Wednesday, April 26, 2017

'Colossal' Is A 'Giant Fairy Tale for Grown Ups' We Want To See

Gloria is an ordinary woman who, after losing her job and being kicked out of her apartment by her boyfriend, is forced to leave her life in New York and move back to her hometown. When news reports surface that a giant creature is destroying Seoul, South Korea, Gloria gradually comes to the realization that she is somehow connected to this far-off phenomenon. As events begin to spin out of control, Gloria must determine why her seemingly insignificant existence has such a colossal effect on the fate of the world.
At first glance this movie appears to be a monster-comedy movie with a lot of laughs, potential for some genuine emotional depth, but little to do with fairy tales. The fact there's a giant creature (known in Japan as a kaiju), connected to a human, might have prickled your folklore senses, and so it should. Giants have been having a quiet but steady presence in movies for the last decade, most recently with The BFG, A Monster Calls and even Pete's Dragon and Monster Trucks. But there is a different fairy tale connection to this movie as well.

The casting of Dan Stevens as the ex-boyfriend (most recently seen on the big screen with horns and a whole lotta CG covering his features) might give you a clue... Yes: it's Beauty and the Beast. It's just not one you've likely seen.. yet. (And it didn't need to be played by Dan Stevens to have that vibe.)

Unlike the Disney live action fairy tale, however, this one is less cinematic-magic-filled and more quirky and down-n-out around the edges, with a lot of tongue in cheek and an edgier lifestyle thrown in, (thanks to the initially unmotivated protagonist and her partying ways) but most specifically it's also less... 'neat'. There is no fairytale ending here, in the usual sense of the notion; note the use of the word 'fairytale' as in dreamy, as opposed to 'fairy tale' to which this bears a much closer tie. The Beast here is manifested fairly obviously, but it's not until the movie unwraps itself a little that you begin to discover what the monster truly is and the real Beast revealed, along with Beauty's role.

Refreshingly, it's not as simple as 'managing one's inner-demon with a sense of humor' plot line, but instead an exploration of more than might be expected. The result might just be one of those cult classics that people can't forget, no matter the crazy premise initially appears. Wonderfully, it doesn't set out to answer ALL the questions either (Where did it come from? Why now? How? Why her?). It just 'is', and accepting that, you can get on with the story. Much like experiencing that wonder element in fairy tales.
Here's the trailer:
(The) how and why (of Gloria's connection to the monster appearing on the other side of the world) bring “Colossal” into the supernatural realm, but the initially affable Oscar’s reaction to Gloria and her newfound superpower turns the fun genre mashup into a dark and scary analogy for very real-world issues.  
“It has so much different kind of meaning for different people,” Levine said. “To some people it is a kaiju film. To other people it’s a romantic comedy or a dramatic comedy. To some people it’s a psychodrama, a science fiction film. I personally look at it as an adult fairy tale.” (Bizjournals)
Oh, and did we mention a woman is carrying this genre movie? There are more than a couple of tropes being twisted here and she might just remind you of some conflicted fairy tale heroines while you watch.

Also worth mentioning: this indie film has proven to be a festival favorite... (see below), and more than a few noted genre movie critics are begging folks to give this off-beat premise a chance - not just because it is a fun genre movie, and flips tropes on their heads, but because it's also well-made overall, well paced and manages to be both an homage and flip of kaiju movies and rom coms, while ultimately being very fresh and original.
This movie is apparently best gone into without spoilers so we will stop discussing this here and (hopefully) at some point in the future, when we've had a chance to view it, (since it doesn't seem to be coming to our local theater and we might have to wait till DVD/streaming release!), we can give a better breakdown. 

In the meantime, for those that have seen it, or don't care about spoilers, or would like to revisit this AFTER seeing the movie, this awesome and VERY SPOILERY discussion by two female film critics, who talk about the unique aspects of this movie (and why they are even more impressed with it than they thought they'd be), is definitely worth bookmarking. And yes - you'll see fairy tale ideas and tropes discussed in this post as well. We wish we could expand on why we feel this is relevant to a contemporary fairy tale discussion but we don't want to spoil the viewing experience. :)

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