Bonkers but not brilliant
Anne Hathaway controlling a giant monster rampaging through Seoul with her mind.
As premises go, Colossal is far from run-ofthe-mill, but given it comes from the mind of Spanish writer-director Nacho Vigalondo – who helmed twisty 2007 sci-fi mystery Timecrimes – perhaps it should come as no surprise that the story is so out there.
Hathaway’s New York party girl Gloria is forced to move back to her small home town, where she reunites with childhood friend Oscar (Jason Sudeikis) and discovers her jawdropping connection to the enormous reptilian kaiju.
Like Drinking Buddies-meets-Godzilla, Colossal mashes up the indie comedy with blockbuster-style destruction to enjoyable – but flawed – effect.
Vigalondo squeezes every cent out of his relatively small $15 million budget to film some genuinely impressive monster effects that suggest he’s worth a punt to direct a major franchise tent-pole.
His strange beast of a movie also never heads in the directions you expect it to; for every frequently dark-toned laugh there’s a surprising turn deep into a character’s troubled physique – or creature destruction.
Keeping the audience going every step of the way is a plucky Hathaway – no stranger to this type of role via her work in Rachel Getting Married and Love & Other Drugs.
She does a fine job playing an unravelling heroine who comes to the realisation that there are more important things in life than staring at the bottom of a bottle of booze.
Equally impressive is Sudeikis – an actor whose work I’ve always enjoyed. He’s as charming as ever, but Vigalondo gifts him a layered character who takes a few dark turns in a performance that gets a lot more out of Sudeikis’ talents than any number of Horrible Bosses movies.
Heading up the cast are Tim Blake Nelson (Garth) and Austin Stowell (Joel) as Oscar’s witty, straight-talking buddies and Dan Stevens (Tim), saddled with a thankless task as Gloria’s unforgiving boyfriend in the Brit’s weakest big screen outing yet.
There’s no escaping the fact that Vigalondo’s flick is weird – very weird. The up and down tone won’t be for everyone and on more than one occasion it feels like the director has fused about three different films together.
And critics of comic book movies’ death and destruction-packed final acts will bristle at the throwaway manner in which the likely loss of thousands of people in Seoul is dismissed in favour of Gloria’s thoughts and feelings.
Comparisons with the even more bonkers Being John Malkovich are unwarranted and the bleak final act sucks the life out of proceedings.
Originality in Hollywood has to be embraced, though, and Vigalondo and his cast take us on an off-the-wall journey that we won’t soon forget.
Monster mayhemHathaway has a lot on her mind