Gloria is an out-of-work party girl forced to leave her life in New York City, and move back home. When reports surface that a giant creature is destroying Seoul, she gradually comes to the realization that she is somehow connected to this phenomenon.
This movie opens in the past, two Asian (later revealed to be Korean) people are walking near a park and suddenly they encounter a massive monster. One might call it colossal in size. And then it mysteriously disappears. Jump forward to the present, Gloria (Anne Hathaway), alcoholic extraordinaire, is too much of a dead-beat drunk party girl for her boyfriend Tim (Dan Stevens), so he kicks her out. They clearly didn’t have a healthy relationship, is this because Tim is secretly a powerful psychic / telepath who doesn’t know it because of a psionic parasite that lives in his mind? We don’t know.
With no job and only one place to go, she moves back to her home town and takes up residence in a large unfurnished house. This is supposedly the house her parents own (but don’t live in). It seems clear her parents moved out of that house, since there is nothing in it, so why didn’t they sell the house? There is also the chance that Gloria lied to both the characters and the audience when she said it was her parent’s house, and she is just squatting.
While out on a mission to buy an air mattress, she comes across an old childhood friend, Oscar (Jason Sudeikis). He owns a bar (perfect for an alcoholic) and invites her to hang out. She says out all night, sleeps on a park bench, and staggers “home” the next morning through a playground. Later that day Oscar shows up and brings her a TV, and he offers her a job at the bar. Oh, and he mentions that some alien monster appeared in South Korea at precisely 8:05am that morning (their morning, not South Korea’s morning).
The alien is the talk of town (harvest fest isn’t until next week, so they people have to fill their minds with something). This is good news for Oscar’s bar, which is now packed with people trying to drink their fear away. Gloria stays late again and hangs out with Oscar and his two friends (one of which she seems to be hitting on, despite Oscar’s obvious affection for her). Once again she gets completely wasted, staggers half-way home, sleeps on the park bench. Both times she has slept on this bench the morning bell at the adjacent school has awoken her, and then she wanders through the playground back to the house.
She sleeps until the early afternoon, when Oscar once again arrives and brings her more furniture. And guess what? The monster appeared again at 8:05. It appeared in the same place in South Korea, and walked a straight line through buildings and what not, completely unencumbered, until it disappeared a minute later in a puff of smoke. Gloria watches the footage and starts to get a little suspicious of the monster. This doesn’t stop her from once again getting drunk that night and hanging out with Oscar and his two friends, but the next morning she goes to the playground and experiments. Just as the school bell tolls, she steps into the area and lifts her arm in a deliberate way. She then goes back home to watch the TV to see what the monster did. Turns out she is the monster! This is not particularly shocking, particularly if you had looked at the movie poster before watching the film.
Gloria is pretty broken up about all the destruction (and deaths) she has caused. Who would have guessed that somewhere under 100,000 gallons of alcoholism there was a conscience in there? That night, she confides in Oscar and his friends that she is the monster, she proves it to them the next day by dancing a jig as the monster on live television. I’d like to point out, that at this point, the monster has appeared 4 days in a row at the same time, and yet that area of the city in South Korea has not been evacuated. While she is dancing her jig, Oscar stumbles into the playground and a robot appears next to the monster. But they are the only two who seem to manifest creatures on the other side of the planet.
Gloria feels even worse about the destruction she did, so Oscar then goes to a Korean takeout place and has them write an apology message for him (in Korean), which Gloria then writes into the ground as the monster. Oscar’s friends correctly point out that the Korean takeout guy has to be a little suspicious that the message he was asked to write just happened to be the one the monster wrote. Oscar says he covered his tracks by asking him to write several messages. I’m sure that really threw the guy off.
That night Gloria gets drunk again (surprise) and decides it is time to hook up with Oscar’s young friend. Perhaps this is meant to demonstrate Gloria’s pattern of self-destruction by not pursuing her childhood friend who obviously likes her (Oscar), but that is too deep for this movie, and I’ve decided it is just because Gloria is a jerk and a tramp.
Next morning Gloria wakes up and sees the robot terrorizing South Korea, she races to the playground (with the friend) and confronts Oscar, who suspected but now knows for sure that she chose his friend over him to hook up with. He is both drunk and jealous. Despite what the trailer led me to believe, at no point has this movie been “thrilling, funny, or smart.” This is however the point in the movie where it takes a super dark turn. Oscar has felt inadequate his whole life, and now he has something amazing happening to him. Earlier he commented how Gloria was the most famous girl in the town because she actually got out and did something (f.y.i. he has stalked her his whole life) and how he wished he hadn’t been trapped in the town with the passing of his father and him having to take over the bar. His story doesn’t add up about no one leaving the town, because Gloria’s parents are gone, but whatever. Anyways, Oscar now threatens Gloria that she has to keep working for him and starts treating her like crap, or else he will use the robot to destroy and kill people in South Korea (unless the Koreans wise up and evacuate that area, spoiler alert, they don’t).
Gloria’s old boyfriend Tim appears out of nowhere, and says he is in town for a business deal. He meets up with Gloria at Oscar’s bar, where we see that Gloria not choosing Oscar was the straw that broke the sane man’s mind. Oscar pulls large firework and sets it off in the middle of his bar and burns it down. Tim begs Gloria to leave town with him and to come back to him (Tim isn’t exactly a catch, he seems to have some possessive controlling mannerisms of his own). Oscar tells her she is never allowed to leave, and terrorizes her in her home. They have a fight in the playground and Oscar hits Gloria (the battle is mimicked in South Korea, with the robot beating down the poor defenseless monster).
Throughout the film Gloria has been having a recurring dream of her as a child. It has been obvious from the beginning this is the answer to how Gloria is the monster, but because this movie is neither smart nor thrilling, and also doesn’t believe the audience is smart, we have been forced to wait a long time to see the answer. Flash back to Gloria and Oscar walking to school, carrying their diorama projects. Gloria’s gets swept out of her hands by wind. Oscar races through the brush to save it, Gloria close behind. As they wander through the woods, Gloria trips, when she looks up Oscar has found her diorama, then he smashes it like the little psycho that he is. Gloria gets really angry, and then a lightning bolt comes out of the sky and strikes both her and Oscar. It isn’t clear if Gloria somehow caused this to happen or not. Both kids are down (I would assume dead, but whatever) and in each of their bags is a toy, Gloria’s a monster, Oscar’s, a robot.
Back in the present. Gloria decides the solution is to go to South Korea, and not to return to New York with her jerk ex-boyfriend Tim. So despite not having worked for a year and subsequently having no money, and on the assumption she had her passport with her, and that they were still allowing flights to monster ridden South Korea, she makes it there within 24 hours. Somehow she reached the conclusion that the manifestations worked both ways. So with Oscar in the playground, and her in South Korea, her monster appears in her home town. Even though she can’t actually see through the monsters eyes, somehow she is able to find and pick up Oscar, and then throws him through the air (obviously to his death, or not, because he did survive a lightning bolt as a kid). Gloria wanders into a Korean bar, and then tells her sob story to the barkeep. The end.
To recap, Colossal is colossal in the following ways:
- A colossal misrepresentation by a trailer
- A colossal boring and predictable movie
- A colossal blow to Anne Hathaway’s career
- A colossal waste of time
The monsters themselves and special effects looks decent enough though, and they are even colossal!.