I shall be picking up Colossal, raising some questions and taking in it’s scope to determine if it’s tremendous or to be looked down on. So read on only if you’ve already seen Colossal, or don’t plan to.
0:01:41 A girl child in Seoul, Korea, walking through a park at night with her mother, stops to look for a lost doll. Just after she finds it, a giant monster (Kaijū (怪獣, in Japanese) strolls past amongst the buildings. The little girl screams, which may not seem like much, yet is more than her mum does.
25 Years Later
Like a statute of limitations, this will be important later
0:05:07 Gloria (Anne Hathaway) arrives at her flat still drunk, and lies to her boyfriend, Tim (the ever loving Dan Stevens) about what she’d been doing. As this is not the first time–and she’s only using him for his money so she doesn’t have to work–he politely asks her to leave. Yet he will eventually be labelled the bad guy, which is a massive WTF, and I’m not even saying that just because he’s hot as sin on Sunday and she’s got the most horrible bangs since Imogen Poots in Green Room.
0:05:24 Wait, he’s the demon for asking her to leave, but she’s the one who told her friends to hide until after he’d left so they could continue to party in his flat while he’s at work paying for the booze they’re drinking? WTF!? That said, I’ve never seen one person look so fresh after partying all night, let alone five.
0:06:24 Gloria’s got a lot of baggage As she’s thrown out on the street, Gloria finds herself forced to move back into a beautiful suburban two-storey house, aka “white homeless”.
[N.B. The song playing as she enters the house is “Shake Sugaree”, by Elizabeth Cotten. This song, as well as the others in the film, are on the playlist found at the bottom of this article.]
0:07:42 The next morning, she’s returning home from the local Five & Dime with a heavy box in a pillow case (we will learn much later it’s an air mattress still in its box), when she bumps into an old, childhood friend Oscar (Jason Sudeikis) whom she hasn’t seen in ages. They’re the kind of close where she forgets she went to his mother’s funeral.
[N.B. The song playing he drives her to the bar he owns is “The Great American Shakedown” by Oil Boom. Check out this song and the others from the soundtrack on the playlist at the bottom of this piece.]
0:10:41 Gloria explores Oscar’s bar while he prepares to open.
Gloria: [looking at upturned pallets with faerie lights that block off part of the pub] Hey, didn’t this use to be bigger?
Oscar: Yeah, good memory! I just ended up shutting that half down, you know. Didn’t need it. The people and everything…
This blocked off section of the pub represents the part of his aggression / childhood that closed down when Gloria left Maidenhead. And now that she’s returned, it’s only right that she opens that part up again. She’s literally getting him to open up.
0:12:14 That evening, still at the bar, Gloria meets two regulars, young Joel (Austin Stowell) and weird Garth (Tim Blake Nelson). While Oscar’s mates pub babble, Gloria decides to take the plunge…into a beer. She’s been hesitating about drinking all evening (because it was the drink that landed her in trouble with her ex in New York City), but eventually gulps at a PBR after this exchange.
Joel: What do you think of Maidenhead? Has it changed a lot?
Gloria: To tell you the truth, I have no fucking idea.
Which I usually wait to say until after I’m drunk.
[N.B. The film is set in Maidenhead, New Jersey, but the actual filming location is Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.]
[35:28 N.B. For those keeping score, the ‘M’ on her wrist is the only genuine bad Anne Hathaway tattoo in the film.]
0:13:24 In the unused part of the bar, after closing, with the three blokes and Gloria…
Gloria [alone with Joel at a table]: Why do they always do that?
Gloria: They always introduce you to all the guys except the good looking ones. [She rises to walk away.] One.
That’s going to come back and bite her in the ass Joel’s looking at.
Gloria: Ah! It’s like a fucking Wes Anderson movie in here, Oscar. I love it!
Gloria is referring to the back room’s decor and the resemblance it bears to indie film director Wes Anderson’s sets, which often have a retro chic vibe. Or like heaven, because Wes Anderson is a directing God.
[N.B. The song they’re listening to in the bar as the sun comes up is Dory Previn’s “The Lady with the Braid”. See playlist at the end of this post.]
