The Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro, 2017)

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Big Ben
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Re: Trailers for Upcoming Films

#2 Post by Big Ben » Wed Jul 19, 2017 11:12 pm

Looks like a del Toro film all right. I'll certainly check it out if it comes to the forgotten hell that is Great Falls.

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Re: Trailers for Upcoming Films

#3 Post by John Shade » Thu Jul 20, 2017 8:50 pm

Feel like it kind of looks like a Gilliam or Jeunet film, with the del Toro touch of the Merman like Hellboy cage and the inevitable please don't kill Merman showdown. Anway, I like his films so this isn't entirely a complaint.

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Re: The Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro, 2017)

#4 Post by colinr0380 » Sat Jul 22, 2017 8:15 am

That looks really interesting, especially the period setting for a bit of social commentary (and a potential Area 51 link?). It would also be interesting to see whether this monster-relationship/infatuation/romance/liberation with an adult in the role rather than a child stays more positive about the whole situation, or whether a bit of ambivalence about helping a creation escape its lab might come into play, as the end of that trailer implies?

And this is silly but that trailer also reminded me a bit of that Matthew Broderick starring film Project X!

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Re: The Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro, 2017)

#5 Post by domino harvey » Thu Aug 31, 2017 4:52 pm

This killed with critics and audiences, looks to be an early favorite for a ton of Oscars, especially for Hawkins and Del Toro

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Re: The Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro, 2017)

#6 Post by Big Ben » Thu Aug 31, 2017 5:06 pm

I'm absolutely delighted to hear it's getting rave reviews. Hopefully it makes it's way to Montana.

del Toro released a statement alongside the film that I'll share here:
Guillermo del Toro wrote:Fairy tales were born in times of trouble, in complicated times when hope felt lost. I made the Shape of Water as an antidote to cynicism. For it seems to me that when we speak of love, when we believe in love, we do so in a hopeless way. We fear looking naive and even disingenuous. But Love is real, absolutely real and, like water, it is the most gentle and most powerful force in the Universe. It is free and formless until it pours into it's recipient, until we let it in. Our eyes are blind. But our soul is not. It recognizes love in whatever shape it comes to us.

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Re: The Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro, 2017)

#7 Post by domino harvey » Thu Aug 31, 2017 5:09 pm

I would love nothing more than if Hawkins won Best Actress over Winslet for Wonder Wheel in retribution for being snubbed in 2008 so Winslet could be campaigned in lead instead of supporting for her "owed" Oscar

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Re: The Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro, 2017)

#8 Post by rawlinson » Thu Aug 31, 2017 7:59 pm

Wasn't Winslet campaigned in supporting for The Reader and lead for Revolutionary Road but the Academy went their own way? She was definitely supporting for the Golden Globes and SAG.

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Re: Festival Circuit 2017

#9 Post by Cremildo » Sat Sep 09, 2017 2:34 pm


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hearthesilence
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Re: The Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro, 2017)

#10 Post by hearthesilence » Tue Nov 07, 2017 1:19 pm

If you're in NYC Thanksgiving weekend, del Toro will be at MoMA that Sunday to present a sneak preview of this, followed by a Q&A.

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Re: The Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro, 2017)

#11 Post by hearthesilence » Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:26 pm

FYI de Toro and part of the cast will be at a Friday and Saturday screening this weekend at the AMC Lincoln Square.

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Re: The Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro, 2017)

#12 Post by manicsounds » Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:13 am

Saw this a few weeks ago and it truly is an homage to everything in cinema, not just science fiction and horror. Silent film, film noir, golden age epics, musicals, I thought it was quite an experience.

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Re: The Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro, 2017)

#13 Post by hearthesilence » Sun Dec 03, 2017 5:17 pm

Saw this yesterday. A friend felt the story elements were too familiar. They are familiar but the context reinvigorated them and the acting and production design were not surprisingly outstanding.

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Re: The Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro, 2017)

#14 Post by Brian C » Sun Dec 10, 2017 1:44 pm

I enjoyed this but I'm going back and forth over how much. I appreciated that del Toro isn't really repeating himself here; the trailer looked like Pan's Labyrinth redux, with the plucky and misunderstood heroine overwhelmed by dark forces beyond her control. And I guess it is that, to a large extent, but the tone is completely different. It's lighter, and more comic, and altogether more of a melding of golden-era melodrama and monster movies than it is a dark fairy tale, despite the unnecessary fairy tale framing. It's often surprising and occasionally bold and just overall a lot of fun.

But, I'm not sure it all comes completely together, which I'm sad to attribute mostly to Michael Shannon's character. He seems off to me in some way, and I think I'm inclined to blame both the writing and performance. He's sometimes self-parodic, which undercuts his menace. Yet this is an extremely violent character, and the violence here seems ... well, it's hard to explain, but I guess the word I'd use is "inorganic". It feels like del Toro forcing it on the movie instead of a natural extension of this particular character. I've really loved Shannon in most of what I've seen of him, but after Man of Steel and this, he seems in danger of treading into 1990s-era Dennis Hopper territory, where just the fact that he's playing a villain is a distraction on its own. But it's not all his fault, because the character seems written as a caricature on the straight-laced 1950s reactionary-military type and not really as a person. At any rate, I was surprised that the movie is least effective during his scenes (aside from Nick Searcy's "decency" speech, which I loved, and which points the movie towards a better, more complicated take on Shannon's character than what we actually get).

