Mini-Chinfest! “The Shape of Water”


From Guillermo del Toro, creator of sci-fi horror classics like Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy, and Pacific Rim and executive producer of Puss in Boots and player of Bullboy #2 in something called Bullfighter comes The Shape of Water. Set during the Cold War, it’s the story of a woman (Sally Hawkins) who, while working in a secret government laboratory/fortress, meets an aquatic creature (Doug Jones) that she falls in love with because it really likes eggs, and who doesn’t like eggs? It also stars Michael Shannon, who plays self-righteous, psychotic zealots better than anybody other than Roy Moore.*

And speaking of depraved sex, there are pretty heavy overtones of interspecies nookie here, or at least some interspecies hot-tubbing. Sounds like social commentary to me! Does this make it groundbreaking Oscar-bait? Probably not, unless you thought The Human Centipede was a sensitive treatment of polyamory, and if that’s the case, you should never watch another movie.

With all the water and probably other fluids in this movie, there are some dominant conceits to be on the lookout for. Metaphor alert: the title of the movie appears to be an allusion to water’s shape being defined by that which contains it. Unless it’s a gas or a solid, in which case there’s a lot more latitude. Can water be a plasma? Not sure the molecular bonds would hold together. Anyway, it probably means love is like water, and the fish-man lives in water, and the woman loves the fish-man, and the fish-man loves eggs.

The Shape of Water hits theaters today, and you should watch the trailer first. And you should probably watch Hellboy first, too, since Doug Jones plays a remarkably similar fish-man in that movie and its sequel, which you can skip. 

*Clarification: the Doug Jones named above is not the Doug Jones running against Roy Moore. Rather, it is the Doug Jones who often plays fish in movies. Roy Moore was invoked only to illustrate depravity and does not appear in The Shape of Water as far as we know.

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