Cinematic Releases: The Monster Mash: Colossal (2017) - Reviewed

I must admit, the idea of a kaiju movie starring Anne Hathaway was enough to get me to park my butt in the theater chair to watch Colossal. Not to mention the director, Nacho Vigalondo, directed an excellent time travel film called Timecrimes (2007) that was incredibly inventive and original. Vigalondo has definitely made something creative with Colossal, but unfortunately his execution of the themes presented in the film doesn't live up to the lofty concept.

Gloria (Anne Hathaway) is a woman who is having some life issues. She has a drinking problem which causes her boyfriend Tim (Dan Stevens) to kick her out of his apartment. She heads back to her home town and reconnects with Oscar (Jason Sudeikis) an old childhood friend. When a giant monster randomly attacks Seoul in Korea, Gloria has to figure out her connection to this natural disaster and how to stop it.

The actual idea for this film is fantastic and the first third of the movie plays out in an intriguing way. It's depicted in a light-hearted way at first and it seems like it's building to some sort of character revelation concerning Gloria's alcoholism. As an aside, her issue isn't treated with any sort of depth so it seems almost coincidental to the narrative that she has this flaw. There isn't really an arc that she goes through to find redemption. Hathaway does a great job with the role, but the writing just isn't there to make her three-dimensional and believable. Also, the villain of this film isn't fleshed out enough and their motives seem unfocused and vague. The way they act is completely out of character and jarring, especially compared to the first act of the plot.

As far as the kaiju idea is concerned, while some of the scenes are neat, it never quite gels together in a satisfying way. Everything relies too much on coincidence and there are way too many plot holes. I feel like this movie has a lot plot threads and side-stories that are competing for attention, but none of them are given enough development to mean anything. It's unfortunate because Colossal is very well made film, especially with the special effects. The monster itself looks great and those parts of the film ended up being my favorite. I was really hoping that Vigalondo would find a way to tie the human aspects of the story to the more fantastical elements but it feels like two very different movies glued together. Tonally, it's all over the place.

However, the fact that this is a fresh idea makes this movie worth seeing even if it doesn't work as well as it should. There are times where I could see flashes of brilliance peeking through, but unfortunately it wasn't enough to save the movie overall. 

--Michelle Kisner