It’s Guillermo Del Toro and he’s back to doing weird monster looking creatures. The Shape Of Water took out the Oscar’s most coveted prize but is it as good as it seems?
The short answer to that question is: no. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a nice film but a nice film is where we will leave the compliments at. What the film does well is through its direction and production design. But if you were to give it merit on its story, well, there’s a lot left wanting.
For those completely unaware by now, the plot follows the relationship between a deaf-mute cleaner (Sally Hawkins), with um a…I guess a large man-fish? It’s set during the 1960’s in a secret underground research facility, which also has some Russian Cold War agents thrown in the mix. You know. Just because they can.
Whilst this film is often marketed and perhaps even seen as a staple for the idea “love has no boundaries”; this doesn’t stop it from being a typically bad romantic flick. More importantly, it’s too difficult to skip over some of the basic logistics of their relationship. Which at times, I’m willing to neglect for the sake of the story. But for the most part, I cannot help but think this is just dumb.
Often there are moments or “things” that happen between our beloved lovers, that would not make any logical sense in real life. I won’t go into details in case you haven’t seen the film yet. But granted you should be left scratching your head sometimes, at moments you know wouldn’t work if it were to have any roots in the real world.
My other gripe with the film is with the sub-plot of our undercover agents at the facility, which serves only a small purpose towards the end of the film. But for the rest of the time, are just a complete waste of space. It, therefore, begs the question: was it necessary to build them up as an entire side story, just to have a small payoff at the end? This film could have easily been a half an hour shorter because of it. And at the end of the day; does it really change the fact that is this just a basic love story, filled with one swampy like fish?
If you can get past these narrative-driven issues, you’ll find the Shape of Water pleasant. More than likely (at least), on a technical level, since Guillermo Del Toro’s selection of shots were very fitting and perfectly executed for every style of the scene. Which is also complimented on a visual scale through the costume and production design; even for the creature itself. However, if anyone says that that particular thing is an original monster creation, are we not forgetting the almost exact same version from Del Toro’s past films of Abe Sapien in the Hellboy series? Felt like that point needed to be raised is all.
For those that enjoy classical romantic tales, with a twist of diversity and a spice of horror: The Shape of Water is for you. Though my ranking reflects an above average score, I wouldn’t necessarily be jumping out of my couch to see it. Indeed, it took me awhile to get around to watching it and after doing so, I probably would have been happier if I used that time to watch something else. In these ways, I’ll suggest to skip it but if you do go to see it; I also recommend lowering your expectations.