Welcome to The Daily Cup a movie blog/writing project by Kyle B. Dekker, presented by Hot Chocolate Media. You can read series concept here. The basic rules, Kyle must watch 365 movies in 2018 and write about all of them. 292 of them have to be movies he's never seen before. Thanks for reading.
This review contains spoilers for the film Colossal (2016) got in and watch it cold, then come back and read this. It’s currently streaming on Hulu.
Most of us associate sci-fi villains with dark lords, alien conquerors, evil emperors, killer robots, and other mainstays of the genre. Every once in awhile a changeup happens and you get a sci-fi villain that chills you to your core, because you can find a real person in the world just like that villian, and that safety net of reality that makes you feel secure in most sci-fi films is gone. This anchored in reality type of sci-fi is my favorite, and Colossal (2016) is such a film.
Writer/director Nacho Vigalondo has crafted a story that is tonal successor to the works of authors Ray Bradbury, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Philip K. Dick. This is social mirror sci-fi at it’s best. The film has an over the top concept, that is anchored in real human connections, violence, and social issues. Yes this film has kaiju and giant robots, but in many ways they are the least important part of the film.
Anne Hathaway plays Gloria, a party enthusiast living in New York City who is kicked out by her boyfriend after another late night out. She returns to her old family home, in her quaint hometown. In the process of getting back on her feet she is given a job as a bartender by her former classmate Oscar, played by Jason Sudeikis. This starts out feeling like a normal romcom at first, but it starts diverging from that concept immediately after Oscar and Gloria meet. We learn there is a giant monster attacking Seoul Korea, and Gloria learns that she is the one controlling the monster at a specific time, in a specific location in her small town. At first this power is seen as a bemusement, until her control of the beast leads to the deaths of real people.
Crushed by the guilt of accidental killings, Gloria has a emotional and ethical crisis about what to do. Things get more complicated for her when she sleeps with a bar regular Joel (Austin Stowell) and the true ugly nature of Oscar comes out. Oscar begins lashing out against Gloria, controlling her life and exhibiting all the classic behaviors of a “nice guy” who is really just a toxic small minded man. He’s a man who thinks women owe him something to them because they are “nice” and give women gifts and security, missing the point that relationships are so much more than gifts and being “nice.” Things get more complicated when they discover Oscar can control a giant robot in Seoul, mirroring Gloria’s power. Oscar uses his new power as a method to control Gloria, threatening to destroy things and kill people in Korea with his giant robot, unless she obeys him. This cumulates in a physical fight, with Oscar assaulting Gloria and then going on a rampage as the giant robot, likely killing hundreds or thousands in Korea. The true evil is toxic masculinity at its most destructive.
The climax of the film is astounding. Gloria is left bruised and trapped in an impossible situation, or so it seems. Oscar’s male friends know he is wrong and abusive, but they lack the courage to confront him or do anything. Gloria’s ex-boyfriend Tim (Dan Stevens) stops by her hometown and you think at first he may be able to save her from the terror that is Oscar, but we are shown Tim is just as controlling and angry as Oscar. In a cool twist, Gloria travels to Korea, to the place where Oscar is projecting himself as the giant robot, bent on destruction again. Gloria has rightly figured out that if she is in Korea, she can project and control the kaiju in her hometown. She uses the kaiju to stop Oscar and literally toss him out of her life and end his threat to the world. I had to rewind the ending and watched it again, as I was busy picking up my jaw from the floor the first time.
Through giant robots and kaiju Colossal illustrates that evil can be around us in the most mundane of places. It teaches us that if we allow toxic masculinity to run rampant it can destroy lives. The idea that women owe men anything is reprehensible and gross and you should feel uncomfortable in every scene Oscar is in, he is a character we have all met in the real world. Often we ignore the actions of monsters like Oscar (much like the other male characters in this film), or worse we accept their behavior as normal. The movie shows women are perfectly capable of helping themselves and others, but the best way we can stop such a thing is to end bad behavior ourselves (I’m talking to you dudes out there).
Colossal is a phenomenal film. It is almost perfect sci-fi as it takes a fantastic idea and applies it to real problems and issues in our society and forces to take a long uncomfortable look at the problem. It’s easy to let evil endure if we ignore it, but if it is in your face you have to stand up and defeat it. Anne Hathaway and jason Sudeikis give amazing performances in this thought provoking and incredibly well crafted film. I recommend this movie to everyone.
Movies new to me watched: 18/292
Other movies: 5/73
Total movies watched: 23/365
Have your own thoughts or opinions on this movie? Comment below or contact Kyle at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @kbdekker.