The Underappreciated Sci-Fi Comedy On Hulu You Need To Watch

We live in a golden age of quirky, offbeat genre gems, which has created a positive problem. With such a constant overflow of fantasy, sci-fi, horror and what have you, even the most hardcore fan has a hard time keeping up with it all. On the other hand, this allows for some amazing discoveries. When one of these films make it to streaming services and you decide to give it a shot, it's cool to realize that you've stumbled upon a low-key classic. Case in point: Colossal. This incredible (and incredibly underrated) science fiction comedy was released in 2016 and adored by the critics, but bombed at the box office and vanished in the cinematic netherrealm.

The genre-bending movie comes from Nacho Vigalondo, whose previous work includes the Spanish time travel thriller Timecrimes and the clever found footage movie Open Windows. It features some pretty heavy star power and an incredible premise that, in a more just timeline, would have deservedly elevated the director to the mainstream. Fortunately, Colossal is now available for streaming on Hulu. If a movie that combines Godzilla and Lost in Translation with a generous slice of Being John Malkovich is up your alley, do yourself a favor and give it a whirl. 

Colossal is a black comedy with giant monsters

Colossal focuses on Gloria (Anne Hathaway in a role praised by the critics), a jobless writer and full-time drinker who tears through New York nightlife with abandon until her boyfriend, Tim (Dan Stevens), has enough and shows her the door. Gloria is forced to move back home to Maidenhead, New England, and meets her old childhood friend Oscar (Jason Sudeikis). Luckily for her, Oscar even offers Gloria a job at his bar. Less fortunately, this does no favors to her drinking habit, and soon, she finds herself hitting the bottle with Oscar and his friends until the cows come home. 

The movie's first act plays out like a kooky indie rom-com with a dark undertone of alcoholism. However, things take a turn for the decidedly weird when a gigantic Kaiju monster suddenly appears in Seoul, South Korea, and starts wrecking the place ... and Gloria finds out that she's somehow able to control the reptilian giant's movements. We're not going to go into what happens after that, but let us assure you that things aren't going to get any less weird and awesome. 

Colossal takes a novel approach to monster design

Colossal had a significantly smaller budget than movies that feature giant Kaiju monsters usually do, so its makers used some creativity for the special effects. In a 2017 interview with ScreenRant, director Nacho Vigalondo revealed that the creative team didn't use motion capture at all. Instead, he filmed Anne Hathaway's performance with digital cameras from as many angles as he could, and gave the footage to the CGI team, who built the monster. In a strange but effective move, Vigalondo also decided to give them near-total control over the creature's design, with just one important note.  

"I'm not an illustrator or an artist. I wish I was," Vigalondo said. "One clear direction I gave was not giving the monster any feminine attributes at all. [...] I didn't want the monster to be 'female,' Because the monster is an animal. And animals are not female or male. They are male or they put lipstick on and they are female? So I insisted that it shouldn't have any of the Anne Hathaway look or suggestions. It would just be a pure animal."

As anyone who has witnessed the end result of this process can attest, it's amazingly effective. As for the rest of the movie ... well, let's just say that it was Hathaway who reached out to the director, not the other way around. Yep, Colossal is cool enough that the production had an actual Oscar-winning actress knocking at the door.