Wednesday, May 03, 2017

As a Monster Movie, 'Colossal' Is Deeply Delightful and Original

Colossal is… well, let’s just say that I think this movie is awesome enough and deserves to be watched.   I won’t give much of a synopsis, as I think knowing as little as possible going into it is very advantageous.  If you haven’t seen the trailer yet (it’s actually a bit spoiler-y), I suggest you don’t watch it anymore.  Just directly go and watch the movie instead.  Heck, unless you’ve seen it already, I would even recommend that you stop reading this review (come back and do so when you finally did).   Just go watch it.

Still, here are some basic details, if you still care to have some idea of what it’s going to be about:
Anne Hathaway plays an alcoholic unemployed writer named Gloria. Her boyfriend (played by Dan Stevens), frustrated of her behavior, kicks her out of their apartment and requires her to clean her act out before they can talk of reconciliation. She moves back to her hometown, where she reconnects with her childhood friend Oscar (Jason Sudeikis) and gets a part-time job as a waitress in his bar, which doesn’t help with her problem with alcoholism. Oh, meanwhile, a colossal kaiju is mysteriously appearing and disappearing in Seoul, causing death and destruction.
This is an original, deeply intriguing movie that does a wonderful spin on the whole monster genre.  It’s continually surprising with its fantastically-executed twists and turns, while it thoughtfully explores a bunch of themes like self-destruction, personal failings, responsibility, manipulative and abusive behavior, doing damage through anonymity and proxy, learning to take control of one’s life and being independent, and a handful of other things.  The narrative pivots a lot; hence, it also goes to several places with its metaphors.

It’s basically a comedy, but it also treads on “dark comedy” territory.  The tone also shifts into something suspenseful – even borderline disturbing – and intense later on.

Hathaway may be too attractive to be a believable rock-bottomed alcoholic, but she delivers a very compelling performance here.  Sudeikis also successfully elicits the necessary impression to his character.  On the other hand, Stevens isn’t on the movie much, but between his charming mocap work in Beauty and the Beast and being the star of Legion, I started feeling some fan elation whenever I saw him on screen.
I loved Colossal.  It’s primarily delightful for being a fresh, quirky piece of science fiction.  But it also works as a satirical commentary on human nature.  It has a clever script, though it can feel slightly disorienting or incohesive from being too out-there and unpredictable.  You never truly know where it’s going.  And, sometimes, you even doubt it actually knows where it wants to be.  But once it gets there – and it does, though it wobbles a bit on its way – it’s oh so gratifying!

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