Last year I had the chance to interview the founders of Legion M, a fan funded film production company, when they were at Phoenix Comicon. So when Legion M announced their first film, Colossal (starring Anne Hathaway), I knew that I had to see it. So I drove half an hour across confusing Scottsdale roads to find the one theater in my area that was showing the film.
I will be the first to admit that I had rather low expectations. I went in with the expectation that this movie, based on the trailer, was either going to be an absolutely surreal and hilarious trip or that it was going to completely suck.
I was wrong on both counts.
My main criticism for this film is that it was not marketed well. The trailer makes it seem like some hilarious romp that is somehow making fun of the Asian monster movie genre. That’s not even close to what this movie is about and it was far darker and more complex than the marketing implied.
For my short, spoiler free review, my recommendation is that you see this film. It won’t be what you are expecting, but I’m betting you will enjoy it.
If you don’t care about spoilers, please read on for a more indepth review of the film.
I’ll gloss over what is covered in the trailer. Gloria is an unemployed, terminally irresponsible, alcoholic writer. Her boyfriend kicks her out over her alcoholism and she moves back to the small town she grew up and reconnects with a friend from her childhood that now runs the local bar.
Shortly after she arrives in town, on the other side of the world in South Korea, a giant monster appears and stomps through downtown Seoul, flattening buildings and causing what is probably a pretty high death toll.
Over the course of the next couple of days the monster continues to reappear in the same area of Seoul at the exact same time every day (8:05 in Gloria’s hometown). Eventually Gloria realizes that these appearances and the actions of the monster are tied to her own drunken early morning walks through the park next to her house.
What follows is a film that is not about monster movies or wacky monster hijinks caused by the unsuspecting Gloria. This movie is a rather dark look at the consequences of alcoholism, depression, and misogyny.
In a drunken attempt to impress her group of friends she ends up causing a massive death toll in Seoul and discovering that her friend from high school has his own giant robot persona that appears when he is in the park at the same time of day. This discovery, along with his own alcohol problems, depression, and hatred of himself and Gloria leads him down a very dark path of both physical and mental abuse of Gloria (and the people of Seoul, who are, essentially, hostages in his attempt to control Gloria), who is trying to fix her own mistakes in Seoul and in her own life, by ending her drinking and taking responsibility for her life.
I won’t give away the ending of this film, even in this spoiler heavy review, but suffice to say it has a satisfying ending that makes sense and also wasn’t what I was actually expecting to happen.
Overall I would give the movie a solid 4 out of 5. I’m subtracting a .5 point for poor marketing choices and another .5 points for the fact that it’s clear that a large chunk of the film, establishing Gloria’s friend’s character and backstory, was left on the cutting room floor. The movie could have used that information to make him more understandable as a villain and I would have enjoyed an extra 10-15 minutes on the film.
I’m looking forward to Legion M’s involvement in future films. If Colossal is the kind of film we can expect from them going forward, I think they will do well.