0:14:44 While BSing with the group, Oscar lets slip that, when they were in elementary school, Gloria won all of the short story competitions. When she claims they were terrible, Oscar responds, “Apparently they were better than mine, so…” This is important because he’s in competition, not love, with her.
0:14:54 Joel makes a move to kiss Gloria in front of Oscar (because of when she flirted with him earlier). The moment is as uncomfortable as a sundial shoved up that place where the sun doesn’t shine.
0:16:21 On her way home from the bar, Gloria sees children on their way to school as she passes through a playground in a park. The tots may be on their way to school, but Gloria is about to learn a lesson.
0:18:04 Nine hours later, after passing out on the living room floor, Gloria receives a call from her friend Isis, who tells her the shocking news. Gloria goes online and sees that a giant monster materialised and walked through Seoul, South Korea, causing as much damage as a drunk girl in people’s lives.
[18:26 N.B. The tattoo on her finger is not a real Anne Hathaway official tattoo, but was added for the film. Does anyone know what it is or symbolises?]
0:19:11 Gloria calls Tim to talk about the event, only to learn that it happened 9 hours ago and she’s been passed out the entire time. Damn Tim for realising this, too, because it’s clearly his fault somehow.
[N.B. Clearly the theme of drinking and alcoholism is central to the film’s story.]
0:22:20 After drinking all night, Gloria stumbles to the park and passes out on the bench. Upon waking and still drunk, she calls Tim while walking onto the playground and scratching her head. This is important because she doesn’t have lice.
0:24:01 Oscar brings over a telly Gloria doesn’t remember asking for. Looks like the screen isn’t the only thing that’s blacked out.
0:24:18 Oscar tells Gloria that the monster returned to Seoul again, exactly at 8:05, just like 25 years ago. Gloria never heard about that, which feels a little WTF to me, but then again, it’s fresh in our memory from 1:41.
0:26:49 Gloria also doesn’t remember getting a job working at the bar, though when Oscar reminds her, she agrees on the condition that he open up the ”western side”. It’s room to grow, I guess.
0:27:18 Gloria sees the monster imitating her tic from 22:20 and understands she’s a monster.
0:28:01 As she works behind the bar that evening, she watches the pub’s big screen telly where the monster copies her actions of checking the mobile phone and then chucking it, which she did. She’s even more convinced that she’s the monster. And that she needs a new phone.
0:28:38 Later, she verifies the video of the first appearance and realises the monster is holding her arms just as Gloria had when carrying the air mattress in a pillow case.
0:30:37 Gloria maps out the park playground and the city of Seoul so she knows her way around, because when she steps out on the town, she steps out – on the town.
0:31:58 At exactly 8:05 in the a.m., she enters the playground, lifts one arm, then both arms, and returns to her house. She immediately turns on the TV and sees the monster has reappeared and made the exact same gestures. Thus, she has confirmation she’s a monster, and not just for the way she treats Tim.
0:34:28 WTF!? She’s been waiting to get back with Tim for ages and when he finally facetimes and is even more decent to her than she deserves, she completely forgets him in the middle of their conversing so she can open the door and let Oscar and Joel bring her a sofa. So, not only is she selfish and self absorbed, she’s also a bad person.
0:35:34 She ignores a call from Tim and looks contemplatively at her bottle. Looks as though she’s going to quit both.
[N.B. If you’re interested in doing the magic trick where Garth lights a teabag on fire to make it fly, you came to the right place.]
0:40:32 After a night of drinking, Gloria takes the lads to the park at 8:05 and proves that she’s the monster by imitating a dance Garth did of Oscar pointing at his ‘entertainment centre’. When the locals, however, begin attacking her, she accidentally knocks a helicopter out of the sky, killing the pilot and crew, and then falls down, causing as much destruction in their Seoul as Gloria in hers.
0:42:32 While Gloria pleads with Oscar to tell her how many people she killed, he shows her how he appeared beside her as a robot. I’m pretty sure that’s not the answer to her question.
[N.B. The choices of their avatars isn’t random. She’s a monster because of how she behaves when she’s drunk, and he’s a robot because–spoiler alert–he has no heart.]
0:44:26 Gloria tries to force a flashback to where she was 25 years ago, at the monsters original sighting. She can only come up with a couple seconds of walking towards a school bus and some flashback music.
