Colossal Screen 65 of 17 reviews

Colossal

2016

Colossal Poster
  • Part of the film's unique sense of humor comes from the way it plays against our expectation that Vigalondo is going to make it bigger or more serious at some point. He never does. The film takes the characters' problems seriously, but it never becomes self-important... Hathaway is quite appealing here, striking just the right note between desperation and "whatever, dude" haplessness. Her performance has a Diane Keaton-ish quality.

  • Part giant-monster movie, part romantic comedy, yet 100 percent original, Colossal marks a welcome return to form for Spanish director Nacho Vigalondo. It’s the most satisfying and innovative film he’s made since his 2007 feature debut, Timecrimes, which fuses a murder mystery with a time-traveling science-fiction tale... It’s a wonderful twist on the genre, and a surprisingly touching take on female self-empowerment and overcoming one’s worst addictions.

  • If all that writer-director Nacho Vigalondo were doing was to make the two supernatural smash-giants avatars of the tormented souls of two damaged individuals, It would not have been a particularly clever or original approach to the material. But that's really just the premise. What Colossal actually accomplishes, in its gradual and often painfully detailed manner, is to demonstrate how abuse normalizes itself.

  • Rare indeed is the premise so inspired that it’s nearly impossible to screw up, but Colossal, the latest oddball effort from Spanish director Nacho Vigalondo (Timecrimes, Extraterrestrial), somehow mostly works despite being a complete mess.

  • The fantasy of “Colossal,” Nacho Vigalondo’s new genre mashup, starring Anne Hathaway, does two things well at the same time: it embodies a strong idea and it delivers aesthetic pleasure. At its best, it achieves a rare synthesis of virtues that is a primal value of the cinema: it revels in the power of cinematic artifice to tell a story that confronts big questions about real life. “Colossal” reaches that level only intermittently, but it’s rare for any filmmaker to achieve it at all.

  • The movie is a persona-delivery system, a straightforward star vehicle in the guise of something weirder. Hathaway is the real asset, here, and Vigalondo’s strength as a director is in allowing her to let the character breathe. Hathaway’s performance embodies Gloria’s humiliations and triumphs so fully, and loosely, and with such a “been there” vibe, that you feel the movie is as much about her as the woman she’s playing.

  • Vigalondo's latest, Colossal, is his most ambitious yet. It features Anne Hathaway as a messed-up writer who heads back home to her small town, only to discover that she can control the movements of a giant kaiju that just happens to be terrorizing Seoul. In its irreverent mix of monster movie and rom-com, and its eagerness to then undercut both genres, the film is very much Vigalondo’s work.

  • This may be a film about alcoholism, but it’s only present in the most superficial of ways (take, for example, Hathaway’s reaction when offered a drink at the end of the film, possibly the best concluding facial expression in cinema). That’s okay, though: Colossal is so beguiling in its strangeness that it still works, even though it’s relying heavily on its comedy to make everything work. Don’t think too hard about this one, lest you find the many plot holes.

  • Vigalondo’s economical use of CGI manages to give it extra layers of meanings in spite of the bizarre events unfolding onscreen. The movie presents its plot like a ridiculous gamble, and keeps pulling it off, somehow managing to justify its existence. As she stumbles through problems both silly and serious, that’s the struggle Gloria faces as well.

  • Sight & Sound: Adam Nayman
    April 28, 2017 | June 2017 Issue (p. 60)

    Hathaway taps into the same bruised intensity she marshaled in Rachel Getting Married (2008), but Gloria's redemption narrative is over-cranked to the point of turning her into a literal action her, which has the strange effect of trivialising her triumph instead of enlarging it. Vigalondo is a talented filmmaker who can't quite reconcile his gifts as a light entertainer with the desire to give his movie some real emotional weight, As a result, Colossal ends up scoring a split decision.

  • Two seemingly incongruous categories — the small-scale romantic doodle and the rampaging-creature feature — are brought together in Colossal, a film that never really fulfills the potential of its adventurous premise... The problems of two Americans are of monumental importance in this crazy world, or at least on the other side of the globe. But what could have been a barbed look at extreme narcissism, whether individual or national, is reduced to that mildest of metaphors, the road to recovery.

  • An imaginative genre exercise, using kaiju as a metaphor for personal turmoil, with characters that actually get pretty interesting before it all overstays its welcome and reaches unearned levels of diffusion where it should be tight and purposeful.

  • It never quite fulfills the promise of its setup; instead, Vigalondo seems to lose the thread of his characters, exuding more of an interest in manipulating them to conform to simplistic good-versus-evil binaries. And ultimately, there’s something rather distasteful about a film that essentially shows the relatively trivial conflicts between two white American characters being played out on a destructive grand scale in a faraway Asian city (Seoul in this case).

  • It's metaphorically sound while making no literal sense. Which would be fine if Vigalondo were nimble enough a dramatist, or strong enough a director of actors, to effectively peddle his goofy wares. There are some true laughs, and its scenario plays as a good joke on big-budget motion-capture filmmaking, but the whole thing gets bogged down in clunky monologues, repetitive scenarios, and a performance of forced every-guy nonchalance by Jason Sudeikis that has to be seen to be disbelieved.

  • Vigalondo’s tone winks more than plays things straight, thereby undermining his characters, the film’s stakes, and any genuine emotion he might have been able to conjure up. The film is situated in a no man’s land between Charlie Kaufman’s poignancy-by-way-of-surreality and a distant, purely comedic approach. Despite its overcompensating title, Colossal is characterized by this quintessential lack.

  • Audiences who step into Colossal unaware of where Vigalondo is taking them will be nothing if not surprised. But despite, or perhaps because of, these refreshing quirks of character, the film probably assumes more patience of its audience than it can possibly reward.

  • All the narrative oxygen is gradually sucked up before – finally, frustratingly – Colossal reveals itself to be nothing more than a trite relationship drama. The monster movie conceit may prove an irresistible lure to some, but this is nowhere near as ambitious, funny or clever as it thinks it is.

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