I saw the trailer for Colossal a while ago and i had forgotten most of what is shown in that trailer at the time of watching this movie. And i would say that is the best way to go into this because the film takes so many twists and turns that are better experienced in the movie. What i will say though is not to go into this film expecting a straight up Sci-Fi Action with tonnes of excitingly large set pieces because you will be disappointed. This isn't a straight up Sci-Fi film, and it isn't a straight up comedy, it is an odd blend of a bunch of different genres that work really well together to create something drastically different from anything you have seen before. This film may be partially about a giant Kaiju that occasionally destroys parts of a city but the actual focus here is one much deeper and more character focused where the Kaiju itself stands for something much larger and more important. That's about as vague as i can keep it without any spoilers because going into this film knowing as little as possible is definitely the way to go. I will say though, that for the first 15-20 minutes there is a bit of a wait for the key story and the key themes to really kick in which may be unfortunate but it really does pay off in adding to the effect and tone of many key later scenes.
Anne Hathaway isn't someone i typically go to when thinking of an actress who could be able to put out really dramatic and emotional performances. But in this film she really shines as Gloria, someone with a lot of troubles in her life that she needs to overcome to avoid falling into a pit of hopelessness. She is really powerful in her key scenes throughout the film and carries many of the scenes on her own with complete ease. But it isn't just her dramatic abilities that come through here as she has some moments of subtle dark humour that give her character and the film a little added dash of personality that contrasts the really dark tone of the film. Jason Sudeikis is in the film as Oscar, yet another actor who you wouldn't think of when you think 'serious powerful actor' as he is known almost exclusively for his comedic material. But he puts in a performance here that is gripping, complex, and at times even haunting. I really like seeing actors step into different kinds of roles and even though that can sometimes backfire i think this is a scenario where it really works. Early in the film i didn't quite know if i was going to like him in it but it paid off. I love Dan Stevens in whatever he's in and here he is in a more minor role as Gloria's ex boyfriend Tim who has not a whole lot of screen time, but he does have some really good supporting moments.
Interestingly, in hindsight if you gave me a basic rundown of the two characters of Oscar and Tim, in order to play it safe i would actually have casted Dan Stevens as Oscar as it does seem like a better fit for him considering some of his previous roles. But in the end the choices made in the casting for this film worked out very well and showed a different side to Jason Sudeikis.
So in the end i say you should definitely check out this film as even though it isn't perfect and there are minor touches where there could be some improvements. But the story overall is thrilling, the performances are on point, and there are touches of dark humour occasionally but not a whole lot to tonally take you out of the film. But the best part about this film is that you get so much more than what you came for with what the film is saying beneath the surface about the themes i mentioned earlier, one of the strongest being domestic violence. These themes are very subtly integrated so you aren't hit on the head with them all the time but all it takes is a little bit of thinking to pick them out.
After Gloria's (Anne Hathaway) boyfriend Tim (Dan Stevens) dumps her and kicks her out of their apartment, Gloria heads to her small hometown to get her life together. Meanwhile, a monster has surfaced in South Korea. Gloria soon discovers that her own movements control that of the monster. How she handles this dictates where the rest of the story goes.
The film has a light-hearted feel to it at first, but switches to a darker tone around the second act. Too dark in my opinion. The mod shift is both jarring and unwelcome. You come to have a certain expectation, or hope rather, as to how things are going to turn out and you soon realize you will probably be disappointed.
There are a lot of unnecessary occurrences in Colossal that are only there for the sake of advancing the plot. Normally I wouldn't mind this if there were other strong points to provide a balance. Instead it was almost two hours of watching characters that weren't even remotely likeable. Even villainous characters typically have enduring, redeeming qualities at times. Not this crew. It felt like Director/Writer Nacho Vigalondo took what was supposed to be a short and turned it into a full-length film.
For all of its faults, I will say that Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudekis succeeded with very strong performances. Both are tragic characters, flawed by the choices they have made in life. Unfortunately, their respective performances weren't enough to save the film.
I applaud the film's originality, particular in today's film landscape where piggyback and remake are the words of the day. I think Colossal had potential, but it fell flat for me. I give it a 52.
The film's premise has lots going for it and the CG monsters are fun to watch. But the rest of the story felt awkward and a bit too seriously for its own good. I'm still trying to figure out what the overall tone of the film was supposed to be.
As for the acting... I like all the leads in the film but the characters themselves had very little likability, and the dialogue wasn't nearly funny and/or clever enough to hold my interest.
I stuck it out until the very end but was ready for it to be over long before the credits rolled.
Also starring: Jason Sudeikis, Dan Stevens, Austin Stowell, Tim Blake Nelson.
This is one of those few 'weird' cool movies that deserve to go big. Having premiered in Toronto film festival last September and ready to attack multiplexes now, Colossal" offers fresh approach to monster and superhero movies, or maybe we should call it pastiche or something.
It's a surehanded work by a guy who clearly knows and loves those genres, and feels confident about adding some stuff of his own.
