A Godzilla-like monster is on the loose in South Korea … and he seems to be mimicing the drunken gyrations of a New York party girl. Wait, what? Colossal, the brilliantly bizarro brainchild of Spanish writer-director Nacho Vigalondo, is a giant-creature-run-amuck fantasy that takes satiric aim at thirtysomethings who think the world revolves around them. But damned if this wildly witty and surprisingly touching swing at movie madness and gender politics isn’t on to something deep.
Anne Hathaway delivers a funny, fierce, fully committed performance that demands to be seen. She plays Gloria, a Manhattan blogger who boozes away her sorrows, like getting fired and being kicked to the curb by her live-in boyfriend (Dan Stevens, the Beast himself). So she moves back to her old house upstate and nabs a waitress job in a bar owned by Oscar (Jason Sudeikis), a former classmate who crushes on Gloria and gets her to hang with his bar buds (Tim Blake Nelson and Austin Stowell).
Then the news breaks: A kaiju colossus is terrorizing Seoul, crushing skyscrapers and killing hundreds. Gloria is horrified to see viral videos that show the creature stomping all over the city – and is apparently aping her gestures, especially when she staggers around, blackout drunk, at the park near her former grade school. It gets weirder. A monster robot also shows up in Seoul, and it seems to be copying Oscar’s gestures. Sudeikis, a master at morphing from nice to nasty, deconstructs his small-town knight in shining armor until he’s just another male predator. And then the fun begins.
A virtuoso of low-budget wonders (Timecrimes, Extraterrestrial), Vigalondo has an FX-laden ball as he unleashes a ginormous-beastie battle royale. But his subtext is what makes the movie a groundbreaker. Is it a monster mash with heart? Or is Gloria’s avatar stand-off on a world stage a metaphor for her mind-bending journey from self-loathing to self-determination? Either way, Colossal is seriously unmissable.