Directed by Nacho Vigalondo.
Starring Anne Hathaway, Jason Sudeikis, Dan Stevens, Austin Stowell and Tim Blake Nelson.
Gloria (Anne Hathaway) has a hit a crisis. She’s out of work and boyfriend Tim (Dan Stevens) has had enough of her party lifestyle and kicked her out of his flat. She returns to her family home, falls in with old school friend Oscar (Jason Sudeikis) and then sees reports on TV about a monster attacking Seoul. And something tells her that somehow she’s connected to this phenomenon.
There’s actually a lot to like about Colossal. What turns out to be a mixture of science fiction, horror and comedy takes a while to get off the ground, with Anne Hathaway’s Gloria refusing to tone down her drink-fuelled lifestyle and being thrown out of her partner’s apartment as a result. She takes the conventional route – going back to her childhood home – but, instead of going on the wagon immediately, she re-ignites an old friendship with Jason Sudeikis’ Oscar and spends her evenings drinking with him and his buddies in his bar. Not exactly a fresh start.
So far, so reasonably entertaining – there’s energy, there’s jokes – but it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere in particular. Except that it is and director Nacho Vigalondo has shown us where in the opening sequence, which involves a little girl, her doll and a monster, some 25 years ago. It’s come back and its rampage is all over the TV news but Gloria soon realises there’s a strange connection between her and what’s happening in South Korea. And it’s at this point that the film goes right out on a limb and either takes the audience on a truly bizarre journey – or loses it entirely.
Vigalondo isn’t short on originality, something in short supply in Hollywood. But once we get into the whole Gloria And The Monster storyline, it really doesn’t make a lot of sense, especially when a robot gets in on the act as well. There’s other things that don’t quite add up either. Old buddy Oscar isn’t quite the nice guy he initially seems and turns into something of a monster himself. And it’s never wholly clear whether the monster in Seoul is for real or just the product of Gloria spending another night on the bottle. But if you’re happy to go with the flow and enjoy its incongruities and lunacy, then none of that will be a problem. For those of a more literal mindset, it takes some swallowing.
There’s no question that the premise has a lot going for it, and it’s helped by a winning performance from Hathaway. Sudeikis is equally good, but has to contend with Oscar doing a complete volte face, which doesn’t ring true in the context of his character or the story. The nameless monster comes complete with a quirky humour all of its own. A throwback to Godzilla and other Korean monster movies, he looks like he was created by the great Ray Harryhausen on a bad day – and it makes him ever so slightly appealing.
Colossal has its fans and you can see why. You can equally see why it has its detractors. Personally? For all the good things on show, the idea runs out steam two thirds of the way through, leaving the rest of the film to descend into something close to silliness. There was a moment in the latter stages when Hathaway could quite happily give up on everything and rolls herself up in a flattened airbed. I knew how she felt…
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★