A soldier is exposed to the radiation of a plutonium bomb, becoming severely burned in the process. Miraculously, his burnt skin heals completely, and even more incredibly, he begins to grow in size. Scientists quickly race to find a cure for his rapid growth before his heart gives out and explode, but the more he grows, the more he loses his grip on his sanity.
Bert I. Gordon graces us with his presence with yet another of his films, The Amazing Colossal Man. Unlike some of his previous works (like the atrocious King Dinosaur), this film is actually not entirely bad. Of course, that's not really saying much, but at least it doesn't make one want to tear his hair out in frustration. No, it'll only likely bore someone to death outside of a few moments of mind-numbing stupidity.
The biggest problem with this film is that Gordon doesn't seem to know exactly what kind of film he wants. The first two-thirds of the film details the titular colossal man as he comes to grips with his size increase, resulting in some poorly written internal drama that tries to be deep yet sounds ridiculous. The final third is about the colossal man going on a rampage across the state of Nevada, finally ending up in Las Vegas. Both of these sections are padded with dull sections of people talking in such a way that isn't natural and is in no way interesting. The overall effect is a film with no direction and no idea what it wants to do.
Much of the problem rests in one of the main characters, a doctor who is trying to find a cure for the colossal man's growth. He has got to be one of the most boring and dull characters I have ever seen on screen. He talks like he has some kind of importance and yet he draws out his sentences as if he knows he has to stretch out the film's run time. Every time he speaks he gives dull exposition that the audience doesn't care about. Some of the same padding problems can be seen in a later scene where the army discusses its strategy to find the colossal man, a scene that is entirely unnecessary and boring as all hell.
Now, if the film were merely boring, that would be okay, but then the film does some really stupid things throughout that can make one slap his head in bewilderment. The most jaw-dropping moment of stupidity comes when a scientist claims that the human heart is made up of just a single cell, a claim that most people would find ludicrous. Some of the special effects are also incredibly bad, such as the hilarious moment when two allegedly shrunken animals in cages are just TV screens of said animals with cage bars placed in front of the screens. And while the green screen effect used to make the colossal man colossal aren't exactly good, it gets really lazy near the end when the man falls off a giant dam and yet is frozen in a crouching position during his fall.
If there's one thing I can't really fault the movie with, it's the female lead, namely the colossal man's fiancée. Unlike some other female characters on MST3K, she actually has some depth in that she's loyal to the man she loves and refuses to leave him despite others pushing for her to do so. True, she does become a cliched damsel in distress at the very end, but in the rest of the film she isn't an annoying airhead looking to jump into the protagonist's pants. Surprisingly a decently written character, to a point, for a film like this.
Outside of her, the only other character who is at all memorable is the colossal man, if only because of his silly overacting. During his growth spurt, he really pours on the cheese as he spouts line after flat line about sin and being a freak. If the movie had any competent direction at all, it could've been an interesting character study, but as it stands it is nothing more than dull conversations one after the other. Every other character, from the scientists to the army personnel, are bland and faceless, as far as characterization is concerned.
Overall, not the worst that Bert I. Gordon has to offer, but still nothing to write home about.
While the last few films were in the between decent and good category, this episode finally breaks that streak and hits a better than good quality. While it hasn't reached the lofty heights of some of the show's classics to this point, this episode was great effort by Joel and the bots with some excellent lines and well-time zingers. Definitely one of the more enjoyable episodes of season three so far.
The colossal man's overacting during a scene where he laughs makes for a decent stinger. However, I think the scene where the scientist claims that the human heart is a single cell should've been the stinger, since nothing in the movie could top that stupidity.