The first half of this film is as fun as they come. It’s a creative concept, an interesting little mystery, and a truly funny psychological comedy all rolled up into one, and watching it play out was easily one of my most enjoyable moviegoing experiences thus far in 2017. However, the second half is a fairly large letdown, and the story goes completely off the rails figuring out what it wants to say and be. I think Vigalondo understands what it means to embrace a big, dumb, and entertaining premise, but he also reaches for something here that he can’t quite grasp. Most problematically, the entire metaphor that the film rests upon isn’t very strong, and Vigalondo’s attempt to tap into the human experience is therefore weakened. There’s a strange mix of off-kilter humor, character drama, and half-hearted explanations in this one, and while it’s fine that there isn’t a singular vision that emerges here, it does feel like the director struck gold and then lost it.
Anne Hathaway is at least very committed to this role, and she does an excellent job of delving into her character’s flaws and struggles as the film progresses. Sudeikis is pretty good in the first half, but try as he might, he can’t escape the trap that the screenplay sets for him in the second half. It’s just not a very good shift for the character or for the story as a whole–I also don’t think he’s the type of actor to sell this role–and there are several head-scratcher scenes that do not in fact involve the giant monsters. The ending definitely has some heart, but when all is said and done, this is a very good half of a film.