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Re: The Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro, 2017)

#15 Post by Feiereisel » Mon Dec 11, 2017 12:10 am

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Is Strickland supposed to be conventionally terrifying or menacing, though? The parodic register is well-spotted; Shannon’s overplaying seems designed to highlight how small his character is. To me he’s a petty creep playing at being a powerful one, not quite a caricature but certainly not a nuanced or charismatic villain. He may enter with bravado and swagger, but it’s pointedly dismantled over the course of the film. Would a terrifying villain be so easily smooth-talked into a teal car?

There's a childishness to it, too, as evidenced by things like his need to prove himself to General Hoyt, his teenage-meaningless profanity, and his self-professed love of candy.

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Re: The Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro, 2017)

#16 Post by mfunk9786 » Tue Dec 26, 2017 12:47 pm

This was easily the worst film I've seen this year, with del Toro totally aping the art style of Ken Levine's BioShock (yes, video games are art that can be ripped off wholesale for prestige films now, take that Roger Ebert!) in order to bludgeon the viewer over the head with one of the most icky, sleazy plots in recent memory. There are so many brilliant character actors ruined here by poor writing and half baked ideas (none moreso than Richard Jenkins, playing some kind of a riff on William H. Macy in Magnolia in such a repulsive way that I don't even want to think about him more than I have to in order to articulate my thoughts further); and when you're wasting performers like Octavia Spencer and Michael Shannon, you are doing something wrong. Sally Hawkins does everything she can with material that has far less respect for her character than it likes to think it does
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(hey, maybe the mute will feel so alienated from the rest of humanity that she'll want to fuck the fish!)
but there's no rescuing this paint-by-numbers art deco fairytale Tim Burton-ass drudgery no matter who the lead is. Fuck this movie. Everyone else can have it.

P.S. Where's Troy McClure? This is the part he was born to play, baby!

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Re: The Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro, 2017)

#17 Post by StevenJ0001 » Tue Dec 26, 2017 2:35 pm

mfunk9786 wrote:...with del Toro totally aping the art style of Ken Levine's BioShock
I'm glad you brought that up--I thought I may have been alone in making that connection.

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Re: The Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro, 2017)

#18 Post by kcota17 » Tue Dec 26, 2017 7:56 pm

One of the biggest issues for me was the musical scene. The film does such a great job until then of portraying Hawkins as a well-rounded mute character who is completely not burdened by her disability. However, the musical scene creates a hierarchy that implies Hawkins being able to sing to the monster would be more ideal for her.

Singing in sign is a real thing, I don’t see why he couldn’t have just showed her signing the song and dancing with the monster instead. It would’ve be more of a transcendent homage towards classic cinema instead of just coming off as a cutesy fare for the audience.

Also, it was just kind of a silly image in itself. For an already absurd concept, an image as silly as that makes it harder to take seriously and almost acts as self parody. Imagine in HER if there was a scene with Joaquin Phoenix slow dancing with a giant computer...

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Re: The Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro, 2017)

#19 Post by hearthesilence » Tue Dec 26, 2017 8:17 pm

mfunk9786 wrote:
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(hey, maybe the mute will feel so alienated from the rest of humanity that she'll want to fuck the fish!)
Jesus, and I thought I was cynical. This was not my reaction to that part of the film at all. I thought she was easily the most relatable character, and considering how much more empathetic she was compared to most, if not everyone else in the story, I never felt the least bit of contempt for her from any of the filmmakers at any point.
kcota17 wrote:One of the biggest issues for me was the musical scene. The film does such a great job until then of portraying Hawkins as a well-rounded mute character who is completely not burdened by her disability. However, the musical scene creates a hierarchy that implies Hawkins being able to sing to the monster would be more ideal for her.

Also, it was just kind of a silly image in itself. For an already absurd concept, an image as silly as that makes it harder to take seriously and almost acts as self parody. Imagine in HER if there was a scene with Joaquin Phoenix slow dancing with a giant computer...
The scene was a gamble, enough that I didn't expect it to work for everyone. (It toed the line for me, but it worked.) However, I don't think it undermines how they've been portraying her disability because the idea of singing is not meant to be taken so literally. It's not like she would ever wish she can verbalize (or sing) what she's feeling. To me, it came out of the way you'd define one's imagination (and I guess feelings) as being so completely different to precise verbal communication - it's a very different sensation and thought process altogether, and singing seemed to be a charming (even goofy) cinematic way of putting across an abstract concept. Regardless, I thought the transition into that was beautifully done.

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Re: The Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro, 2017)

#20 Post by John Shade » Tue Dec 26, 2017 11:20 pm

Ditto mfunk's reaction. Yet another film from recent years where I feel like there's some critical conspiracy that I'm just not part of. Going to be kind of harsh here, but I wonder if del Toro is so highly regarded simply because he's a really likable guy and is always great for a film conversation. He has so much enthusiasm, but all of his work does seem something like Burton or Gilliam b sides, unless it's a monster fetish thing--which this takes to new levels obviously.

