*Colossal*, the movie (full of spoilers)

by on April 16, 2017 at 2:59 pm in Film, History, Political Science, Uncategorized | Permalink

I’ll have to put this under the fold, because I can’t say anything without giving away everything…OK, people, this is one strange movie.  The movie is mostly about U.S.-Korean relations, and U.S. foreign policy more broadly, albeit in cloaked form.  To cut to the chase, Anne Hathaway from NYC (but born in a rural area) symbolizes Hillary Clinton, and the character of “Oscar,” who loves his trashy red state, is Donald Trump.  The two engage in a series of pitched personal battles, and, through an obscure mechanism, this translates into two giant monsters fighting in the streets of Seoul, and destroying parts of the city through their wanton carelessness (yes, really).  So the movie is about how disputes in domestic American politics can wreck other parts of the world and Americans don’t really give a damn.  Oscar even uses Seoul as a hostage, repeatedly, to get his way in town, and later he takes joy in trashing parts of Seoul.  Oscar also loves to blow things up, if only to signal his irresponsibility, and he will blow up his own property too, just so he can push others around, because he feels so small in life.  He obtains his explosives through illegal trade with Mexico, which he decries but engages in nonetheless.  The red state trashers stand with Oscar no matter what.

The movie indicates that a much-younger “Hillary” made her first appearance in Seoul 25 years ago (1992!), but at the time no one noticed her import.  Recently she has come back, in the form of the giant monster, and the city grows to realize that she will save them from Oscar, the evil robot.

There are numerous references to Godzilla, which of course is a movie about (among other things) America destroying parts of Japan.

The movie’s ending has Hillary saving them from Trump, and Koreans crying with joy, but of course it didn’t work out that way.  And to watch this movie right after the Syria and Afghanistan bombings…

That all said, I wish it were a better film.  It is more interesting than masterful.

I read quite a few reviews of this one, but only Vogue has any clue at all.  I’m glad I saw it, but unsure whether I should recommend it to you.

1 Art Deco April 16, 2017 at 4:14 pm

In different news another colossus has risen: Turkey has approved the constitutional changes. I call on my Gray Wolf brothers to celebrate the return of the followers of Osman. The Balkhans are Turkey, Egypt is Turkey!

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2 Horhe April 17, 2017 at 9:30 am

I thought you were of Eastern European origin. Or is it by way of the Janissaries and the Beys? 🙂

It will be interesting to see if this leads to a reversal of the friendliness that some Eastern Europeans, like Romanians, show to Turks, at national and individual levels. It is remarkable to what extent Ataturk’s reforms managed to change the attitudes towards our age old enemies. Maybe the USSR was a bigger bogeyman.

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3 Bob April 16, 2017 at 4:21 pm

I just thought it was a bad movie with uninteresting characters that you did t care about that wasn’t saved by what could have been an interesting gimmick.

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4 kingstu April 16, 2017 at 4:45 pm

Nacho Vigalondo is from Spain.

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5 derek April 16, 2017 at 6:22 pm

I was thinking that someone who voted for Clinton would be the epitome of complacency until I realized that Susan Rice might have become the NSA Director.

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6 Ray Lopez April 16, 2017 at 6:50 pm

Susan Rice, Condoleezza Rice, Akeem Olajuwon (Rice-A-Roni). Connect the dots.

“Amberley excelled at chess – one mark, Watson, of a scheming mind” — Sherlock Holmes, in ‘The Adventure of the Retired Colourman’.

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7 LilDickman April 16, 2017 at 8:22 pm

This movie is about alcoholism bro

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8 MMK April 16, 2017 at 8:35 pm

The premise seems funny enough, but that being said, if the Koreans don’t want us there, let’s leave?

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9 MMK April 16, 2017 at 8:37 pm

From my time in the Army I know that Camp Casey is one of the worst places to be stationed at in terms of billets (although Osan and/or Seoul are not bad).

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10 GoneWithTheWind April 16, 2017 at 9:26 pm

It would seem someone wants the message to be “American politics can wreck other parts of the world and Americans don’t really give a damn.” So it is an intentional anti-American piece and that should tell you all you need to know. Here is something it doesn’t tell you; South Korea would have been enslaved by North Korea 67 years ago or any time since then if the U.S. had abandoned them Even today South Korea cannot defend itself from the North and the only reason Seoul exists is because the U.S. military stands ready to protect it.

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11 So Much For Subtlety April 16, 2017 at 11:51 pm

So much of the educated class in South Korea seems to think that American involvement was a mistake. The likely next President openly yearns for the North and rule by the Kim family.

In retrospect, maybe it wasn’t a mistake to leave South Korea out of the perimeter defense Dean Rusk mentioned. I can think of no reason why South Korea was worth saving. They have added some soap operas and some cheap shipping to the world. That is nice. But a country that continually has to be forced to be free is perhaps not worth saving.

Trump said that South Korea and Japan should become nuclear powers. That makes sense. Time for the West to leave the Koreans to it. If that means forcible reunification with the North, so be it. Why is Seoul worth the bones of a single dead paratrooper?

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12 AJ April 17, 2017 at 12:11 am

Is this supposed to ingratiate Koreans to the American presence?

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13 Widmerpool April 17, 2017 at 3:12 am

South Korea has double the population and is enormously richer than the north. Why can’t they defend themselves?

