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Warning: This article contains puzzle spoilers for Shadow of the Colossus.
Look, I'm a reasonable man. I understand that no matter how much I'd be willing to watch a four-hour Shadow of the Colossus movie because I love the original PlayStation 2 adventure/gigantic-monster-slaying game that much, it really can't happen. Without some sort of awful Rocky-style montage, 16 colossi battles are just too much for the announced film.
So, I decided to give myself the unenviable task of whittling down the number of adversaries the as-of-yet-unnamed actor must pretend to do battle with against a green backdrop. I've given myself the harsh limit of allowing only 10 of the beasts to make it to the big screen.
Alright Hollywood, here you go: Six colossi you can ignore. You can thank me later with royalty checks or something.
This dreadlocked freakshow is easily my least favorite colossus battle. That's mostly because when you're doing the time attack modes, his lack of cooperation becomes infuriating very quickly, and pulling off the elaborate stunt jumps found on YouTube has always eluded me. None of that means he'd make for a bad cinematic fight scene, though. What makes him wrong for the movie is that he's less of an intimidating foe and more of an interesting gameplay mechanic.
Phaedra looks just a tad-bit goofy and doesn't really cast that ominous shadow over the hero that the film-makers will be looking for. Figuring out how to trick him into losing track of you in the tunnels and sneaking up behind him makes you feel awesome when it works in the game, but on the screen I can't imagine it being a very intense brand of action.
This choice really comes down to the fact that there are three gorilla-like colossi in the game, so we might as well cut one. Valus is the most iconic colossus of them all, having graced the cover of the game and countless promotional ads, so there's no cutting him. Argus has the weapon, cooler arena, and more interesting battle objectives. That puts Barba in last place.
Sure, it'd be pretty cool to see him emerge from behind the wall and come stomping toward our hero Wander, crashing through barriers along the way, but that's probably where the wow factor would end. The groan from the audience would likely be audible when Wander leaps into Barba's big, biker beard. Why the monster wouldn't just slap at or squeeze said facial hair once there's a tiny nuisance inside would also likely leave audience members scratching their heads.
The cheese factor would easily outweigh any positives of having him included. Just ax the old man, and sex up the flick with the young, hot colossi.
Hollywood wants to go big and impressive. While there's something to be said for a smaller, lizard-like creature that could quickly chase down his attacker and claw all of his skin off, the Kuromori battle just wouldn't translate very well.
Let's leave aside the fact that having Wander leap down several stories to strike at the fallen monster only to run away when he gets back up is entirely too gamey for a mainstream viewer to stomach. I would also want to know how a lizard three times the size of his prey wouldn't be all over that thing wherever it went. Oh, my attacker got away somewhere? Better just hang out on this wall looking for him until he shoots arrows into my feet from the other end of this easily maneuverable area.
Kuromori's fight plays out less like a David vs. Goliath epic and more like a much more intelligent species finding a way to hunt and kill something that is more confused than it is aggressive. Just like Phaedra, he makes for a great puzzle in a video game, but he probably wouldn't be all that entertaining to watch on the big screen.
Just scroll back up and read what I wrote about Phaedra, then apply it to this guy. While I'm totally on board for seeing Wander dodge some of Basaran's energy shots, he really wouldn't translate well otherwise. A giant turtle isn't the sort of thing that movie-going audiences would find intimidating, and watching the protagonist try to lure him over to a geyser wouldn't be very edge-of-your-seat action. And once he gets flipped over on his back? It would depend how well the director pulled it off, but I could easily see that looking cheesy and comical. Plus, I think saving the energy shots until the last colossus would make Malus a much more thrilling battle.
I've already mentioned Hollywood will probably be looking for the biggest of the colossi to keep the viewers in awe, but the two lion-like beasts are kind of exceptions. Would you want to go toe-to-toe with a lion? I think not. Still, we don't really need both Cenobia and Celosia in the film adaptation, do we?
Having Celosia in the movie would detract from the surprise of seeing Cenobia for the first time. The audience is expecting big and instead get something just the right size and strength to royally screw Wander up. But if that twist is already pulled with Celosia, then the intimidation factor has also already been ruined a bit by the reveal of his fear of fire. It breaks down the beast and humanizes it…or, animalizes it…or something.
We absolutely want that to happen at some point in the film because it brings into question whether Wander is a noble hero or a soulless, innocent-animal murderer, but that can easily be done with any of the previous colossi. Cenobia has a cooler environment for his encounter (a walled-off ancient city in ruins) and a more cinematic way with which you avoid his attacks (leaping from structure to structure, luring the monster to ram into them) and ultimately break off his armor. I'd rather Cenobia be the one to have the surprising twist of his smaller size.
One of the biggest keys to nailing Shadow of the Colossus is going to be the director's ability to make us feel for both the protagonist and the antagonist, blurring the lines between the two. Which would be really tough for the "sea monster" Pelagia because of, well, the whole lack-of-a-face thing.
Almost all of the colossi have a fairly easy to distinguish animal parallel, but I have no idea what I would call this guy. The…teeth (?) on top of his head that you strike with your sword to basically steer him where you need him to be is the most inherently game-centric mechanic that could ever be. No animal in nature has any sort of comparable feature. Some can be trained to be steered with reins or whips, but I'm fairly positive nobody's ever found an animal with big rocks on its head that is forced to respond when someone bangs on them like a gong.
I've also touched on the how doing away with the other shooting colossi would increase the effectiveness of seeing Malus do it for the first time, which is kind of the final nail in the coffin for Pelagia in respects to this arbitrary list I've made.
So there you have it. My grueling, six choices for colossi I'd be alright with the movie makers cutting out of the film adaptation. I had a tough enough time picking these out, so if they get rid of any of the others, I'm probably going to throw an Internet nerd fit. Well, on top of my already expected Internet nerd fit over the general quality of the project.
I challenged myself to kill six of my these amazing creatures. Can you do the same? Which six would you kill, and why am I wrong about my picks? Sound off below!