Solely written and directed by Nacho Vigalondo, the Spanish filmmaker perhaps best known for time-travelling mindbender Los cronocrímenes" (2007), it's an experience so unexpected that I am not even sure how much if liked it.
Sure, I liked most of it while watching, and liked some of it even more after going over everything intellectually later. But sitting in cinema, I felt unsatisfied at times without being able to clearly say why.
Perhaps I just don't buy how the story reaches its turning point and transforms one major character - although it makes much more sense in the end.
Perhaps Colossal" offers too many genres for its own good (monster movie, horror, drama, comedy, thriller, revenge, romance...) and the potential impact of the whole result is weakened by this. Or perhaps it was just all too original for me and I would learn to appreciate it much more on the second go?
But there's one thing that I am sure of: Colossal" is bigger than sum of its parts and feels fresh even if it reminds bunch of other movies.
Most of all, Shyamalan came to mind although Vigalondo is a better writer with a better sense fo making story compact and still giving the events and characters enough room to develop and breathe.
If you only watch one 'weird' cool mainstream-friendly movie this year, you should still pick Get Out", but Colossal" is noteworthy too.
It can thrill and surprise you, and the acting's pretty good also. Hathaway as the leading lady actually seems a bit hammy at times, which is probably expected of her character.
The showstealer here is, surprisingly, Jason Sudeikis who feels like a supporting player for big part of the movie and then turns into something of a revelation.
I have never been ready to appreciate Sudeikis as a worthwhile addition to all the mainstream movie actors today. He is known for a bunch of forgettable comedies such as Horrible Bosses". At the same time, he has always felt strong enough performer and comedian in technical sense, good with lines, timing, and teamplay.
Colossal" gives him an unexpected chance to shine, and he doesn't waste a single second of spotlight. I can't speak much about why he's so great here without giving spoilers about the story. But this kind of strong presence is surely surprising and has instantly made Sudeikis hundred times more interesting as an actor than ever before.
Here's hoping that Vigalondo has Tarantino-like powers to make actors cool. Based on Colossal", I'd like to see Sudeikis turn into a star.
What's really promising about a film like this is that actors like Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis signed up. This boasts particularly well for future indie films with similar ambitions. When films that deal with a drunk homeless woman controlling a Kaiju monster across the world do well critically, it definitely means good things for the film business. I guess the real test will be how the film fares at the box office.
Hathaway plays Gloria, a drunk who finds herself back in her hometown after being kicked out of her boyfriend's home, only to realize she's somehow controlling a dangerous Kaiju in Seoul, South Korea. Quite the premise, huh? It's far from different or strange, this film is downright bizarre. In a good way, of course. The film shifts tones several times, deals with mass destruction of cities and plenty of casualties, and a main character with a serious alcohol addiction, but the film never strays away from its goofy premise. In other words, the film does an unusually good job of balancing drama and comedy. If I had to give this film a designation, I'd say it's a mixture of 'Rachel Getting Married' and 'Pacific Rim'.
I would highly recommend going into this film knowing next to nothing. Don't watch any trailers, TV spots, or read any plot descriptions. Heck, if you're still reading this, stop and go see the film first. I know it's difficult in today's age of Hollywood to avoid everything, but I didn't watch or read anything and I was thrilled with the end result. This especially applies to where the film goes in the second act and on. I certainly did not expect the film to take the direction it did with a few characters and ultimately the ending.
Just as a fan of sci-fi and original films alone, 'Colossal' is a triumph for film. Does it get a little bit too goofy and convoluted at times? Sure. But it's one heck of a ride I didn't expect to be taking. That's not exactly what I would say about most films these days. What a great surprise.
+Unique & refreshing
+Writing & directing
+Hathaway hasn't been this good in years
-Didn't totally buy into a particular character turn
Anne Hathaway and company give strong performances and seem to be having a great deal of fun in the process.
A monster appears in Korea and starts wreaking havoc on the city.
As quickly as it appeared it is gone.
Anne's character seems to think the Monster is her and proves it to her drinking buddy pals.
There is a big surprise after this occurs.
The pacing is good, I was never bored or looking around the theatre.
I do recommend this to big monster movie buffs and to those who are looking for something different yet good from Hollywood.
There is something to be said about telling this tale in the form of monsters and robots. While this movie wasn't exactly for kids, we need more abuse education awareness in our media and certainly in a form that's digestible for the widest range of viewers. Had this just been a straight relationship drama it might have come across as both anecdotal and joyless. Yet portraying Gloria as a superhero battling both an abusive man and fighting to save the lives of an entire city worth of people, creates a larger narrative. Gloria is flawed, she's not a blameless or innocent person, but even so she is both undeserving of abuse, and capable of greater good. When Gloria blocks Oscar from stepping on the playground and destroying a city on the other side of the world, she becomes a symbol of standing up for the hundreds of thousands of faceless people who are abused everyday. In that way, Colossal really showcases the best of its sci-fi superhero genre.
Read my full review entitled Monsters, Robots, "Nice" Guys, Oh My! on Back Row!