5/10 What a true disappointment this film was. I am sure arthouse fans and Guillermo del Toro fans will blindly praise it no matter what while giving it a free pass but to ignore the glaring flaws would be a big mistake. The more of his films that I watch the more I think that although he is a master of practical creature effects, production design and being a beautiful visionary, the more I feel he is overrated and becoming more of style over substance. “The Shape of Water” continues this trend. From a production stand point, this film is flawless. The production design both recreates its time period very well and is overflowing with imagination and visual flair. The editing is artistically done and often seamless. In particular, Alexandre Desplat’s score for the film paired with the soundtrack really does a masterful job of setting the tone and atmosphere of the world this film takes place in. Desplat is a great composter and his score here really stands out and is memorable. The acting (for the most part) is also very well done. Sally Hawkins, who is mute in the film, does such an incredible job of conveying a wide variety of emotions by without muttering a word. Her face and body language more than adequately do the job of conveying everything she wants conveyed. Richard Jenkins also continues to do fine work and del Toro’s go to guy Doug Jones totally becomes his character and the practical effects on the creature would make Rick Baker proud. On the more negative side regarding the cast, Octavia Spencer’s role is only there for laughs (which mostly fall flat) and to translate for our mute protagonist. You could have taken her character out and the vast majority of the story would be unchanged. Michael Shannon, whom is a great actor is also playing the same screaming, villain role that we have seen him play countless other times (“99 Homes”, “Man of Steel”, “Loving”) and it feels like he is starting to get type cast a bit. Before I get to the film’s two biggest, glaring problems, I will point out that the political messages in the film aren’t a huge problem but they have no subtlety and serve as more of a distraction than a benefit. As for the biggest problems, first off is the relationship between Sally Hawkins and the creature in the film. If they would have kept their relationship a loving, friendly one where they connect over their inability to speak and how they are different from everyone else in society, I would have loved it. Instead, they take their relationship to a sexual, romantic one that is extremely creepy and comes off as a bestiality/hentai. In its attempt to be sweet, the film turns gross and creepy and this could have easily been avoided. The next huge problem is how stupid these characters are in terms of trying to hide the creature. Characters talk openly in their work place elevator in front of listening coworkers while an investigation is being conducted, characters leave drawings of the creature and Sally Hawkins all around the house so if anyone were to come by they could easily see them, characters flood their apartment bathroom which does nothing but bring a ton of attention to themselves and would have caused so much water damage that they would have been evicted. That bathroom scene would have worked great as a fantasty/dream sequence, but in making an impossible scene practical was very stupid and took me out of the film. There are also some dumb coincidences (apparently if someone has a note saying they are at “the docks”, there must be only one dock in the city so anyone tracking them knows exactly where to go) and character motivations in the beginning of the film seem rushed and unclear. There is a beautiful fantasy/dream sequence that was my favorite part of the movie and the theme of water is used expertly. Unfortunately, for all of the individual great aspects or individual scenes, there are far too many problems overall and I can already see this film becoming one of the most overrated of the year.
#H2No / #FishYouWereHere / #TheHelp2 / #Aquaman / #Codzilla / #FunWithDickAndRain