‘COLOSSAL’ (2017) MOVIE REVIEW – A Sci-Fi Kaiju Film That Is More Brains Than Brawn.
‘Colossal’ is a Sci-Fi / Dark Comedy film that surpasses all expectations with a small and crazy genuinely original story and one that goes so much deeper than what is presented on the surface. The film follows Gloria (Anne Hathaway) who moves back to her hometown, soon after, the world is sent into shock when a giant Kaiju appears and partially destroys the city of Seoul. Gloria soon discovers that she is somehow connected to this creature and strives to find out the significance of its appearances. Anne Hathaway’s performance in this film is fantastic, she channels so much emotion and really gets you to like and back her character. Dan Stevens and Jason Sudeikis are also in the film and provide great supporting roles alongside Gloria. The film is thrilling, somewhat funny, and successfully sucks you in with an original story that takes you to places you never thought this film would go. On the surface the Sci-Fi elements are what draw you in to the story but as you progress there is a lot beneath the surface that actually turns this into a very deep, important, and thought provoking film looking at themes of personal existence and domestic violence.
I saw the trailer for Colossal a while ago and i had forgotten most of what is shown in that trailer at the time of watching this movie. And i would say that is the best way to go into this because the film takes so many twists and turns that are better experienced in the movie. What i will say though is not to go into this film expecting a straight up Sci-Fi Action with tonnes of excitingly large set pieces because you will be disappointed. This isn’t a straight up Sci-Fi film, and it isn’t a straight up comedy, it is an odd blend of a bunch of different genres that work really well together to create something drastically different from anything you have seen before. This film may be partially about a giant Kaiju that occasionally destroys parts of a city but the actual focus here is one much deeper and more character focused where the Kaiju itself stands for something much larger and more important. That’s about as vague as i can keep it without any spoilers because going into this film knowing as little as possible is definitely the way to go. I will say though, that for the first 15-20 minutes there is a bit of a wait for the key story and the key themes to really kick in which may be unfortunate but it really does pay off in adding to the effect and tone of many key later scenes.
Anne Hathaway isn’t someone i typically go to when thinking of an actress who could be able to put out really dramatic and emotional performances. But in this film she really shines as Gloria, someone with a lot of troubles in her life that she needs to overcome to avoid falling into a pit of hopelessness. She is really powerful in her key scenes throughout the film and carries many of the scenes on her own with complete ease. But it isn’t just her dramatic abilities that come through here as she has some moments of subtle dark humour that give her character and the film a little added dash of personality that contrasts the really dark tone of the film. Jason Sudeikis is in the film as Oscar, yet another actor who you wouldn’t think of when you think ‘serious powerful actor’ as he is known almost exclusively for his comedic material. But he puts in a performance here that is gripping, complex, and at times even haunting. I really like seeing actors step into different kinds of roles and even though that can sometimes backfire i think this is a scenario where it really works. Early in the film i didn’t quite know if i was going to like him in it but it paid off. I love Dan Stevens in whatever he’s in and here he is in a more minor role as Gloria’s ex boyfriend Tim who has not a whole lot of screen time, but he does have some really good supporting moments.
Interestingly, in hindsight if you gave me a basic rundown of the two characters of Oscar and Tim, in order to play it safe i would actually have casted Dan Stevens as Oscar as it does seem like a better fit for him considering some of his previous roles. But in the end the choices made in the casting for this film worked out very well and showed a different side to Jason Sudeikis.
So in the end i say you should definitely check out this film as even though it isn’t perfect and there are minor touches where there could be some improvements. But the story overall is thrilling, the performances are on point, and there are touches of dark humour occasionally but not a whole lot to tonally take you out of the film. But the best part about this film is that you get so much more than what you came for with what the film is saying beneath the surface about the themes i mentioned earlier, one of the strongest being domestic violence. These themes are very subtly integrated so you aren’t hit on the head with them all the time but all it takes is a little bit of thinking to pick them out.