Your drunken blackouts have nothing on Hathaway’s

Film | by Jorge Ignacio Castillo

The Roxy

Opens May 12
3.5 out of 5

Science fiction is often thought as fundamentally American, due to the fact few outside Hollywood can afford to dabble in special effects-heavy genres. This phenomenon has limited sci-fi’s vast reach to a parade of special effects with little substance and far from enlightening.

Somehow, Colossal brings together a European sensibility and a decent budget — a combination that results in a character-driven robot movie. Think Transformers with a soul.

Gloria (Anne Hathaway) has a particularly bad day when her boyfriend dumps her and kicks her out of his apartment. Not that she doesn’t have it coming: Gloria is irresponsible and a little too fond of the bottle.

Out of options, Gloria heads back to her hometown, where at least her bad habits don’t have such calamitous consequences. Or so she thinks: at the same time she reconnects with her high school chums, a Godzilla-sized beast creates havoc in Seoul. Don’t wish to spoil the connection between the two. Suffice it to say Gloria gets a primer on self-destructive behaviour and collateral damage.

Never mind the life lessons: Colossal is a lot of fun. Hathaway is a gifted comic actress perhaps too fond of drama (stop encouraging her). Her performance as a party girl dealing with her reckoning is more of a feat than a kaiju leveling Korea. The psychological insight is limited but serviceable, particularly when comparing Sarah with fellow underachiever Oscar (Jason Sudeikis), an angry drunk with a chip on his shoulder.

Spanish director Nacho Vigalondo (Timecrimes) has a knack for making his characters human, even in the face of annihilation. While his English dialogue needs work, Vigalondo has a good handle on comedy and massive things stepping on people. The combination works even better than I expected. ❧