Sundance Journal: ‘Colossal’


Movie Rating:


The unfortunate aspect of attending a film festival is seeing a movie that’s built upon a great concept but needs another few rewrites. Such is the case with ‘Colossal’. The idea behind it is brilliant, but the final product is one of the messiest and most problematic things I’ve seen.

Anne Hathaway leads the cast as Gloria, a thirty-something who’s never grown up. Despite her long-term relationship with live-in boyfriend Tim (Dan Stevens from ‘Downton Abbey’), she acts like she’s a college girl with no attachments or responsibilities. Her late night partying doesn’t stop when the sun comes up. She hasn’t had a job in some time. In the opening scene, Tim has had enough and kicks her to the curb. With nowhere to go, she returns to her family’s now-empty home in Small Town, USA.

Upon returning home, Gloria runs into Oscar (Jason Sudeikis), a childhood friend who owns his own bar. Having instant access to booze, her late night drinking parties continue with Oscar and his friends (Tim Blake Nelson and Austin Stowell). Although Gloria makes progress by working as a waitress at the bar, the four have a bad habit routine of drinking until 8 AM and sleeping through the day.

One day, Gloria wakes up in the afternoon to discover that Seoul, South Korea was attacked by a giant monster that morning. While watching the news footage and seeing the mannerisms of the monster, she’s lead to believe that she, in her drunken state, is actually the monster.

Great idea, right? It’s playful and fun. As good as that sounds, the story gets better. Halfway through, something forged from pure awesomeness is revealed, but I can’t tell you about that part since the mid-movie twist is an unexpected delight. Unfortunately, everything that happens after the twist undermines what happened before it. If you’ve ever seen a movie that doesn’t know what to do with its great idea, that’s exactly what ‘Colossal’ does. It initially follows a great path, but has no idea what to do with its concept – especially when it comes to the ending. By the time it’s over, it’s all been for nothing.

A handful of seemingly important elements are tossed around in the sloppy screenplay by director Nacho Vigalondo (‘Timecrimes’, ‘Open Windows’), but they never come to fruition. Characters lack complexity or motivation, causing their reactions to feel like they were written just to create conflict. If there’s a message within this film, it’s lost beneath its incoherence.

Had ‘Colossal’ gone through a few more rewrites, I’m certain that it would have been brilliant. As is, it’s a half-baked mess and a colossal waste of time.


  1. The idea of a group of idiot characters sleeping through a major world event and waking up afterwards is basically the same set-up Vigalondo used in his last Spanish film, Extraterrestrial. I thought that movie was a lot of fun, but the director really seems to be struggling ever since he came to Hollywood.

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