like Heathers. What you think is going to be a romantic comedy turns into an allegory about abuse. Both emotional and physical. The guy who you think is our romantic lead, turns out to be an abusive stalker and our villain. What a twist!
One thing the trailers did right was it didn’t spoil any of the movie for you. That’s my job! You know the film has a giant kaiju monster and you know Anne Hathaway is the one controlling it. What the trailer doesn’t tell you is there’s actually a second kaiju monster that shows up. More on that later.
Anne Hathaway plays Gloria, when we are first introduced to her, she’s getting home late after a long night of drinking. Her British boyfriend has finally had enough of her shenanigans, so he kicks her out on her ass.
With no place to go, she comes back to her childhood home, now abandoned. While outing to get her an air mattress, she runs into her old childhood friend Oscar, played by Jason Sudeikis. And instantly you want these two to get together. He’s charming and nice to her, not to mention funny… sure he might not be very good for her seeing as she’s a raging alcoholic and he runs a bar. But these two whacky kids can make it work. Two messed up people fall for each other all the time. At first you think what you’re seeing is him having feelings for her. How can you not? She might be a bit of a lush, but it’s still Anne Hathaway. I’m not sure why she gets so much hate from people. Sure, she’s made some terrible romantic comedies in the past, but so has Matthew McConaughey. People were quick to forgive him.
Oscar is nice enough to give her a job at his bar. Again, maybe not the best job for her, but it’s something. And she gets to hang out with her friends after work in the closed off section of the bar that wasn’t renovated. It used to have a western theme.
Mixed in with the group are Oscar’s two other friends Garth and Joel. Joel is the dumb pretty one that catches Gloria’s eye. Something Oscar doesn’t like at all. When he first catches Joel making a move on her, he becomes a different character. One filled with jealousy and rage. The film is subtle about it, but that jealousy and rage has always been there under the surface. We ignore it because it’s Jason Sudeikis and we want these two to get together by the end.
By the end of Heathers I was still thinking Veronica and J.D. could patch things up too.
There’s hints throughout that maybe Oscar is more messed up than we are led to believe at first. He mentions in passing how jealous he was that Gloria was so good at her school projects and story writing. And of course how she was able to leave this small town and make a name for herself. She’s a writer. Who was fired for making a crude joke.
You also get a bit of what Oscar has been dealing with. He mentions a girl he was living with and her baby. But she left him. Was the baby his? Don’t know. When Gloria finally shows up at his house to confront him, you see his living conditions. He’s kind of a hoarder, with pictures of his ex with her face scratched out. Red flags galore.
You also start to see the dynamic between him and his friends, how verbally abusive he is towards them. Especially pretty but dumb Joel. You get this sense that it’s always been like this. And with Gloria added to the mix it becomes extremely volatile. And that’s not even including the fucking giant kaiju monsters yet.
When Joel makes a move on Gloria and Oscar explodes, you think at first it’s out of jealously. And it kind of is but it’s more than that. It isn’t a romantic jealousy…
Like I said, Oscar has always been jealous of her but now she’s back and he wants her to be down to his level. Miserable, having nothing. So when she gets something as simple as a fuck buddy in Joel that kind of sends him off. And you start to see the cracks in his mask.
My one complaint about the film is his sudden switch. It does seem like someone flipped a switch and he became evil. For me, I’d at least like to see them sleep with each other maybe once before he gets weird. At least then it would make his motivations less confusing.
Let’s get back to the monsters.
For some reason at 8:05 AM a giant monster pops up in Seoul, South Korea. It mindlessly walks through the city, crushing and killing whatever is in its way. Gloria starts to notice some things however. This head scratching thing she does seems to be what the monster does as well. Curious.
She then starts to piece together that her movements are all mimicked by the monster whenever she passes through the playground of this park she cuts through when she stumbles home.
Of course the realization that she’s controlling this monster hits her with the reality that she’s also responsible for hundreds of deaths. Eventually she lets the other guys in on her discovery. But freaking out that she accidently just killed a few more people, Oscar has to step in and help her. That’s when he discovers whenever he steps into the playground area, a giant robot appears.
