Colossal (2017) Review

Well… Colossal. To try and categorize this movie would be extremely hard. This film was like nothing I’ve seen before. It blended genres so well and and really hit me hard. I was so heavily invested in this story and I can’t stress enough just how original and unique this movie was. It is my favorite film I’ve seen this year.

Colossal tells the story of Gloria (Anne Hathaway), an out of work party girl who has been kicked out by her ex-boyfriend Tim’s (Dan Stevens) apartment. She moves back to her childhood hometown and catches up with her childhood friend Oscar (Jason Sudeikis) who gives her a job at his late father’s bar that he now owns. As Gloria’s nights of drinking begin, something odd begins happening all the way over in Seoul, North Korea. A monster begins attacking this city over the course of a few nights and Gloria soon begins to realize that she may be the reason this monster keeps reappearing.

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So, that plot sounds really funky and weird right? Well, what makes this movie so awesome and amazing is that it makes this odd and unique plot work wonderfully and make a ton of sense. Never in the theater did I question what I was watching. I understood exactly what the director, Nacho Vigalondo, was getting at and I’m so awestruck at how wonderfully all of this different genre elements mesh and work so well.

This is all due to a wonderful performance by Anne Hathaway. Being a huge fan of hers, I was so happy and connected with her character as she goes through her journey of discovering what she is strangely connected to in Seoul and her trying to get her life together. This movie really relies on her performance and she gives a truly marvelous one. However, the huge surprise here is Jason Sudeikis. His character, Oscar, starts out as a charismatic and likable dude that Sudeikis plays so well. Then, as you learn more about his character, the film uses Sudeikis in a way that I’ve never seen him before. I loved his performance and I think he equals or maybe ever so slightly outshines Hathaway’s wonderful performance. I just couldn’t get over how awesome he is in this movie but I don’t want to ruin how he’s used because it was a huge surprise to me and I think that made it that much more effective.

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The cinematography is something that really surprised me too. Every shot was carefully crafted and the camera work was excellent. The scenes involving the monster also looked amazing and the CGI in particular was amazing for only a $15 million budget. The monster had the right amount of awe and scope without feeling cheesy and I really liked the way that it looked. It was rather original and unique.

But, the film isn’t necessarily about the monster. Even though it’s a pretty key part in the plot, don’t go in expecting like Pacific Rim style action or Godzilla. The film is truly about the internal fights that people deal with and how those demons have a greater effect if we let them consume us. I really liked how the film handled Gloria’s substance abuse and it does it in a way that is both on the nose and maybe heavy handed, but it still really works. It is really hard for a director to make a film’s themes and metaphor’s be subtle but to somehow make the film be both on the nose and subtle fits so well considering the way the film blends genre’s seamlessly.

The film only has one minor flaw. The ending didn’t 100% work for me. It doesn’t completely collapse but I think that the first 80% of the film is perfect up until the ending which sort of stumbles but not enough to destroy my perception of the movie and this is made up for with a brilliant final line of dialogue that makes the film come full circle.

Colossal is this year’s Swiss Army Man. It takes an odd concept and somehow makes it work and work really well. I can’t help but just be so giddy writing this review because it’s so rare to see a film that is so original work so well. It is most certainly the best film of the year so far and I couldn’t recommend it enough. Just don’t go in expecting a big monster action spectacle because while this is spurts of it in here, there is something much deeper and thought-provoking that I found to be a lot more exciting.

 

Grade: A


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