Colossal: A Social Commentary

colossal1FILM HOUSE: Colossal a social commentary

I can’t help but interpret a film such as Colossal geo-politically, which makes it all the more funny and all the more scary.

It’s one of these movies that should not be confined to genre when attempting to describe it but in the end its ironic humour, and understanding of the full capabilities of science-fiction, is what makes it such an original piece.

It is a Spanish-Canadian co-production, written and directed by Spanish filmmaker Nacho Vigalando, whose fascination with the monster genre Kaiju brings out an unusual interpretation of power across borders.

It starts out with our protagonist, Gloria, played by Anne Hathaway, getting kicked out of her boyfriend’s apartment as a result of her excessive drinking and partying. Having nowhere else to go, she returns to her hometown in the hopes of a fresh new start. Instead, she meets her childhood friend, Oscar, played by Jason Sudeikis, who happens to own a bar, the place that holds all Gloria’s later lethal temptations. After a night of drinking, Gloria wakes up to the news of a monster attacking Seoul, South Korea. She is horrified and feels somewhat helpless.

At first, Colossal seemed to be about the world’s reaction to a powerful being that is clueless to how its actions affect the tiny people at its feet. It’s hard not to think of one specific person when referring to a clueless powerful being especially in ironic moments like when Oscar recounts one of the monster’s appearances and says, “It just stood there and made a bunch of hand gestures.”

We get to see how even in such a small town, every TV screen appears to be displaying the events unravelling thousands of miles away. Some people are instilled with fear, like Gloria. Other people are completely oblivious to the possibility of the dangers that are happening somewhere in Asia to come right to them in a place so well secured like the states. As Gloria so accurately stated, “If the monster is only attacking Seoul then all the rest of the world will stop caring.”

However, there’s a twist. Gloria soon realizes that she, a jobless alcoholic, has unknowingly been responsible for the tragedies in Seoul. With this sudden unexplainable debatable power, her intoxicated self shares this secret with her friends and accidently introduces Oscar to a newfound power of his. Now that he has found some control in his life, the people of Seoul face a power-hungry and therefore destructive monster.

Suddenly, the film becomes a discussion about the imbalance of power and having it placed in the wrong hands. As an audience we can’t help but interpret what we watch as an artifact produced from our times. That is what makes Colossal a comedy to appreciate because it seems to casually and unintentionally comment on what is currently going in the world. That sort of humour is what invokes the feeling of unaffectedness and is what makes it a thriller.

As it still is one of the summer’s usual adventure movies, it offers more than that. Our actions, no matter how irrelevant they seem, impact people around us and consequently the world we live in. How to treat people around us, whether it is to lure them back into bad habits or empathize with them, has a colossal impact on the world at large.


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