Colossal (2016, Nacho Vigalondo) Review
Starring: Anne Hathaway, Jason Sudeikis
It’s better for one to go into Colossal without knowing much about it. It’s wildly original, and all that one needs to know is that it involves a broke Anne Hathaway, a moody Jason Sudeikis, and a mysterious monster rampaging all over Seoul, South Korea.
The word monster might make one think that that’s what the premise is all about, though Colossal takes things in a slightly different direction than expected. It embraces the central idea of the quintessential monster film and explores it in new detail. It looks at things from a unique set of lens and the result is a heavy handed flick that tackles issues of alcoholism and mental illness while also having some light-hearted and comedic parts. It’s as if someone woke up from an intense nightmare, decoded it, and wrote it on paper. No remakes, no homages, no copying, just a film made from Vigalondo’s unparalleled mind.
Hathaway is truly appealing in this role, hitting the right mark between desperation and haplessness. She does an excellent job of delving into her character’s flaws and struggles as the film goes on. Jason Sudeikis is good, though I do have a problem with his characterization especially for the second half. He does not really do a good shift between a kind friend and a ridiculous madman. It feels quite arbitrary, in fact. It’s not super distracting since Hathaway stole the show for the entire film. She knows how to get a handle on things, never crossing the line between realistic and over-the-top.
Again, the plot is fantastic. There are some flaws and head-scratchers as it doesn’t always stick to its rules, but Colossal is a prime example of why original screenplays are an absolutely necessary to the making of a film. Although it doesn’t strike the perfect note, it makes most modern and mainstream Hollywood scripts look indolent in comparison. One might not enjoy this film for being too “weird”, but that’s exactly the point. Weird means that it has never been done before. Weird means original. Weird means new.
In all, Colossal is unique, thrilling, offbeat, darkly hilarious, effective, intelligently written, and a fresh genre-blender. It’s easy enough to forgive it’s flaws for its originality, the entire film a gigantic puzzle that I love figuring out throughout its runtime. The tone may be inconsistent at times, but it’s still worth checking out because it’s just that creative. Just get the expectations in check. Don’t expect another Pacific Rim or Kong: Skull Island. Expect something new.