Film Festival Movie Review

Film Review: COLOSSAL: Overcoming Personal Demons [Sundance 2017]

Anne Hathaway Colossal

Colossal Review

Colossal (2017), Film Review from the 33rd Annual Sundance Film Festival, a movie directed by Nacho Vigalondo, starring Anne HathawayJason Sudeikis, Dan StevensAustin Stowell, and Tim Blake Nelson.

The effectiveness of great ideas depends on their execution. It’s unfortunate that the great ideas presented in this film are let down by a lousy and uneven script.

Gloria (Anne Hathaway), an alcoholic whose life has hit dead-end, voluntarily transplants herself to her empty childhood home. She has an immediate run-in with a childhood friend, Oscar (Jason Sudeikis), and the two reconnect at his small-town western bar. Like all alcoholics, Gloria keeps up a façade of normalcy and sanity, one that will soon catch up to her. Frequently hungover and stumbling home in the early hours of the morning, she discovers that her movements are replicated exactly by a giant, Godzilla-like monster in Seoul, South Korea on breaking news broadcasts that have upended the world. Distraught by the literal destruction her alcoholism has come to inflict on the world, Gloria begins to awaken to the responsibilities of sober living. Along the way, though, she learns she must also literally battle it out with Oscar and the destructive nature of their relationship on a worldwide scale.

This film is full of fun and great ideas – both figurative and literal – but suffers from an abrupt, jarring shift in tone about two-thirds in. From one scene to the next, Oscar literally – and figuratively – turns into a formidable monster seemingly without reason. It’s enough to distract and bother the viewer to the point of needing a time-out to figure out what the hell just happened!

It’s an interesting concept, one that all people can relate to: what if the personal challenges we face every day were taken on literally and not just figuratively? What if our self-destruction didn’t just destroy ourselves but evidenced itself in the world around us in tangible ways? What if the unintended consequences of our actions only became clear to us when viewed through a colossal world lens?

It’s a tribute, really, to the courage and bravery it takes to overcome something as difficult as addiction. We all have our own monster(s) to tackle; but what happens when we become the monster?

Following the confusing tonal shift, the film is redeemed somewhat by its supremely clever ending that is reminiscent of the final battle of Jurassic World. The redemption arrives in the form of the film’s return to the fun that’s abandoned with the tonal shift. It’s also symbolic of the fun that can be had along the journey of overcoming our demons and emerging successfully from hard-fought battles.

With a tighter and more consistent script, the film may have been fun ride throughout. Still, it’s worth seeing for its figurative – and literal – exploration of a unique concept.

Colossal is screening at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival in the non-competitive Spotlight category and has been acquired by an as-yet-unnamed company for a 2017 theatrical run.


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Image Source: Sundance Institute

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About the author

Drew Stelter

Drew is a 26-year-old film buff. A native Utahan, he attends the Sundance Film Festival annually. He is a member of the Salt Lake Film Society. In a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, he attended the Oscars Red Carpet on March 2, 2014, after winning an essay contest through the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. At any given time he can be expected to be conversing via movie quote GIFs.

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