[N.B. While Oscar and Gloria sit on the park bench and discuss their predicament, he confesses that he followed her progress after he left Maidenhead. This is placed here as evidence they’re engaged…in competition, and she didn’t even know it.]
0:45:28 Gloria has Oscar get a text translated into Korean. We don’t know what it reads, yet, but I’m guessing it’s not a “Seoul Survivor” pun. #sadly
0:50:01 Gloria/The monster kneels down and writes out, “I’m sorry. It was a mistake. It won’t happen again.” This is such a basic sentence for me that I can say it in 5 languages and put it on a cake.
[N.B. The song Gloria puts on after hours is “Little Gold Chain” by Future People.]
0:53:02 Gloria sneaks over to Joel’s place so they can hook up, and I don’t mean his cable.
0:54:08 The next morning, as she’s leaving his place, she catches sight of the telly, where Oscar / the robot is ‘taunting’ Seoul’s business district. The market isn’t the only thing that’s crashing.
0:54:37 When Joel drives Gloria to the playground to intervene, Oscar realises Joel put his monster in Gloria’s Seoul (#euphemism) and Oscar takes it far worse than she did last night (#amirite?).
0:56:04 Gloria tells him to leave but Oscar insults her by telling her she’s the one who killed a lot of people, and not him. She slaps him, which draws audible cheers from TV viewers, and just when it seems as though he’s gong to hit her back, he acquiesces and leaves the playground. Still, he’s like a J. J. Abrams film: Bad Robot.
Oscar: Have a beer.
Gloria: I haven’t had a beer since Sunday. Or any drink, really.
Gloria: Because I don’t want to do anything stupid.
More proof that this is a very subtle film against alcoholism. And stupidity.
1:01:44 Drunk Oscar insults Garth, throws Garth out of the bar, then pressures Gloria to drink by blackmailing her (‘Drink this beer or I’ll crush your Seoul’). But you know who the real asshole is? Joel, because he simply sits there and defends neither his friend nor his girlfriend. With friends like Joel, who needs Nazi collaborators?
[N.B. The character of ‘Joel’ represents ‘people’ (friends, acquaintances, strangers…). They participate passively in all your drama but do absolutely nothing to get involved.]
1:03:24 After Gloria pours the beer out on the ground, Oscar storms out and hops in his pickup truck (with a silently complicit Joel beside him). Gloria blocks the vehicle so Oscar insults her until she moves out of the way. If I were Oscar, I’d simply put the vehicle in reverse gear. WTF!?
1:05:22 Gloria and Oscar have a fight on the playground where she slaps and punches him and he wrestles her to the ground. Joel watches the scene on his tablet, where the giant versions of the pair act out the scene in Seoul. He’s passive-aggressive, minus the aggressive.
1:06:02 Oscar tells Gloria that if she quits her job, he’ll destroy an entire neighbourhood, and then tells her he’s through playing ‘Mr. Nice Guy’ and knocks her to the ground. He’s pretty pushy, in fact. There’s the ‘aggressive’.
1:07:41 Later that morning, Joel arrives at Gloria’s house with a van full of furniture from Oscar. He’s trying to say he’s sorry, but it looks more like trash talk.
1:08:26 She runs over to his house to question him, and when he invites her in, she sees he’s as dirty as my mind.
1:09:48 He apologises for hurting her, and she accepts on the condition that he ceases to drink after hours, to which he agrees.
Gloria: I’m no stranger to fucking up when drunk. It’s o.k., we’re good.
Gloria drives home the theme of the film in a big, obvious bus headed straight for Obvious Town.
1:19:54 Gloria takes Tim (who’s arrived in town ostensibly for work) to the bar, where Oscar lights firecrackers so illegal the bar catches on fire. The reason?
Oscar: I just did the most irresponsible thing you could do in this bar. You know what? Even so, Gloria’s not going to leave with you.
There’s an implicit threat that of she leaves, Oscar will destroy Seoul, so she stays. He’s got her where he wants her–well, the second place he wants her.
1:23:18 Oscar surprises Gloria in her house in the middle of the night, which causes Gloria to flashback to the origin of the incident.
