We are already seventeen years into the 21st Century. Movies have been being made for over 100 years now. In all that time, it feels like all the possible ideas have been seen now, that there is no such thing as originality anymore. Especially in the climate of filmmaking we are living in now, it certainly feels like we've seen it all. In any and all genres. But just when I feel like I have seen it all, somebody comes along and makes something that may have ingredients from various things that came before, but the ending result is something original.
"Colossal" is a film that blindsided me. I thought it was going to be more of the same I have seen before. I didn't know how I'd like Anne Hathaway as a lead, an actress that I respect much more than I actually like. With all that said, "Colossal" surprised me at every corner. Not only is this not more of the same, but Anne Hathaway does some of the best work she's ever done in her career so far. For a woman who has an Oscar on her shelf, I hope that statement means something, because it should. I sat back, waiting for something to piss me off, waiting for my interest to wane. But it didn't, in fact, I was baffled by just how much I was engaged in the film.
Anne Hathaway plays Gloria. A freeloading drifter who doesn't seem to know what she wants to do with her life. Events in Gloria's life come to a head when her boyfriend Tim (Dan Stevens), kicks her out of his home. She goes back to her hometown for a little soul-searching, and runs into a childhood friend Oscar (Jason Sudeikis) and he offers her a job at his bar. She feels good to have a friend in these tough times.
And that's when a giant kaiju starts terrorizing Seoul, South Korea.
Now, this was about the time where I thought I knew where the movie would be going, but it began to throw me for a loop. Are we going to find out that Anne Hathaway's character is somehow connected to the giant monster in South Korea? If so, how? Is she some kind of savior, or some kind of evil? And why is Jason Sudeikis being so nice to her and what's his role in all of this? I am not planning on giving anything away, but I will say there were some slight turns in the overall plan and it made for a film filled with fun. Its pieces of movies we have seen before, with some minor upgrades, and telling a well-rounded, character-driven story told by actors doing grounded work. It a real look at what would happen if the blockbuster spectacles we see flooding the theaters each year would look like if they spent more time on character and story instead of special effects and pixels.
The film also works as a metaphor tale. I have never been in a controlling relationship before, but I have known people in them. It felt like a nightmare, even though I was looking from the sidelines, and I waited for the people in question to simply get themselves out of their predicaments, but they never had the courage or the confidence to do so. This is what "Colossal" is about. Some people are hazardously controlled by their significant others. They are so far under their thumbs that they can't get out, don't have the push or the desire to get out. This is a movie about finding that inner strength, this is a movie about taking control of your life and not wavering for something worse. This is a movie about becoming the person everyone should strive to be.
Like I said, Anne Hathaway is amazing in this. Taking total control of the film as the main character. Its clear she is having fun in this movie, but she's doing everything she can to make it count, to do her best work. Then there is Jason Sudeikis. He's a humorous man, sometimes I feel a one-note humorous man. But he's also surprisingly fantastic in this movie. I am dazzled how he is his normal funny self in the first half of this movie, then something else by the end. And its no fluke, no unbelievable shift in character. Sudeikis is a broken, twisted man in this. Its not something we'd ever expect to see from him and he goes all in with the character.
"Colossal" is a powerful zing of inspiration. A reminder of what can happen when you believe in the power of your own craft. This was not what I was expecting, and its that feeling I chase every, single time I sit down to watch a film. This is one of my favorite times at the movies so far this year, and something more blockbusters should aspire to be.
FINAL GRADE: A