DIRECTOR: Nacho Vigalondo
WRITER: Nacho Vigalondo
Tim Blake Nelson
When Gloria returns home from a big night out with her girlfriends, her boyfriend, Tim decides to end their relationship due to her hard-partying ways. Gloria is currently out of work and no longer allowed to stay at her ex-boyfriend's place. She decides to now head back to her hometown to stay in her parent's old house. When she reunites with her childhood friend and gets a job in his rundown bar, she soon realises that she may have a connection to a giant monster that has been reforming and causing chaos all over Seoul.
I remember back in late 2016 when Colossal debuted at the Toronto Film Festival. The movie made a splash for being that giant monster movie that starred Anne Hathaway. The movie was said to feature a tour de force performance that was delivered by the regularly despised Anne Hathaway yet the reviews were extremely positive, and folks were talking about how excellent she was in the film. Reading about how original the movie sounded, I was pretty excited to see what all the fuss was about. I was hoping that Colossal wasn't going to be another overhyped festival film.
In recent years, we've seen quite a lot of giant monster movies come and go. Some of them were excellent and some not so much. I have enjoyed The Host, Monsters, Kong: Skull Island and Shin Godzilla. I was even a fan of Gareth Edwards remake of Godzilla. I've always found myself a fan of giant monster films, so I was happy to see how Nacho Vigalondo would tackle this type of story. He's very well known for giving us weird and quirky, so I expected just that from Colossal. Once the first trailer had dropped, I was even more excited to see the film.
The movie starts out pretty light hearted. We see that Anne Hathaway's Gloria returns home after a big night out. Immediately, her uptight boyfriend ends their relationship. She is left devastated when her boyfriend tells her to move out. She decides to head back to her hometown and moves into her parent's old house. Soon she reconnects with her childhood friend and starts working in his bar. Being that she has just lost everything that had meant something to her, due to her hard-partying ways and her reliance on alcohol, this appears to be a complete recipe for disaster.
I think for the first half of Colossal, I found the film to be very funny. The movie had a lot of charm. I loved how the movie mixed comedy with the Kaiju monster elements. I thought that Anne Hathaway was also great and looked like she was having a lot of fun in the role. Watching her dance as a giant monster replicates her every move all the way across an ocean may have been an utter failure in someone else hands, but in Nacho Vigolondo's, it's quirky, weird and at times, often hilarious. I was shocked to see just how well the movie worked with such outrageous ideas.
What I wasn't expecting from Colossal was to witness a movie that would morph into something that was completely dark and depressing. The movie slowly turns into this sombre drama that deals with a lot of toxicity. By the time we get into the third act of the film, things turn very sour. Jealousy kicks in, poisonous relationships and people come to the surface, and we see just how bad addiction can control people. I thought the metaphors that were used here were excellent. I just wasn't expecting it from the trailers and was shocked in a good way. They did well hiding the darker, taboo subject matter with the colourful promotional material.
I think Colossal manages to show two characters who are both flawed for such very different reasons. I think where Anne Hathaway's Gloria is hindered by addiction. We see Jason Sudeikis as Oscar who is one of bitterness and jealousy. Watching the two characters grow over the film and it all suddenly fall apart in the third act is a pretty terrifying. Not scary by any means but just seeing one of them turn into this really horrible villain. While the movie contains no blood or gore, I felt guilty for spending half the film-loving one character to suddenly be left furious by their actions.
When it comes to the special effects of Colossal, I think for the most part they were decent. I think if I were to nitpick anything about the movie, it would be the visual effects. I can't really hate on the film too much because the budget was only fifteen million dollars when other monster movies are given five times the budget. You have to admire them for at least giving it a good hard go. Still, I think the visual effects of the robot and monster did look pretty cheap at times, but as I've stated, I think with the budget that Nacho Vigolondo had on this film, I can't hate on it too much.
Now, I have to talk about the acting in the film. Anne Hathaway will secure the most praise in the film from critics. As she is playing a woman, who is suffering from a lot of issues and addiction. She is on a big roll of late. What I think many will overlook is the performance from Jason Sudeikis. Here he plays the all-around nice guy at first. His character goes from likeable to instantly despicable. Watching him transform into a man filled with rage and hatred over a woman who is still trying to make a life for herself after failing so many times. Where he couldn't get away from that small town, she made a go of it, and it gives the film something so much more than just this big comedic monster movie that the trailers might suggest.
DEATH TOLL: 1 + Thousands Are Presumed Dead (Offscreen)
BLOOD AND GORE:
- A man punches a woman in the face.
- A robot stomps around a city, and it's reported it's killed hundreds of people.
- A man is thrown to his death.
- A monster falls over, and hundreds are reported dead.
I have to hand it to Nacho Vigolondo for giving us Colossal. Not everyone could make this movie and then market it as Anne Hathaway having a deep connection to a giant monster that is wreaking havoc over Seoul. A mixture of a monster movie, domestic drama and comedy won't be a movie for every film lover. This will be a movie that I believe divides audiences. Still, what is marketed as a comedy has a lot more to say. There are some much darker themes running through this film, and it's a movie that deserves to be seen. Original in concept, great performances and it's as hilarious as it's is bonkers.