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14 Horhe April 17, 2017 at 9:37 am

Maybe they lack the will and the psychological advantage. Plenty of rich, populous countries were taken over by hungry barbarians with the will to rule.

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15 TR5749 April 16, 2017 at 10:05 pm

The key to the film is Oscar’s dead mother, whose face he has scratched out of all his family pictures, and whose death left Oscar with a seething sense of abandonment (and, consequently, misogyny). That abandonment was only enhanced when his only true childhood friend, Gloria, left town at the first opportunity.

Trump has many issues (yes, misogyny high among the list), but mother abandonment is not among them, so the thesis falls flat.

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16 revcrank April 17, 2017 at 2:07 pm

I wasn’t sure if that was his mother or the girlfriend he said he almost married. I believe he said she had a child.

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17 Thor April 16, 2017 at 11:45 pm

Bonus trivia question: how many sniper bullets did Hillary dodge during her visit to Seoul 25 years ago?

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18 Rosanna Berardi April 17, 2017 at 1:37 am

Well, the movie was not that much interesting but it gives us new perspective towards the US government. As the recent changes in immigration policies and other trading, policies has put a bad impact on America’s growth. A number of people who are applying US immigration from Canada are in deep trouble as their families are now disputed. People are working in US and now their relatives are still lives behind in Canada.

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19 So Much For Subtlety April 17, 2017 at 5:13 am

Oh. My. God. What will America do without the next Peter Jennings? The next Michael J Fox? The next Pamela Anderson?

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20 chedolf April 17, 2017 at 2:40 am

The movie’s ending has Hillary saving them from Trump, and Koreans crying with joy, but of course it didn’t work out that way. And to watch this movie right after the Syria and Afghanistan bombings…

Americans who want peace and stability should have voted for the ex-Secretary of State who giggled, “we came, we saw, he died,” after deposing Qaddafi.

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21 Latte April 17, 2017 at 3:28 am

An alternate narrative.

Goria is Goguryeo, i.e North Korea, ravaging Korea. Oscar is dOuglaS maCARthur who set off a massive fireworks, destroyed 80% of Korean infrastructure while fighting Goguryeo. Tim is Presiden Truman, who actually fired Oscar and got him home, and Goria backed to above 38 parallel. Thus in a way Gloria had indirectly hurled Oscar back to US.

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22 Lurker April 17, 2017 at 4:31 am

The selective memory of the Left:

1) Hilary was a proven peacemaker, who never rivaled John McCain’s warmonger-in-chief status.

2) Barak Obama did not drop 26,000 bombs in his last year of the presidency.

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23 mavery April 17, 2017 at 8:55 am

One of the more impressive (depressing?) things about Obama’s presidency is that the US was involved in foreign conflicts and dropping bombs over seas for his entire time in office and yet he was constantly derided as a dove who shied away from flexing the US’s muscles.

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24 Sam Haysom April 17, 2017 at 8:42 am

Maybes it’s an allegory about guys with mail order brides from Soviet Bloc countries.

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25 Butler Reynolds April 17, 2017 at 12:24 pm

And all this time I thought Trump was a New Yorker.

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26 Fyodor April 17, 2017 at 6:33 pm

The kaiju scenes are set in Seoul most likely because of the settlement between the producers and Toho Studios, the owners of the Gojira/Godzilla franchise, which launched a lawsuit after the director declared he was making a “Godzilla movie”. There’s thus no real relevance to the Korea connection and, if you’ve seen the movie, the Koreans are no more than conveniently foreign victims to Gloria’s psycholossus. The setting could have been anywhere but the director obviously wanted to reference the kaiju-mecha fights of Japanese pop culture. The Clinton-Trump analogies are also projections of the politically-obsessed, as the movie was shot in 2015.

That said, the movie presents a very good analogy, indirectly, about US foreign policy, that is the extent to which the dysfunctions in US domestic politics spill over into the rest of the world. While Americans bloviate obsessively about whether a presidential candidate grabbed pussy or not, they remain oblivious to the various wars fought by US forces in multiple countries and have no understanding of the carnage being wrought in their name.

As for the movie itself, it tries to juggle too many agenda and is jarringly clumsy in the third act, which is simply bizarre in presenting some literally incredible emotional voltes-face. The central theme, if there is one, is that Gloria’s alcoholic slackerdom is somehow the fault of the controlling white men in her life and if she’d just ditch them all, violently in some cases, everything would turn out alright. It reads best as an empowerment fantasy for the extraordinarily privileged young white women of America who insist that they are oppressed by Teh Patriarchy. While the HRC analogy couldn’t have been intended by the creators given the timing, it’s fair to say that both this movie and HRC’s failure resonate with a deep unease in America over the gender divide, which explains why some people (e.g. TC) can’t review the movie without mentioning Hillary.

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27 TR5749 April 17, 2017 at 6:53 pm

“The kaiju scenes are set in Seoul most likely because of the settlement between the producers and Toho Studios, the owners of the Gojira/Godzilla franchise, which launched a lawsuit after the director declared he was making a ‘Godzilla movie’. ”

Perhaps . . . but there is also the fact that the Monster first appeared 25 years previously when Oscar literally crushed Gloria’s “soul”

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