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Re: The Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro, 2017)

#21 Post by knives » Tue Dec 26, 2017 11:58 pm

I suspect it's also based on his Spanish language films which have a very different edge from his friendly American stuff.

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Re: The Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro, 2017)

#22 Post by matrixschmatrix » Wed Dec 27, 2017 12:44 am

I liked this a fair amount- I would say rather than Bioshock, it reminded me of Jeunet, Amelie in particular- but I think your reaction to it, and to how fair or ugly it is, is going to depend a lot on basically how extreme an act her getting together with the fishman is.
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If you read it as, essentially, beastiality, it gives everything else in the movie a really ugly current- implicitly, it means that her disability has dehumanized her, and that she is interested in acting outside of humanity because she's been so rejected by them.

I don't think that's really a fair read, though- while the world at large is brutal, Hawkins' actual circle of friends is very tight, brought together by their alterity- which again feels Jeunet-esque. I think Del Toro intends the fishman more to be sort of a feral-child level of outsider, remarkable as much for his loneliness and cultural difference as for his physical difference, which in turn means that what's being done to him is that much more intolerable (an act of casual racial murder, one almost one of genocide) and that Jenkins' attraction to him is in seeing him as one of them, one of the core circle of people we spend time with. For me, that mostly works- though I think the Octavia Spencer character feels a bit too stock, in that she's the one who never asks Jenkins for anything, and is just bottomlessly good and giving with no real hesitation. It's not a total stereotype- I think that getting a glimpse of her home life and her showing up at the end of the movie (which makes her feel like a more central character) both work against that- but it's maybe a bit thin.

Also, while I loved Michael Stuhlbarg, the resolution of the espionage subplot makes no sense- if they think he's flipped, why execute him instead of extracting and interrogating him? Why is he suspicious of his handlers in one scene and trusting of them the next? Why does he forget that he's being watched? It's an odd beat, for a movie that otherwise handled the presence of a Russian spy in a compellingly different way- when's the last time that archetype was heroic?
Last edited by matrixschmatrix on Wed Dec 27, 2017 4:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro, 2017)

#23 Post by CSM126 » Wed Dec 27, 2017 6:42 am

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I suppose, technically, it is beastiality, but the style and tone of the film are so firmly rooted in fairy tale form that I took it as more of a reverse “frog and the princess”, where the princess joins her prince by becoming a creature herself (made obvious in the last shot where her old slashed-throat scars that muted her in the first place become gills; her greatest handicap, which had isolated her from most of humanity becoming the one special thing she needs to be with the one person who loves and appreciates her the most. I thought that was a lovely little twist - I had spent most of the run time expecting the film to go the obvious route and end with the fishman restoring her voice as he died.
I can’t speak to the Bioshock connection because I’ve never played those games, but I did love the art direction of this movie. The exaggerated nature of it all, I thought, played beautifully into the fairy tale leanings of the story. I also really appreciated the fishman being a rubber suit monster with minimal CGI (eyes and gill flaps). It beats the he’ll out of staring at an all-CGI mess.

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Re: The Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro, 2017)

#24 Post by John Shade » Wed Dec 27, 2017 3:32 pm

Matrix, I appreciate your post and can see how, based on what you're saying, I read the film in a certain way. It's still a hard film for me to like, and I'd probably just prefer a new Jeunet film. Glad to see a positive for me out of this is that I'm not the only one on this board who likes Jeunet's work (I've seen him dissed here and there).

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Re: The Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro, 2017)

#25 Post by Black Hat » Wed Dec 27, 2017 4:26 pm

To me it seemed del Toro was trying to make an adult fairy tale or have a fairy tale set in the adult world. It's ambitious in that way, but I can see why it wouldn't work for people — does a film like this really need to have her masturbating? We understand she feels alone and isolated. That being said, overall I'm ambivalent towards it. My biggest issue was the main characters being too thin, both more archetype than a real person. Regardless of convention or contrivances if the characters struck a deeper chord I think people would be able to buy in more. What also hurt it is that Jenkins, Spencer & Stuhblarg seemed to be in a different, far more interesting and fun movie than Hawkins & Shannon who as I've written before has arrived at the cashing in checks portion of his career. The monster strangely enough would oscillate between the two films with his best moments coming without Hawkins & Shannon. The other thing the film could have used was more humor, it's a film that wants you to feel good but is lacking in light moments and lighter scenes like the musical sequence don't work that well.

As far as the critics go, I think they like del Toro because he works in a very different space than everyone else in Hollywood and is unashamed to try things or show his influences. Critics often times place too much of emphasis on effort rather than quality of execution and especially love it when a filmmaker shows he's a film fan himself, often using his work to deconstruct other people's films — Brian Depalma for example has made a career out of it. That's not a knock by the way, I think Depalma & de Toro are very intelligent filmmakers, but if you're not buying into what they're doing and aren't living on their same wavelength it's impossible to fully appreciate their work.

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