A strong wind carries her project aloft, over a fence and into a spare lot, which is now the playground. Oscar scales the fence to rescue the project, Gloria thinks, but then she secretly watches while he places it in the ground and smashes it with his feet. Turns out he is the robot, but the monster, as well.
[N.B. He destroys her project for the same reason he’s fighting with her now: he’s jealous of her success.]
1:25:48 While Gloria seethes with anger, a lightning bolt slowly snakes down from the sky and strikes the place in her head where she scratches when upset. It is precisely at this moment that she first appears as the monster in Korea, where the little girl looking for her doll becomes the Seoul survivor. [See 1:41.]
1:26:06 When both children are knocked to the ground by the lightning, a monster figurine falls out of little Gloria’s backpack and a toy robot falls from Oscar’s. Obviously, the lightning strike and young Gloria’s rage generate a force strong enough to create alternate beings based on their toys that co-exist in the park where they fall and in the Korea of which Gloria has created a model. These dolls are not to be toyed with.
1:27:26 Gloria tells Oscar the reason he’s a knob isn’t because he wants to possess her, but because he hates his tiny life. She then proceeds to call Tim and tell him she’s going to join him. If looks could kill, Oscar’s gaze would already be arrested.
1:30:21 At that moment, the sirens start on the live feed from Seoul, meaning it’s 8:05 a.m. and the time window is open for the monsters. Oscar and Gloria get into a physical fight, he to reach the playground and she to stop him. At the playground, he knocks her to the dirt with a hard slap. Like a randy duchess, she’s down for the count.
1:30:52 Oscar tells Gloria that every day she’s away, he’s going to destroy Seoul. When it comes to destroying cities, Oscar puts his foot down.
1:33:51 Gloria jets off to Korea that night and arrives while Oscar, who’s bitter because he knows she left, is still drinking beer and waiting for 8:05. He knows she took off, but didn’t know it was literally.
1:34:54 She calls Tim and says, “You kicked me out of your flat because I was out of control and now I’m more out of control than ever.” What she means is, “I treated you like shite for years and then you called me on it so fuck you.” If a woman jettisoned an alcoholic man from her life and then he called her and insulted her, I doubt many of us would be cheering him on. WTF!?
1:33:56 8:05 The sirens go off and I can’t help but wonder if there’s mass destruction and large scale dying taking place in this part of Seoul on a regular basis, why don’t they evacuate it instead of filling it with cars and people at the exact hour the mayhem commences. WTF!?
1:37:01 WTF!? Joel watches from a neighbourhood bar like he didn’t know who the monster is and where he’s at? Oscar may be marching in the sand, but Joel’s buried his head in it.
1:39:47 Brilliant! Gloria flew to Seoul and, when the robot appears, she marches straight at him…because, just as New Jersey Oscar & Gloria are robots and monsters in Seoul, so is Korea Gloria a monster in New Jersey! What goes around comes around like a poor relative.
1:40:29 Gloria in Korea is a monster in New Jersey and she gets a hold of human Oscar there, and I don’t mean on the phone.
1:41:38 She throws puny Oscar up in the air as far as she can, which is quite far, as she has a lot of practice throwing things up.
1:44:25 While all of Seoul celebrates, Gloria walks into an empty bar [and why would she do this?] and asks the bartender if she wants to hear a story. The bartender agrees and asks Gloria if she’d like a drink. Gloria sighs because she apparently didn’t expect this question in a pub.
- WTF!?’s: 9 colossal ones
- When to Follow: It’d be a good watch during a drunken date night.
- Where’s This Found: A fun, quirky, art film with solid performances by Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis. The story is intriguing with an intellectual twist, yet the metaphors are accessible, thus fun to explore. Director Nacho Vigalondo turns in a good movie and I’m looking forward to seeing more from him. Out of a possible 10, I have 8 F’s to give, which makes it a strong recommend in my blog.
- What To Feedback: First, do you have any idea what her tattoos mean? I can’t seem to get a straight answer from Nacho Vigalondo. Secondly, I honestly don’t get all the hate concerning Anne Hathaway. Perhaps it’s down to the fact that I’m a gay man and she’s played a princess and been in a musical, but I don’t see what’s so bad about her. What about you?
Left Over WTF (Way Too Funny) Photos
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WTF!? do you meme?
What to Follow Up
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