Typical! You wait years for a monster movie starring an Oscar winner and three come along at once!
But unlike The Mummy and Kong: Skull Island, Colossal seems be from a different mindset. From writer/director Nacho Vigalondo (Timecrimes), his newest film doesn’t go for the big budget, city destroying extravaganza; but rather a much smaller, more intimate piece of cinema.
Whether this can be a success in our over-saturated blockbuster of a world remains to be seen.
Gloria (Anne Hathaway) is a loser.
With no job or goal in life, as well as being kicked out by her boyfriend (Dan Stevens), Gloria is forced to move back to her old hometown. There she reunites with old school friend Oscar (Jason Sudeikis) and meets his friends Garth and Joel (Tim Nathan Blake and Austin Stowell.)
As Gloria tries to pull her life together, over in Seoul a massive sky scraping monster has started terrorising the city. Though at first the events in Seoul seem distant and unrelated, Gloria soon realises there may be a special connection between the monster and herself.
Subversive is probably the most accurate word to describe Vigalondo’s second English language film. In the same way that recent hit Get Out takes ideas and themes from horror movies, but manages to blend them into unique and interesting ways; Colossal does the same from a monster movie prospective.
Undoubtedly the most refreshing aspect is the complete unpredictability of tonal direction, while still managing to combine such tones into a cohesive whole. Indeed, while the film starts off as an indie-style look at a failing relationship, it soon traverses into more sci-fi/thriller aspects before taking a 1000ft dive into the murky darkness of the human psyche. To blend such disparate moods together with nary a defect makes Colossal almost herculean in its success.
Unlike the monster movies of Hollywood though, Colossal also realises that such stories are not about the monster, but instead about the characters caught up in the situation. Fortunately Vigalondo’s casting choices are overwhelming beneficial in bringing this aspect to the fore.
While playing an unemployed manipulative alcoholic can be an acting challenge in itself, Anne Hathaway also has the added difficulty of making her character someone that we emphasise with. And in this she is a profound success, making Gloria a root-able protagonist that you constantly hope overcomes her demons.
But it’s Sudeikis that deserves the bulk of the plaudits. Having only seen him as a comedic actor, the revelation that he is also a confident and engaging dramatic actor is almost on the same level as Jim Carey in The Truman Show.
Though criticisms are few, there is a supporting character that randomly disappears halfway through the movie; and the less said about an out of place flashback sequence, the better. Additionally the film also requires you to care more about a drunk hopeless white woman than the hundreds of innocents killed in the Seoul attacks!
I imagine some may find that difficult to do.
Made on a faction of the amount allocated to its big budget brothers, Colossal is a brave endeavour in attempting to explore the fallout of toxic masculinity through the lens of science-fiction.
While it must be acknowledged that this film may not be for everyone; with such strong leading performances and an engaging central idea, Colossal is nonetheless a worthy and memorable piece of cinema.