Now, would what’s about the come still happen if he never found this out? Would he still go off the deep end? Would he and Gloria’s relationship deteriorate as fast as it does if not for the whole monster thing? I think so. What really set him off was finding out Gloria and Joel slept together. He begins drinking more, becoming more hostile. The fact he can now control a giant robot was just perfect timing.
Eventually he starts to use the fact he can control a giant robot against her. If you don’t drink with me, I use the robot to destroy the city. If you stop working at the bar, I’ll use the robot to kill more civilians. You leave town… well you get the picture.
And like I said, this sudden personality switch kind of seems to come out of nowhere. That is if you hadn’t noticed the hints the film was giving you.
When Gloria and Oscar were kids, Gloria loses her diorama of South Korea she did for a class project. Thinking Oscar is being a really good friend, he chases after the diorama. But instead of giving it back to her, he stomps on it, destroying it.
They never said when it happened, but Oscar’s mom died, they mention it early on with Gloria not remembering. She even went to the funeral. Maybe part of Oscar’s acting out was him trying to deal with his mom’s death, being left alone with his dad. They never said he was abusive, but it did seem like he was a bit of a hard ass. All that could explain his behavior.
Or, maybe even at a young age, he was that jealous of Gloria. He was miserable and he really wanted his friend to be miserable too. I don’t know, human emotions are too much for me to compute.
Anyway, after witnessing Oscar destroying her diorama, lightning strikes the both of them, showing the toy monsters in their backpacks. Her a monster and him a robot.
The only real laugh the film got out of me was a patron at the bar, watching the tv, yelling “I knew it! I knew he was a good monster!”. That’s right after Gloria slapped the shit out of Oscar, looking like the monster was scolding the giant robot for stomping on the city.
Oscar plays it off like he finds it funny like everyone else does, but you can tell there’s a storm brewing in him. He really goes off the deep end when Gloria’s British boyfriend comes to town to take her back with him to New York.
In a fit of calm madness, Oscar sets off a beast of a firework in his bar, setting some of the interior ablaze. He tells her boyfriend that it didn’t matter what he did, Gloria would still stay with him. Knowing if she left, he’d use the robot to kill hundreds of people.
I do have to illiterate how out of left field all of this is. Before, he and Gloria were really connecting. They were having hearts to heart, like I said, really connecting. And then Oscar just kind of loses his shit.
I mean, he goes full on psychopath. After the incident at the bar, he just shows up in her house waiting for her. He wants to make sure she stays true to her word and stays.
After the two brawl for a bit, her losing. She watches on as he destroys South Korea. Knowing she can’t go on like this, she takes the drastic move of flying to Seoul. Her reasoning being if the park in the US sends her kaiju monster to South Korea, wouldn’t being in South Korea send the kaiju monster to the park in the US?
The answer is yes.
She faces him, sending her monster to the park. At this point I was still sort of hoping for these two crazy kids to work things out… but then she grabs him and sends him flying. But you don’t know, maybe he lived. And maybe J.D. survived after blowing himself up at the end of Heathers.
I honestly love this premise. I found the film to be extremely ingenious and insanely original. Not once did the film ever go the way I thought it would. And it could have gone so many different hackneyed ways. Like having Oscar fight Gloria’s boyfriend at the end in the park and have their monsters simulate the fight. Just one of many dumb ideas I thought might happen. Thankfully I was completely wrong.
I do have some minor complaints though. After a blow out with Oscar and his friends, especially Garth, you never see him again. The character just up and disappears. You do see Joel later on, but poor Garth. Oscar’s beratement consisted of calling out on his hidden drug addiction. I can only assume the worst after the character leaves.
It really is this big budget monster movie like Pacific Rim but mixed in with it is this tiny low budget indie film. I do recommend checking this one out, yet I don’t know if seeing it at the theater is necessary like it was for Kong Skull Island.
I can tell you, you’ll never see anything like it. Unless you count Monsters. Or the sequel Monsters: Dark Continent. But besides that, nothing like it!
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