Review - Colossal
By midlandsmovies, May 18 2017 08:37PM
Colossal (2017) Dir. Nacho Vigalondo
A (very) original concept for a film, Colossal stars Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis as childhood friends who reconnect when Hathaway’s ‘Gloria’ returns to her small hometown only for much larger events to take place halfway across the world. Her arrival is spawned when Dan Stevens’ Tim breaks off their city relationship owing to her boozy going-nowhere lifestyle and once back, she runs into Sudeikis’ Oscar who gives her a job at a local bar. Offering support in her time of need, the job however doesn’t help with the current woes she is suffering from.
And from here it gets much weirder. After Gloria enters a local playground she soon discovers that at the very same time, a giant Godzilla-like monster materialises in South Korea (Asia, where else?) and we learn that it’s a manifestation of herself. The ginormous lizard even acts out the same sad movements including her bad dancing and head scratching.
But here’s the rub. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie but anyone expecting the crazy laugh out loud style antics they are attempting to sell in the trailer will be very disappointed or at least confused. I don’t think I laughed once which doesn’t mean there weren’t a few light-hearted comedic moments just that there were no jokes as such.
The few amusing situations we do get very quickly turn to a much more morose tone as I began to pity Gloria quite early on. Hathaway is a likeable actress, although a bit too clean cut for me, but she gives a more ‘Girl on the Train’-style performance here as her own demons are pushed to the forefront. I’ve never warmed to Sudeikis at all but I did enjoy him in Race (2016) and here he stretches his range further by starting out as a helpful pal trying to get Hathaway back on her feet before switching to a much crueller character later on. And he too materialises in the Far East but this time his brutality is symbolised as a giant armour-plated robot.
Clearly an allegory for domestic violence – both mentally and physically – the film shows how that can manifest itself as a giant issue to be tackled head on. The huge subject matter literally becomes a huge monster. A bit on the nose? Maybe. But it’s done very well indeed by the director as the movie develops into fiery fist fights – ones that are fantastical in Korea yet explosively violent in the small town.
I would say the tone is most similar to Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind which delivered surreal storytelling and images around what was essentially a love story. Here, a ‘sobering’ return to childhood (and adult) issues is the driving force, with the strangeness and uniqueness coming from the role of the metaphorical monsters.
A very original premise is to be praised in this monstrous franchise era, and the well thought-out topic is something I felt was an interesting subject to hang the film on. I do still feel the trailer does it a disservice however. It’s a much more serious film with serious themes rather than the Pacific Rim/Rom-com product it’s been advertised as. If you ignore that though, you’ll find a very rewarding film which delves into the mammoth repercussions of intense emotions by showing the fierce fighting between fantasy and the factual.
Midlands Movies Mike