While this is one of the more recent movies as far as giant monster movie goes, it also already slipped into semi-obscurity. Quite odd for a giant monster movie with Anne Hathaway, you’d think that would have turned more heads and be talked about, if nothing else as a curiosity, how many Korean-American monster movies are pitched as “Godzilla meets Lost In Translation”?
The plot follows an unemployed writer (Anna Hathaway), struggling with alcolism and an abusive colleague that want to control her, and how one day she unwittingly manifests a giant monster in Seoul. As it turns out, the monster directly replicates her movements and gestures, and when she realizes it, things get more complicated as her abusive colleague also becomes able to conjure a giant entity out of thin air…
Toho sued the production company due to giant monster resembling Godzilla… which is odd, as the unnamed “Hathaway kaiju” looks nothing like it, more of a giant version of the tree monster seen in From Hell It Came, but Toho is notorious for being complete assholes when Godzilla is involved in any way, as they sued Voltage Pictures well before the movie started filming, just because they dared do use the name of their series and iconic monster for a simple comparison-elevator pitch.
While it was settled withou much consequences, and in the long run didn’t harm the movie, in the spirit of this i will say…..
GODZILLA GODZILLA GODZILLA
Aside Toho’s insane pettiness (beyond just being overprotective), the movie itself plays out as a black comedy, and while it’s not exactly subtle with its themes, with the monster attacks and confrontantions being literal concretizations of the characters problems, but it’s satisfying, the characters are well written, pretty good performances, especially with Hathaway doing a slouchy drunkard writer and Jason Suidekis as a coercive asshole that enjoys having control over people, with some likeable side-characters.
It may seem long at first, and it may take some time for it to fully click, but it’s fully worth waiting for it, as it develops in a surprisingly tense drama capable of using the oddball premise to it’s advantage, without sacrificing much in the way of the monster action and destruction, even if they aren’t the main selling points, important to the plot but themetically on the sidelines. The finale is quite clever and really damn satisfying on both entertaiment, characterization and themes.
Of course there are some quite funny moments, like the monster slapping each other and in a day the clip going viral and being memefied, it’s a funny movie, but i was surprised by how unnerving it can come across in some scenes, again, despite you knowing for a fact how absurd is the reason making these scene work to begin with, the direction really manages to balance drama and comedy pretty well.
As for why the monster appear… you’ll have to find out yourselves, i’m not gonna spoil the experience (since there’s a high probability you never even knew this movie existed), but i can say that it’s a good compromise between the whimsical and the concrete, as it never exactly fully explained the hows and why, but the fine details aren’t that important since it’s all thematically coerent and there’s enough internal logic to it. There’s no need of extra explanation for its own sake.
Also, while the monster scenes serve the drama and comedy and not viceversa, i really don’t have any complain for the monsters effects and designs, they’re pretty damn good.
Original, interesting and quite satisfying take on the formula. Not subtle, but it’s not like it wants to be, and i still highly recommended it regardless. Especially to genre fans that might have missed it. Surprisingly underrated.