Colossal Review

Colossal Review

They say that each one of us has a deep, dark, suppressed side. An inner “Monster” if you will. This, is true to a degree, however, there are many individuals that know how to keep their inner “beast” tame and caged. Then, you get those who give in to their primal desires and unleash their “Monster” upon the world in the attempts to get even or just simply wreak havok around them. All of this hits home and applies to this Action, Comedy, Drama movie, which is currently showing on the big screens across South Africa.

Colossal starts off with a confusing glimpse into the daily life of Gloria (Anne Hathaway), who has a repetitive and mundane pattern to her party-filled life to compensate for her stagnant and jobless responsibilities. After returning home in the early morning from a bender, she is faced with an argument with her boyfriend Tim (Dan Stevens), who gives her an ultimatum. “Shape up, or ship out!”. She hesitates, and then gets slammed with the “Your bags are already packed. Please be gone by the time I get home from work” line, leaving her not only hopeless, but homeless.

What’s The Worst That Could Happen?

Friends, Monsters and Playgrounds.
Gloria, with nothing other than the clothes in her bags, heads back to her hometown in New England where she moves into her parents old home, which is completely unfurnished. Funny enough, the first priority for her was to find the best spot in the house that could connect to the closest free Wifi Hotspot rather than to get the comfort necessities in place. Gloria then later, after waking up after a very uncomfortable nap on the hardwood floor heads to the local store where she buys herself a blow-up air mattress, and on her way home on foot, she meets up with a childhood friend of hers names Oscar (Jason Sudeikis).

This reunion, at first seems very welcoming and ideally just what Gloria needs, but Oscar owns the local bar, and Gloria, who is struggling with alcoholism, now finds herself in the same predicament she did back in New York, just with a different crowd. The two end up drinking the night away with some of Oscar’s friends, Garth (Tim Blake Nelson) and Joel (Austin Stowell), who is not the brightest, but gains Gloria’s interest. Gloria then stumbles out of the bar as morning breaks and lugs her mattress over her shoulder and hikes home. During this journey, she walks straight through the town playground, gets home and passes out before her mattress even inflates.

Gloria then wakes up to the news of a giant reptilian monster that appeared in Seoul, who caused a lot of damage but also just walked straight through the city, and vanished. Oscar then arrives with a nice big television for the empty house, that Gloria agreed to take while being drunk the previous night, and then also learns that she has been hired by Oscar to work at the bar. That same night, after closing time, Gloria, Oscar, Joel and Garth stay at the bar and drink till dawn, which becomes the routine until Gloria decides to call Tim while walking home again. While on the phone, Gloria fumbles around the playground again, making gestures and scratches her head, needless to say, Tim hangs up the phone because he realises that she is drunk again and tells her to go sleep it off.

For a second time, the monster appears, and gradually, Gloria realizes that when she walks through the playground at exactly 8:05 am, she causes the monster to manifest and the monster’s movements correspond with her own, all because of her scratching her head when she was on the phone with Tim.

Tame Your Monster

The Oscar Dance in New England and Seoul!
After yet another late night/early morning of drunk antics, Gloria decides to spill the beans at tell her new friends about her connection to the Seoul Phenomenon. A very confused Oscar then steps into the sandpit of the playground and stands next to Gloria, which then manifests another giant monster in Seoul, in the form of a Robot. A drunken Gloria, falls over and passes out.

When she wakes up, Oscar arrives at her home with some groceries and she then remembers falling over, and realises that she may have killed many innocent people, which then leads to her decision to “clean up her act”, but this is where the story takes a very unsuspected turn, because now Oscar has the same ability that Gloria has. Drunk (With Power and Alcohol) Oscar and the now sober Gloria begin to interact in Seoul via the “playground portal”, with Gloria’s Monster gaining a huge fanbase as a hero, due to seemingly defending the city from a rampaging robot, or rather, drunk Oscar. As the rest of the story develops, you learn how everything is connected to their youth, as we get to see a young Gloria, played by Hannah Cheramy and a young Oscar, played by Nathan Ellison.

With Gloria in control now, things start looking up for her, but a few events take place, sparking off some ripple effect repercussions that not only affect the people in New England, but also the citizens of Seoul. Will Seoul survive the tension? Will Gloria keep a level head? Can Oscar put a lid on his new found obsessions?

Strong Symbology

In all honesty, I really enjoyed watching Colossal, not knowing what to expect with regards to the plot direction being focussed on a lady that can control a freaky monster on the other side of the world. What hit home were the fundamental truths that are undertones in all the scenes, not only the ones with the Seoul Phenomenon. Colossal challenges your morality. Colossal challenges your determination. Colossal challenges your humanity.

The cinematography is fantastic, is has a very “camcorder”, come “blair witch” feel to it, with very desaturated tones throughout the movie, which lends very well to the overall finale and “aha!” moment. Interesting fact is that Colossal’s World Premiere was at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival, after which a very new Chinese company named Neon claimed the rights to distribution, which explains why Colossal was first released on 7 April 2017 to the USA Region. Colossal was filmed in six weeks on a budget of R184 Million in Vancouver, but despite the movie receiving mostly positive reviews, it had only regained 30% of its budget through the USA Box Office takings. With it now being released abroad, chances are that it will potentially increase that 30% to a much higher percentage. The acting is executed really well, with its true shining moments coming through with the raw emotion of each character and being able to identify with what they are going through. Granted, it will not be everyone’s “cup of tea”, but having been in Gloria’s position myself, I appreciate the movie in a different light to someone that probably would be in Tim’s position. So when watching, try stay neutral or try feel what each actor is feeling to experience the magnitude of the underlying truths.


Colossal is a very bold movie, but brings it’s message across exceptionally subtly. As mentioned above, it has had a long journey to finally reach our big screens and faced many challenges, like lawsuits for unauthorized usage of images from previous Godzilla movies, but the many Producers and the Director Nacho Vigalondo, never gave up on getting this “Semi-Indie” movie the exposure it deserves. The music score is not very flashy, but also, it does not need to be, because the entire package is well presented for entertainment, especially for those soon to be arriving cold winter movie nights, where you snuggle up with some hot chocolate, popcorn and movie munchies! If I had to classify it, it does not fall within the typical “chick-flick” category, due to its genre hopping recipe, but that being said, it would still be a great destination film for those Midweek or Saturday Night Ladies’ Night outings.

Visual Effects
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