Quick Hit: Inventive and well-acted, with a huge subtext.
Kaijus, and monster movies in general, are obviously very close to my heart. I love the large scale, global threatening type movies, as well as the smaller ones, like Gremlins, which we’ll be covering soon. Colossal seems to marry those, while also forming a message about genders and social constructs that is too clear to ignore.
The film follows Gloria (Anne Hathaway), whose life is just a complete mess. She’s an obvious alcoholic, and with her life falling apart, she moves back home. Here she encounters Oscar (Jason Sudeikis), a friend from childhood, and eventually they begin to spend each night at the bar that he owns.
Now, from that short summary, what you may be expecting is a story that we’ve all seen played out on screen multiple times; ie, the person with their life in shambles returns to their small town, figures out life, and falls in love with the childhood best friend. And while the film starts in that direction, there’s an undercurrent of darkness that is palpable throughout the film, particularly in Sudeikis’s character Oscar. As more and more cracks begin to show in his character in a terrific, against-type performance, it’s clear that there’s more than one monster to be shown.
The Kaijus, which are terrorizing Seoul throughout this film, are fairly well polished. While there’s not quite as much explicit destruction (most of it happens off screen, most likely for budgetary considerations) as one would expect, it’s in keeping with the tone of the rest of the film. This movie is as metaphorical as it is literal, with monsters being reflected in nearly every scene. It’s some really extraordinary ideas and metaphors, which leads to a much more entertaining film.
While the soundtrack wasn’t exactly something I loved, it felt in keeping with a lot of the film.
The acting performances were wonderful; as previously mentioned, Sudeikis leads the pack but has Hathaway hot on his heels. To make alcoholics sympathetic is one thing; to make them sympathetic and likeable is another. These are both people with some serious issues, and neither actor dismisses them. These are real performances, where you feel like the characters are within reach. Hathaway’s stumbling, mumbling, head-scratching Gloria is a lot of fun, and Sudeikis uses his likeable persona to bring everyone in before things start to unravel fully.
Colossal turned out to be a lot more about the gender roles and stereotypes than monsters, but that’s all right with me, because it was handled extremely well. I’m giving it a “B+”.
For more on this film, check out IMDB.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"