A good monster movie is somewhat hard to come by. The classic reboots like the past 2 Godzillas and King Kong have ranged from terrible to just ok. Pacific Rim was a good example of something fun and at times heartfelt and was presented beautifully with great creatures and robots. Colossal takes a different approach applying a monster movie to a redemption story.
I knew going in what the main part of the movie was about. I think having it be a surprise is best way to see this as the trailers give a lot away. But I feel that lent to a perspective where the real meat of the story could be more carefully examined. Leaning more heavily on relationships and dealing with real world problems with a monster that locally is in no way affecting the everyday lives of the main protagonist was a smart move. Usually there is no time for run of the mill normal relationships unless it is told in flashback or through someone's storytelling because they are running from a monster. However that being said I found that despite their best efforts the struggles that Anne Hathaway as Gloria and Jason Sudekis' Oscar go through while interesting weren't entirely genuine feeling to me. Oscar at least had some kind of motive in a man who seemed to always feel like a big fish in a small pond but could never earn the status of "big fish". Things get interesting when Gloria comes back as a somewhat triumph in his eyes as someone who has moved on to greater things and he becomes jealous of her success. Anne through destructive alcoholic behavior after some minor success as a writer and living in New York has been thrown down to Oscar's level of small town schmuck and as a result has to find a way to make her way back up again.
Dan Stevens is also in this film as an ex-boyfriend to Gloria and is his own kind of abuse to her. That storyline I didn't really connect with in terms of the overall scope of the story and felt a bit too out of place for my liking. Not to say I don't understand what they were going for, verbally abusive boyfriend pushing her to stay in an equally abusive friend from school, i just didn't find it overly compelling.
This is certainly an above average monster movie. It has an interesting premise that pits local problems with global problems and tries to highlight how they are equally destructive. The direction is solid, the cinematography fits the tone of the story well and the editing is at times clever and does a solid job connecting the two storylines. The only issues I have is I don't think the story went far enough with it's characters going a bit light on emotional turmoil and depression. I felt that the imagery could have been a bit more stark and aggressive in the downward spiral of every day lives but instead seems to keep its head floating above the surface to keep things from getting too dark. The drama is there and the acting is strong especially from Sudekis but it doesn't quite sell it for me..
The monster part of the film is pretty great and how it relates to it's central characters. watching a monster attacking a city while people are attacking each other in the same way was pretty compelling to watch and how the monsters came to attacking the cities was equally cool to find out.It is a very original take on the genre and should be praised in it's attempt to do something new and different using tried and true parts. A monster movie that's more about people than monsters is almost always the right way to go and Colossal mostly achieves that objective with a bit of style and some engaging fight sequences.