Stories generally fit into genres. Horror. Comedy. Family drama. Science-fiction. There can certainly be blending of genres such as the horror-comedy or the action-drama or the sci-fi-western, but generally each genre has its own set of story beats that align with how the story will play out. Differing from those beats too dramatically can result in a fuzzy narrative. “Colossal” starts out as a quasi-romantic comedy, blends into a giant monster movie and finishes as a horror film/women’s empowerment narrative. Needless to say, the pieces don’t mesh well together.
Written and directed by Nacho Vigalondo, the film tells the story of Gloria (Anne Hathaway), a recently laid off party girl forced to leave the city and move back home. Reuniting with old friend Oscar (Jason Sudeikis), she discovers that when she walks into an old playground in the morning, a giant monster appears in Seoul that mimicks her movements. When Oscar joins her, a giant robot appears. Whatever is going on will have major repercussions for their lives.
The film has an interesting enough premise, but doesn’t quite know what to do with it. So you can mimic a giant monster in South Korea? Okay. Now what? The film tries to be several things at once, never quite figuring out how best to utilize its concept. What it settles on in the end, a dramatic standup moment of feminine strength, is bizarre to say the least. It doesn’t match the fun of what we expect the film to be about.
Anne Hathaway is great as she always is, and there are some good cinematic elements to really bring out the gravity of certain situations (screams offscreen, shots of shaking ground before the reveal of the monster), but all in all, the film feels more like a missed opportunity than anything else.