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Colossal (2016)

Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 8/1/2017

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Review by Mike Long, Posted on 7/19/2017

We've spoken many times in the past about how a great idea can not only carry a movie, but can also make or break a movie. We see so many copy-cat films which employ the same cliched storylines and characters that when something that shows the least bit of inspiration comes along, we must take notice. But, as we've also discussed in previous reviews, a movie is more than just its central idea, it must have many other components to back up that idea. And, when those things are absent, we are simply left with a concept. That scenario perfectly describes the problems with Colossal.

Gloria (Anne Hathaway) has reached rock-bottom. Her boyfriend, Tim (Dan Stevens), has grown tired of her partying lifestyle, where she staggers in drunk at all hours of the night, and has kicked her out of his apartment. Having no place to live and no job, she is forced to move back to her hometown. There, she moves into her parent's old house, which has no furniture. On her first day back in town, she runs into Oscar (Jason Sudeikis), a friend from childhood. They visit the bar which he owns, and he offers her a job. Now armed with a job and an air-mattress, things seem to be looking up for Gloria. This is when the news hits that a giant monster has attacked Seoul, South Korea. Gloria finds this news shocking, but she's even more shocked to learn that she and the creature may have a psychic connection.

Colossal comes from Spanish Writer/Director Nacho Vigalondo, a man who doesn't like to dwell on details. His 2007 film Timecrimes dealt with time travel, but didn't explain the science or motivation behind the experiments. For his 2011 entry, Extraterrestrial, Vigalondo reportedly didnít explain why the UFO came to Earth because he himself did not know. We get a similar attitude in Colossal. As the film progresses, we are given some slight hints as to what is going on and how Gloria and the monster in Korea are connected, but there is no true explanation here. Similarly, the true root of Oscarís problems and behaviors are not explored. Is that a problem? In short, yes. Colossal tosses us a...well...colossal premise and then does very, very little to back it up.

When we look at the story of Colossal, we realize that this is two movies in one -- neither of which work. On the surface, we have the story of Gloria, a woman who has been forced to admit defeat and flee the big city and return to the small town from whence she came. There, she runs into an old friend and they reminisce about the past. We have seen this story done over and over again in movies and not only does Vigalondo not add anything new to this premise, he goes in the opposite direction by denying us details. Where are Gloriaís parents? Why does Oscar has some dark feelings towards Gloria? Is it because he was spurned in the past? If so, we are never shown this. We do get an all-important flashback, which is slowly teased throughout the movie, but it creates more questions than answers. The other part of the movie is the monster story and while it is cool at first glance, it becomes even more baffling as time goes on. Even is one decides to read the film as a treatise on the power of emotions, it still falls very short.

While Vigalondo has made a handful of feature films, he has also continued to make shorts throughout his career. Perhaps Colossal would have worked better as a short. Again, the movie presents a very clever idea, but we only get about 10 minutes worth of story. Unfortunately, the movie is 110-minutes long. (Something similar happened with Timecrimes, as it wore out its welcome.) If this had been a down & dirty short, we would have most likely forgiven the story for its vagueness. However, the feature-length running time allows too much of an opportunity for the audience to question what the hell is going on. Vigalondo delivers some nice visuals here and the cast seems game, but the frustratingly cagey script ensures that most viewers will walk away feelings short-changed and longing to see a movie which either offered more details or a shorter running time.

Colossal feels very small on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Universal Studios Home Entertainment. The film is letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 35 Mbps. The image is very sharp and clear, showing no noticeable grain and no defects from the source materials. The colors look good, and the image is never overly dark or bright, which is good, as there are several nighttime scenes. The level of detail is good and the depth works well, most notably in the Seoul scenes. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 3.6 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The monster attack sequences provide palpable subwoofer effects and plentiful surround sound effects, some of which are quite detailed. Outside of those scenes, Colossal is a somewhat quiet film, but we do get nice stereo separation.

The lone extra on the Colossal Blu-ray Disc is a DELETED SCENE which runs about 4 minutes. It contains most of the flashback which we see in the movie, but still offers no concrete answers.

Review Copyright 2017 by Mike Long