By: Alex Elias
Colossal, starring Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis, is the most interesting movie you’ll ever see. You could call it a mash-up of genres – but it’s more like a chimera of genres …like Dr. Frankenstein thought it’d be amusing to take an indie, small-town homecoming flick and toss in giant monsters. And he wasn’t wrong. Colossal is truly one-of-a-kind, to say the least. As to whether or not the mash-up works, I’d say it does and it doesn’t. Keep reading.
Colossal focuses on Gloria (Anne Hathaway), a writer with a drinking problem who is kicked out by her boyfriend (Dan Stevens, Beauty & the Beast) and decides to return to her suburban hometown to live in her parent’s old house. There she runs into Oscar (Jason Sudeikis), someone whom she used to be friendly with back in elementary school. Oscar offers Gloria a job at his BAR (remember, drinking problem) and introduces her to his two friends Garth (a drug addict) and Joel (a doormat). After about thirty minutes of “Is anything going to happen?” the world is shaken by an announcement of a giant monster attacking Seoul, South Korea. Gloria notices uncanny similarities between the monster’s actions and those she made in the park the night before. Eventually, she realizes that somehow she is controlling the monster via the park. From here the movie gets dark, really fast, and follows a rather unexpected curve of various intertwining abusive relationships. Ultimately, Gloria comes up with rather “creative” ways to deal with these relationships and I’ll let you fill in the blanks.
If you haven’t seen a trailer for Colossal, it may be difficult to imagine what I just described and for good reason. How does a woman control a giant monster in another country? It is truly the most bizarre concept you can imagine and in its absurdity, it creates many hilarious moments where you are quite literally forced to laugh. Bear in mind; however, that this movie is not a comedy. It is only funny in its absurdity. The movie itself is actually quite dark and mildly disturbing. Please do not take your kids to see this because it has a giant monster in it.
The performances in Colossal, almost all of them, are magnificent. In particular, Jason Sudeikis is quite remarkable as a likable, relatable old friend who reveals himself to be one of the most despicable people you can fathom. Sudeikis handles this turn rather brilliantly and Gloria’s reaction to Oscar revealing his true-colors is handled really well. Let it be said that I am not typically a movie-goer that doesn’t notice acting at all unless it is exceptional or abysmal; so the acting in Colossal is really quite terrific for me to have noticed.
But let’s talk for a moment about the concept of the film. Colossal, which scored a 75% by critics on Rotten Tomatoes and received a 79% from fans (including me) is ground breaking. It shows that with clever writing the realm of possibilities for original movies can be expanded well beyond what we ever thought possible. Colossal is rife with allegory. While there actually is a giant monster destroying Korea, you can think of that monster as a metaphor for the fear in Gloria’s life. Colossal gives you a great many things to think about, but also a great many visuals you never thought you’d see in your life including ones you realize you’ve secretly wanted to see all along.
My friend and I were roaring with laughter the whole movie, despite it not being a comedy. Our laughs were chuckles of varying degrees over the utter ridiculousness of this concept and its fantasticness at the same time.
But Colossal also has its problems. I feel that the indie story of a small-town and abusive relationships was rather pointless in comparison to the story of the monster and would have rather seen an epic, interwoven story that could have made the movie feel more cohesive and less like happenstance. Further, there was some serious issues with character writing, as characters display unrealistic changes in personality and many relationships are never resolved. In fact, one important relationship effectively disappears because we never see or hear from the character again. There are also some minor editing issues that can irk those who pay very close attention to films, though I didn’t notice these – my friend had to point them out to me.
In short, see this movie because conceptually it’s a masterpiece. The nitty gritty details of the movie, like the characters and dialogue, are forgettable and have room for much improvement, but the overall effect the movie has makes it totally worth seeing in spite of this. I give it a 78% because I loved the concept, the execution and ending – but it loses points for having a weird, un-epic story about a bunch of people I didn’t particularly care about. Take it or leave it – but I say take it and embrace its flaws. It’s a pioneer of a film and we’re bound to see more like it in the future that can build off what it did right.