Love Kaiju movies? For the uninitiated, kaiju is the term used to describe the monsters we see in Japanese movies. You know, the ones like Godzilla and Mothra. Colossal is an ode to those movies, while it sets out to make its own path. The movie stars Anne Hathaway, Jason Sudeikis, and Dan Stevens, while it is directed by Nacho Vigalondo.
Here's our review of Colossal…
What's it about
The movie begins with a monster suddenly appearing out of nowhere in Seoul before disappearing mysteriously. 25 years later, we meet Gloria (Anne Hathaway), a writer, who loses her job, her boyfriend (Dan Stevens) and her pad in New York thanks to alcoholism. She moves back to her hometown, where she reunites with her childhood friend Oscar (Jason Sudeikis). Around the same time, the kaiju returns to Seoul, spreading destruction of property and life with its arrival. Gloria is shocked at first with its appearance but soon realises that kaiju appears at a particular time when she crosses a children's park near her house and it mimics her actions. Things get further complicated when even Oscar realises his presence at the park also brings in a giant robot in Seoul. The rest of the movie deals with how these two deal with this new discovery and how it changes their equation.
Truth to be told, I hadn't watched any of the promos of the movie and had entered the theater with a brief idea about the plot. Somehow, that ignorance worked for me. Colossal's biggest USP is its weird premise that merges monster movies with a human drama. Let me give you a warning - don't go for this movie, expecting a typical monster movie like Godzilla, Pacific Rim or Kong: Skull Island. In fact, the movie does use the elements from these movies and twists them on their heads. However, Colossal is more of an introspection of human behaviour, and how people behave when they are given immense power to suppress others. Colossal works best when it gives a spin to generic tropes of a sympathetic female lead, her nice best friend and a jock of a boyfriend. Gloria is not an extremely likable lead, and yet we do end up rooting for her. Oscar may start off as the likable boy next door but he gets tired of it when he doesn't get what he wants. Both Gloria and Oscar are characters who transcend beyond their pre-requisites. The first half sets up the premise for a fun and intriguing way with enough humorous moments. But fun sometimes comes at the cost of other's harm, as Gloria realises in a well-handled scene that her antics has caused deaths in another country. Oscar's behavioral change is also portrayed, though it would have been better if the script had treated him more of a sympathetic bully than a psycho. Though there is dull lull towards the later part of the movie, it gets back on track towards the climax that would make any kaiju movie lover squeal in delight. The fun is there when we draw out the metaphors. Is Colossal about how our little actions have deep ramifications, like the Chaos Theory? Or is it a snide hint at how the US is interfering in the affairs of other countries, resulting in disastrous consequences? You make the guess. The monster effects are quite decent for its budget.
As for the performances, both Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis shine in their respective roles, with their arcs going on a contradictory tangent with each other. It is a refreshing change to see the usually affable Sudeikis take on a role so out of his comfort zone, and yet nothing different from the characters he has done before. Tim Blake Nelson leaves a mark in his brief role, with some good lines.
Colossal sure has a difficult job of keeping things engaging when it treads on weird plotlines, and it succeeds at that. It's when the script leaves out the kaiju subtext and becomes more grounded in dealing with relationships that the movie falters, and the proceedings start to lag. The satirical elements of the movie get forgotten, as things become very serious and Colossal begins to behave like a bland Fatal Attraction. There was also an unnecessary flashback scene where the director tries to bring logic to the proceedings, but it falls flat and doesn't make much of a difference. We had accepted the bizarreness of the plot, so why the need to explain it? Dan Stevens' role as the too straight boyfriend is underdeveloped, and so is Austin Stowell as Gloria's wimpy one-night stand.
What to do
Colossal is not the usual monster movie, despite having two of them in it. In fact, it is a clever spin on the genre, that however couldn't capitalise completely on its brilliance. However, it still worked on its huge ambition with a limited budget. The mainstream audience may not accept the bizarre premise, but Colossal sure has the potential to be a cult movie. Watch it for the performances of Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis, and for the different treatment of a tried-and-tested genre.
3.5 out of 5
Stay tuned to BollywoodLife for the latest scoops and updates from Bollywood, Hollywood, South, TV and Web-Series.
Click to join us on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram. Also follow us on Facebook Messenger for latest updates.