Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 7, 2017)
For an unusual take on the “giant monster” genre, 2017’s Colossal introduces us to Gloria (Anne Hathaway). A New Yorker whose life tends toward too much partying and too little economic stability, she finds herself in a desperate attempt to reboot her life.
To kickstart this, Gloria moves back to her hometown and reconnects with her childhood friend Oscar (Jason Sudeikis). As this occurs, a gigantic monster rampages through South Korea – and Gloria begins to realize she maintains a sort of bizarre connection to those events.
In other words, this isn’t just another Godzilla ripoff - or even a riff on Cloverfield, another “rampaging monster” film. For better or for worse, Colossal attempts to put its own stamp on the genre.
Though in truth, it deals way more with character drama than violent mayhem. The film goes down a quirky path that emphasizes Gloria’s life and her involvement with the monster, so expect more of a “dramedy” with fantasy elements more than anything else.
While that’s not a bad concept, Colossal doesn’t pull off its goals in a satisfying manner. Saddled with a disjointed story, it goes down a smattering of competing paths without much clarity.
Honestly, Colossal feels like a project that gets more credit for its inventive concept than for its execution. It includes maybe 30 minutes of story that it stretches out to almost two hours, way too much time for so little real narrative growth.
Colossal probably would play better if the advertising kept the existence of the monster a secret. Of course, I understand why the studio pushed the sci-fi aspects, but the film might fare better if it gave the viewer a surprise when the creature appears.
Without that minor jolt, Colossal tends to meander, though the cast adds some depth. The film boasts a good group of actors, and they bring out a little spark to the proceedings.
Colossal also manages some decent twists along the way, so even with its flaws, it musters moderate entertainment value. Nonetheless, it lacks consistency and spreads too thin across its running time.