Jack Brink

Rating: R

Score: 6 out of 10

Anne Hathaway destroying Seoul with her mind? Yeah, we’re in for a weird one.

Colossal was released on April 7, 2017, to a select number a theaters around the country. Those who were lucky enough to have a theater near them playing the film were treated to a solid, if very flawed film that really lets Anne Hathaway shine in its lead role.

In Colossal, alcoholic and all-around-mess Gloria (Anne Hathaway) returns to her hometown from New York after being kicked out by her now ex-boyfriend Tim (Dan Stevens). Once home, she reunites with an old friend Oscar (Jason Sudeikis) and begins working at his bar. During this time, a giant monster begins magically appearing in the city of Seoul, South Korea and destroying it. In a surprising turn of events, it turns out Gloria has somehow been the one conjuring up the destructive monster. Knowing this, Gloria decides to try to clean up her act and prevent any more senseless death.

Colossal’s premise is very make-or-break for a lot of people, so let me say this: Yes, the monsters and destruction are an integral part of the movie, but no, this is not some mindless movie where there is only a plot for the sake of the destruction scenes. It’s the opposite in fact. There are only destruction scenes for the sake of the plot.

As someone who likes movies when they’re a little on the weird side, I have to say I personally really dig mixing an everyday story with a completely high stakes monster movie. It’s a really fun premise that allows for a lot of awesome visuals and some great comedy scenes. Putting normal, everyday people into positions of such a great power is really unique and interesting and a great contrast from so many recent blockbuster movies over the years that feature completely un-relatable gods, mutants, and super-humans. It also is a great device for selling the many themes and emotional notes the movie hits on. Colossal tackles topics such of jealousy, alcoholism, loneliness, and self-loathing, and using out-of-this-world events and ideas is a fantastic way of exhibiting the harmful and destructive effects that these feelings and problems will cause you or the people you care about.

Even still, this admittedly bizarre adventure would be hard to get right without a great lead actress as Gloria, and Anne Hathaway delivers big time here. She’s an absolute power house in this film, bringing extreme likability and emotion to a very complex character. Her Gloria perfectly walks the line between “complete train wreck” and “cool girl next door”, which is exactly what the character needed to be. It’s very telling of Hathaway’s acting ability that despite how many times Gloria screws up, we’re still constantly on her side, cheering her on. Hathaway’s natural charisma and personality shine through massively here and she brings on to the screen a character you won’t forget for a long time. She’s funny, interesting, dangerous, and just a tad bit weird; just like the movie itself.

Outside of Gloria, interesting and well-written characters actually end up being the film’s greatest weakness. The film does a pretty good job with its characters at first, slowly introducing their quirks and personalities and establishing conflicts for multiple minor characters, such as Joel (Austin Stowell), who suffers from severe cowardice and Garth (Tim Blake Nelson), who has a cocaine addiction. However, these side-plots are all thrown out during the third act of the movie and never addressed again, with all of the characters who had these conflicts not getting a proper resolution and basically disappearing. The film takes the focus away from them to focus on its awesome and brilliant ending, but its real shame a few more minute couldn’t have been put on the minor characters and their stories.

I prefer to refrain from spoilers in my reviews so I’m not going to give away what character, but it must also be said that one character’s complete 180 of their personality is horribly jarring and disjointed and could have been executed a lot better, further showing that Colossal has a lot of issues trying write characters who aren’t named Gloria.

This is of course the kind of movie you have to go into with an open mind and where you have to suspend your disbelief, but man, this movie has an absurd amount of logic flaws. Case in point, no matter how many times Seoul gets destroyed, it never really appears to be in any sort of destroyed state, and citizens always regather there the next morning. Add this with the fact that the explanation to why what is happening in the film is incredibly weak and somewhat incoherent, and you do get a rather frustrating movie in some ways.

Colossal could have easily cracked under the weight of its own bizarre, yet incredibly unique premise and poorly written characters, but its smart themes and a stellar performance by Anne Hathaway prevent it from being a colossal mistake of a film, and actually turned it into a pretty good one.