The second people heard about Colossal, at the very least, it was enough to raise some eyebrows. The idea of a human person played by Anne Hathaway controlling a giant Godzilla-type monster on the other side of the world seems at least partially ridiculous, but one can’t help but wonder what that might be like. Is it any good? The answer is a resounding yes.
Neon‘s Colossal centers on a woman named Gloria (Anne Hathaway) who is struggling in her personal life with work, her relationship and her possible drinking problem. When her boyfriend Tim (Dan Stevens) kicks her out, she leaves her life in New York and heads back to her small town to try and put her life back together.
But when a giant monster starts attacking the other side of the world, her life becomes even more complicated when she realizes that she is actually the one controlling the monster. With the help of her friend Oscar (Jason Sudeikis), they try to figure out why this is happening and what they can do to end the chaos, but that proves to be tricky.
Colossal is something that is very tough to sell to mainstream audiences, on paper anyway. But it is shocking just how many people will probably be able to enjoy this movie. Despite a pretty wacky and most definitely strange (yet charmingly original) premise, Colossal was made to please. There are a lot of ways this movie could have gone once the idea came to be. Director Nacho Vigalondo deserves a lot of credit for not only making this movie work but making it in a way that can be enjoyed by the masses. It sort of delightfully defies logic.
One thing I can safely say is that even those who were totally sold on Colossal the second the first trailer hit will be surprised by this movie. On one hand, it delivers on every promise that it makes. It is everything that you expect it to be. On the other hand, it throws the audience a few curve balls and takes a few twists and turns that are very tough to see coming.
They are good twists and good turns. Even the straightforward version of this movie would have been damn enjoyable but the way that Nacho Vigalondo was able to turn this into more than what might have been creative but possibly gimmicky entertainment is very admirable. In the hands of someone with less vision, this thing might have been a disaster. There are a lot of examples of less being more in this movie and it shows a lot of restraint in the best kind of way. Some of that might have had to do with the fact that this wasn’t a $100 million movie, but still. This is a personal story with a monster in it. Not a monster story that happens to have some people in it.
This is also another example of a lesson that is learned time and time again in genre movies; casting and quality matters. Even the best ideas can be ruined by mediocre actors and rushed execution. Having a really solid ensemble with talented actors doing things slightly outside of their comfort zone is what really makes Colossal work. Yes, a lot of this movie rests on the shoulders of Anne Hathaway and she definitely turns in one of her most compelling performances in recent memory. But it is Jason Sudeikis who really shines here. He is doing some things that many people would probably never be able to picture him doing and executes them perfectly. The dude has range and a whole lot of charisma.
He is more than just a funny man that is for damn sure. Hollywood’s new popular, handsome chameleon Dan Stevens also gets in some good work here as well. He is becoming increasingly fun to watch. I also can’t stress enough how important it is that Nacho Vigalondo clearly had a vision for this thing beyond a pretty clever, general idea. There are so many layers to this movie and it is hard not to be impressed.
Colossal is a lot of things and all of those things are good things. It is unique, clever, massively entertaining and surprising. This is far from your typical genre movie and something that people will probably be talking about for years to come. If you want to be a part of the conversation, which you totally should because it is going to be a very fun conversation, you need to see this movie.