The Shape of Water (2017)

The Shape of Water (2017) movie poster

director Guillermo del Toro
viewed: 12/10/2017 at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema – New Mission, SF, CA

Though it’s not post-modern in most ways, Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water is a revisionist horror fantasy.

It’s the movie in which the monster gets the girl.

Del Toro mashes up and masticates a lot of different things here, including the 1960’s aesthetics and period shorthand of TV’s Mad Men, all while simmering in the sauce of lush designs. With its initial tone of fairy tale, I first thought that the world of The Shape of Water was indeed a fantasy, like one of Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro. But as the film wears on, this is very much meant to be the Maryland of the 1960’s.

The creature, beautifully designed indeed, is the romantic hero here. How is it so different than the Abe Sapien of del Toro’s Hellboy films? Inhabited by Doug Jones, as in the other films, the creature is really only a shade away.  I find this somewhat perplexing.

The film, however, isn’t some miraculous fantasy love story. Well, it is and it isn’t. The writing is less than great. After watching del Toro’s television show The Strain (a bit), the cracks and lacks in quality are more acceptable in pulpier genre junk than vaguely arthouse dreamwork. As inverted as the concept is, the execution is almost pedestrian outside of the design work.

One Reply to “The Shape of Water (2017)”

  1. So glad you didn’t like it so much, Ken. We just watched it the other day and was blown away with how much it sucked considering the treatment of it at the Academy Awards. Lush scenery, costumes and props do not make a great movie. Continuity flaw:
    When he goes to look at the new Cadillacs in the showroom it says 1962 everywhere but in several street scenes there are ’63 Fords.
    If there were 62 Caddys in the showrooms (they came out in September ’61) there were no 63 Fords out on the street yet.
    ps. we loved Murder on the Orient Express w/Johnny Depp.

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