Movie Review: ‘Colossal’ Reimagines Movie Monsters

Kaiju films look like they are making a comeback. When I was a kid, every Saturday after the last cartoon went off, they had some type of sci-if film. The most memorable were the Godzilla films.  Now we may be about to enter a new golden era of monster films, thanks to Kong: Skull Island, but no monster movie that you’ve seen, or that you will see, will be anything like Colossal.

Directed by Nacho Vigalondo, the film stars Anne Hathaway as Gloria, a woman on a downward spiral. She’s lost her job, her boyfriend Tim (Dan Stevens) has had enough of her drunken antics and kicked her out, and the only place she has to stay is her parents’ abandoned home back where she grew up. While there she meets her childhood friend Oscar (Jason Sudeikis) who offers her a job at his bar. He not only gives her a job, he gives her a huge TV, a futon, basically decorating her house throughout the film. It’s stuff they talked about, you know, when she was too drunk to remember.

Sudeikis and Hathaway

Oscar and Gloria reminiscing

Oh, and this monster just mysteriously materialized in Seoul.

It’s a weird monster. Sometimes it just stands there and makes odd hand gestures. Sometimes it walks through heavily populated areas. The only thing that’s consistent is the time it materializes, 8:05 am. While Gloria is watching a live feed, she realizes that the monster is mimicking her. She tests her theory by going to the park she was in and making a series of random arm movements, only to find that the monster does the same. At first she finds it kind of amusing. She convinces Oscar and his friends that she’s not crazy by making the monster dance. But soon she realizes there are consequences. People are dying in Seoul because of her. However, this situation has some unexpected twists that make what should be an easy out – just don’t go in the park – much more difficult.

The Colossal Creature

That’s going to be a monster headache

The film is being sold as a monster movie, and obviously that element is there, but it’s about so much more than a huge creature decimating a city. This film is about tackling your monsters, both within and without. Gloria has to wrest control of her life from the recklessness she’s fallen into and from people who try to control it. It’s like Seoul becomes a metaphor for her soul. Will she allow it to be destroyed or will she protect it at all costs?

Already a hit on the festival circuit, the film opened in LA and New York on April 7th and is gradually widening. It’s the first film from the new distribution company Neon, formed by Tom Quinn (formerly of the Weinstein Company) and Alamo Drafthouse owner Tim League. They’ve teamed up with a new fan-owned entertainment company, Legion M.

As we prepare for the next few years of kaiju stomping on to our big screens, it’s nice to see a little film come in to twist the genre and give us something to think about.

The Good
  • The most original film you may see all year
  • MONSTERS!
  • great performances
The Bad
  • Drags a little at the beginning, but it has a lot to build up
4.5 Superb

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