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Entries in Shape of Water/The [2017] (1)


The Shape of Water (2017)

I’m done with cinematic “love letters”. Master filmmakers have every right to create dazzling homages to the movies that inspired them, but I’d rather see that passion funneled into innovation, instead of overlong indulgences that put the “old” in “old fashioned”. Guillermo Del Toro’s The Shape of Water is a technically perfect, very well acted Cold War fairy tale, a mash-up of Creature from the Black Lagoon and Hidden Figures,* starring Hellboy’s Abe Sapien. It also bursts with the same spaghetti-on-the-wall narrative carelessness that sank Pacific Rim. The screenplay's myriad distractions from the paper-thin and dreadfully predictable (for Del Toro fans) central story--such as a black-and-white musical sequence; movie-palace porn; and golly-gee social-justice smugness--are so on-the-nose they’re practically zits. Years from now, I hope someone apes the Del Toro of Pan’s Labyrinth (or, hell, Crimson Peak), and not whoever this un-checked nostalgia whore is.

*Complete with Octavia Spencer!