The relentless advertising campaign around Colossal has been beyond annoying and screams of desperation. I really like Vigalondo’s first film, Timecrimes, but his next two, Extraterrestrial and Open Windows, leave a lot to be desired. But in spite of the nonstop pleading to see the movie, and in spite of the lackluster nature of his recent work, the generally positive buzz around the film made me cautiously optimistic. That just made the disappointment hit even harder.
I really do like the film’s premise. Gloria (Anne Hathaway) has a drinking problem that costs her a job and a boyfriend (Tim, played by Dan Stevens). She returns to her hometown, where she runs into childhood friend Oscar (Jason Sudeikis), who just happens to own a bar and also loves drinking into the wee hours of the morning with friends Joel (Austin Stowell) and Garth (Tim Blake Nelson). On more than one occasion, Gloria finds herself walking home around the same time as kids are walking to school, and then sleeping the day away. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, a monster has been terrorizing Seoul, South Korea. Gloria’s activities and those of the monster are not unrelated.
But my problems with the film are with just about everything else. Especially its characters, its editing, and its conclusion.
The characters in the film are terrible and remind me of why I hate humanity. Gloria is not a charming drunk, and her alcoholism is clearly out of control, and yet she seems to have no problem going cold turkey with the time arrives. Tim is puzzlingly clingy for a supposed ex-boyfriend. And Oscar is a completely illogical, evil, sociopathic asshole.
The movie’s editing is also annoying. That’s especially prominent in the frequent flashbacks that interrupt the story and add virtually nothing to it. It’s obvious from the first one what it’s leading up to, and yet we keep getting them so that the “reveal” near the end isn’t a surprise at all. It seems like it would’ve been more effective as a single segment at the end, but even then it doesn’t actually do much to explain the reason for anything that happens in the movie, and sometimes mystery is better. The film is definitely long enough that it doesn’t need any unnecessary padding, and there’s already another obvious, hokey reveal toward the end that doesn’t make any sense, so we really don’t need any more of that.
If you do see it theatrically, then it’ll be preceded by a short film titled 5 Films about Technology, with very short segments titled “Sunday with the Girls”, “Sunday with Yourself”, “Eww”, “Face Time”, and “Geoffrey”. It’s a fine short, but it’s got nothing to do with Colossal and just makes the whole experience take longer.