One of the big contenders this year for most is The Shape of Water, but the trailers were definitely unique. If you haven’t seen the trailer, then you should definitely watch it before reading this review … if you are reading this without seeing the movie. I don’t really have much else to say without going into the review, so how was it?
I would give it 7 “eggs” out of 10.
FOR THE UNINITIATED
A mute janitor in a government facility comes across a special creature found in South America. She develops a bond with it and decides she must save it with the help of her friends before it is too late.
Directed by: Guillermo del Toro
Written by: Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor
Starring: Doug Jones, Sally Hawkins, Octavia Spencer, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Michael Stuhlbarg, David Hewlett, and Nick Searcy
The acting is top notch, so there is not much of a surprise that it is being nominated in almost every category for the Golden Globes. The focus will definitely be on Sally Hawkins’ mute character, and rightfully so but the actors I was most enamored with are the character actors. Octavia Spencer plays her normal role of the supportive friend, Richard Jenkins plays his usual older / unsure father figure, and then there is Michael Shannon. He can play the intimidating law man character like no other, and he knocks it out of the park. We get just enough back story on everyone to get an idea of what everyone expects to happen by the end of the movie and how far they are willing to go to get it.
The story is phenomenal as well. The symbolism might be a little transparent, but at a time when everyone should be more tolerant there is always someone who does not agree … wait am I talking about the time in which the movie was set or current day?
The pacing was very deliberate and is constantly building towards an ending where all of the pieces come together … but it is a little too deliberate. The 2 hour movie felt much longer than it needed to thanks to scenes that dragged on. It is very similar to my issue with Blade Runner 2049 – it is a fantastic movie to watch that needs your constant attention, but does the bare minimum to keep it with a few captivating moments thrown in to convince you to continue watching. That isn’t to say there are any scenes that should be cut, but it could have been tightened up overall.
The Shape of Water is a semi-unique love story between (wo)man and beast. Sure there have been others, but this brings everything down to a much more realistic level as opposed to Beauty and the Beast or King Kong. It also touches on desire and how much it drives people on different levels. In my opinion, it is easier to dedicate the time and attention this movie needs in a theatre. It would also help motivate film makers to continue making more original movies instead of “safe” bets with franchises, sequels, and shared universes. I would say to save this for a matinee unless you have really been looking forward to this one … but if that was the case then you would have already seen it. Either way, this is something worth seeing if you value original stories.
Speaking of inter-species love and Blade Runner 2049, that is my recommendation. My favorite aspect of the movie is the android / artificial intelligence relationship between K and Joi. There is so much to the movie and the universe that the nearly 3 hour movie doesn’t even scratch the surface. I wouldn’t say to go out of your way to watch it, but it is a visual experience for the ages.