Blu-Ray Review – The Shape of Water

It’s sort of unfortunate that The Shape of Water wound up winning an Oscar in a way. Instead of being Guillermo del Toro’s monster film and love story it now is saddled with the nickname of “Grinding Nemo” because of an unfortunate sequence late in the film. The good thing is that for a brief spell “Shape of Water” style dildos sold en masse, so it’s got that going for it too.

Simple premise. An alien has been captured and is being studied by a crazy scientist (Michael Shannon). The alien (Doug Jones) winds up making a bond with a mute janitor (Sally Hawkins) assigned to clean the lab he’s kept in.

The film feels similarly to Crash in 2004, which won an Oscar and then was promptly forgotten. This is a fairly forgettable film that we’ll wonder why it won an Oscar, admittedly in a fairly weak year in film to begin with, because it feels more of the moment like most of the recent run of Oscar films.

The Shape of Water fails a big test; the second viewing. It’s a brilliantly constructed piece, beautifully scored and nearly impossibly difficult to look away from, but after the initial viewing it doesn’t hold up. It’s still a technical marvel but it’s a film like Crash and The Artist that is perfectly fit for a single viewing but isn’t nearly as profound the second time around.

If anything, it gives us one thing: Guillermo del Toro should be handed the reigns to Universal’s “Dark Universe” to do with as he sees fit. He’s managed to take a fairly bizarre love story and make it beautiful; one imagines what he could do with the Wolfman, et al, with a sizable budget. He’s earned that right.

The one great things about the Blu-Ray is that there is an ungodly amount of extras on this. The one thing that’s a must watch is del Toro’s Master Class, which is included and a must watch for any fan or student of film.

20th Century Fox presents . Directed by Guillermo del Toro. Written by del Toro and Vanessa Taylor. Starring Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Sally Hawkins. Run Time: 123 minutes. Rated R. Released on 3.13.18

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