Colossal‘s Spanish writer/director/producer Nacho Vigalondo has always had a fondness for the science fictional and fantastic (consider his previous pics Timecrimes, Extraterrestrial and Open Windows). His latest is no exception.
While Colossal might sound like some eccentric hybrid of the character/relationship drama, the pain-of-addiction epic and the ‘kaijū eiga’ (Japanese monster movie), it isn’t quite that monstrously simple.
Gloria (Anne Hathaway in a committed performance) is a New York writer whose life is in chaos as she can’t stop drinking and partying. It’s all too much for her pinched partner Tim (Dan ‘Beast’ Stevens), who throws her out. She retreats to her family home in some unnamed dead-end town (her parents seem to be deceased but they’re never mentioned, probably as it would complicate the plot), and there she runs into onetime schoolfriend Oscar (Jason Sudeikis), who owns a bar, as fate would have it.
Gloria gets blackout drunk and awakens to find the world in turmoil as a giant stomping ‘kaiju’ has been attacking Seoul. It takes a while for her to suspect that there’s some kind of connection between her and the creature, a twist that might have been more effective if it hadn’t been given away in the film’s trailer and poster. But anyway, what she gets up to after this realisation does come as a surprise, and the film starts to become something more potent than When Godzilla Met Sally.
While Hathaway and Sudeikis, plus Austin Stowell and Tim Blake Nelson as Oscar’s boozy pals, are strong here, and the CG monster has a fair bit of CG personality, Colossal is perhaps slightly undone by its own peculiarity. It will surely have a tough time finding the right audience. After all, ‘Kaiju’ fans will dislike all the human stuff, while anyone somehow hoping for a romantic comedy are going to be colossally disappointed (and pretty damn baffled too).
Rated M. Colossal is in cinemas now