Monday, May 1, 2017
This movie starts out as a personal drama and then turns into a fantasy piece and finally resolves itself, I think, as a sort of horror show battle.
In its early moments, a charming young woman named Gloria is thrown out of her boyfriend's Manhattan apartment because he's had it with her drinking. "I only see you when you're hung over," he says, which is a fair point.
Jobless and without a backup plan, Gloria returns to her hometown and her parents' empty house. She meets up with a school friend who owns a bar and who gives her a job as a waitress. This allows her to drink many Pabst beers each night with the bar owner and his two friends and to wake up hung over and blacked out as usual.
Then Gloria sees a television news report of a Godzilla-like monster terrorizing the population of Seoul, Korea. This naturally distresses her. The implication is that the monster is a metaphor for Gloria's alcoholism, which is disrupting her life and the lives of others.
That's round one.
In round two, Gloria recognizes that she has a lot in common with the Korean monster, which mimics her movements and calls to mind a minor event in her childhood. (How these matters came to be connected is a mystery that the movie does not -- cannot possibly -- explain.)
Gloria does her best to mitigate the damage in Korea and in her own life.
In round three, Gloria takes out after a menacing supersized robot that also is creating havoc in Korea and also has something to do with her remembered childhood incident.
The movie ends with the viewer wondering whether Gloria has changed fundamentally or simply has managed to fix a problem that is to some degree a problem of her own making.
If this sounds weird, well it is. But genre-switching is not unusual for pictures of the moment -- think of "Get Out," the comedy-turned-horror movie earlier this year.
"Colossal" also has a mighty-girl theme, which we have seen recently in "Their Finest," "Beauty and the Beast," "Hidden Figures, "Lala Land" and "Moana," among others.
Put simply, this movie moves from human reality to humans mixing it up with unreality to a sort of horror-battle resolution. The acting is fine, and the ending leaves a basic story question hanging, which is sly and interesting but which I hope does not mean that a sequel is planned.
If you are absolutely averse to fantasy conflict, you shouldn't see "Colossal." But if you are averse to fantasy conflict, you probably stopped going to movies a long time ago.
"Colossal" is a bit odd, yes, but it is definitely watchable.