This delightfully oddball movie has the kind of extreme premise that makes me wonder how on earth does someone come up with this sort of stuff. The premise is, what if your personal issues manifested on the other side of the world in a form of a giant Godzilla-like creature?
The story begins with Gloria (Anne Hathaway) getting kicked out of a relationship and apartment by her boyfriend Tim (Dan Stevens), who can no longer put up with her boozing and lying ways. Gloria is unemployed and broke, so she takes the bags Tim himself has packed, and heads to her hometown. There she moves into her parents’ vacated house, and runs into an old childhood friend, Oscar (Jason Sudeikis), who gives her a job at the bar he owns – a perfect recipe for getting smashed every night. After one such night, Gloria stumbles drunk through a children’s playground… and the next day she wakes up to the terrifying news of a giant monster rampaging through Seoul in South Korea.
It’s not really a spoiler to mention that pretty soon and to her utter horror, Gloria figures out the connection between the monster and herself, when she watches the footage and sees the monster repeat a particular gesture that’s uniquely hers. Basically, whenever she sets a foot on the playground at a certain time of day, the monster materialises in Seoul and replicates Gloria’s movements and gestures in real time. Later in the film there’s a sci-fi-ish explanation for how and why Gloria’s monster first came into being, but I preferred to see it as a metaphor for the alcoholism and the unintended damage it causes to the people around. Gloria’s monster leaves demolished buildings and human body count in its trail, and this realisation makes her face the mess she’s made of her life. It should be noted though that, despite the scale of the destruction and the worldwide attention it receives, the movie never becomes more epic and keeps its focus on Gloria and her friends in their small sleepy town. It also pokes fun at the modern internet culture and the way someone somewhere will immediately take the footage and turn it into a funny video.
There’s a point in the movie when it veers away from Gloria’s alcoholism and takes the story and characters into a different direction that I never saw coming, so I won’t mention it here. Suffice to say that it adds even more tension and stakes, and builds up to a very thrilling conclusion. Colossal is an imaginative and absurd mish-mash of pulpy and realistic, and definitely one of the more original monster movies I’ve seen. The cast do a fine job, especially Hathaway who has a knack for physical comedy and makes Gloria likeable and sympathetic despite her vices and irresponsible ways. Also, I don’t know if it’s Hathaway’s own hair or a wig, but Gloria’s magnificent mass of unruly chestnut hair is almost a character in its own right.