Colossal — 4/10

COLOSSAL (2017, Nacho Vigalondo)

A frustrating waste of an interesting concept. Vigalondo, who didn’t exactly inspire confidence with his incompetent entry (the first short, “A Is For Apocalypse”) in THE ABCs OF DEATH, gives us just enough to be totally let down. It’s female-centric but with only one female character. It’s misandrist by virtue of giving all its awful male characters no believable arcs. And it’s purportedly about returning home and having an alcohol problem, but treats those themes as window dressing.

What about the giant monster terrorizing South Korea, you ask? Good question. I didn’t mention that because it turns out to be somewhat of a red herring, aside from a crowd-pleasing climactic monster sequence. The gimmick is basically an excuse to set up a love triangle between three uninteresting people and pretend there’s an undercurrent of international sci-fi. This is really a cheap stage play using the monster movie stuff as a magic misdirect: the vast majority of the action takes place in three locations (the house, the bar, the park) and Seoul consists of some CG buildings embedded on a YouTube screen and one studio-lot-looking street.

Almost nothing is suggested or revealed with the camera — the plot is moved forward with dialogue, and the fact that so much is communicated through screens (Hathaway lives on her phone and laptop and the giant TV given to her early on) doesn’t indicate to Vigalondo that maybe he should take that as a cue. This needed to either be much funnier, much darker, or much more creative in order to survive the poor characterization, limp pace, and mediocre performances — not really the fault of the talented Hathaway or Dan Stevens, though; these are tough roles to flesh out. Sudeikis on the other hand, okay it’s kind of his fault. He’s not good.

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