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SPOOKY Critique: The Shape of Water

Posted : 7 months, 3 weeks ago on 25 April 2018 06:01

((CRITIQUE IN SPANISH))
El problema principal de Shape of Water es su tratamiento del tema de amor platónico. La cosa es que la película tiene una aproximación zoofilica, y no es que no crea que una relación romántica entre un humano y un animal, en su defecto antropomórfico, sea imposible de llevar a cabo en una obra de ficción, siendo el ejemplo más prominente la Bella y la Bestia, que trata al elemento más bien como una metáfora, la relación no tiene tintes sexuales y ambos poseen inteligencia humana, pero es que en Shape of Water... coño. Con esto no quiero decir que la relación no sea entendible, la protagonista al no poseer la capacidad de lenguaje encuentra en el pescado este un igual, al mismo tiempo teniendo un conveniente fetiche por el agua. El problema radica en que la película nunca deconstruye su concepto, nunca llega un punto donde un personaje explica o se da cuenta de que lo que está pasando es que la mujer está manipulando al animal para satisfacer sus deseos sexuales/románticos, causa banal al lado de otras como lo podrían ser la alimentación o el cese de dolor (eutanasia). Todo lo contrario, en la escena final la película dice que, en efecto, la disfunción física de la protagonista la pone al mismo nivel que el animal, ignorando la diferencia entre inteligencia, pues la que posee el hombre pez está básicamente al mismo nivel que la de un perro, y física. Ahora algunos me podrían argumentar que de hecho la escena final no es una metáfora sino que literalmente aclara que la protagonista era una mujer-pez, a lo que yo me pregunto, ¿cual es el punto de la película entonces? El tema del romance platónico y el cómo las personas mudas sufren al no poder encontrar un igual dentro de su propia especie pierden sentido porque primero, el romance no es platónico, y segundo, esta mujer ni es humana. También me resulta algo raro como es que engloban a las minorias negras y homosexuales con la zoofílica pero bueno...
En fin que aparte de esto tenemos un montón de elementos que hacen que el guión parezca un puto fan-fiction. La falta de profundización en los efectos secundarios por mantener relaciones sexuales con un puto hombre pez, la escena donde inundan el baño que debe de ser una de las escenas más pelotudas que haya presenciado en mi vida, la reacción amplia y totalmente positiva de una mujer de los putos años 60 ante el hecho de que su amiga se cojió a un animal, la falta de seguridad hasta un punto ridículo en una base de investigación científica y militar secreta en medio de la puta Guerra Fría (si si, dejen a las mujeres de limpieza estar solas con el puto hombre pez que encontramos, que además le sacó un dedo a un guardia, tampoco pongamos cámaras en ese cuarto, ah y dejen que el de seguridad lo maltrate físicamente, no es como si fuese un hallazgo científico super valioso, que independientemente de que nos dé una ventaja a la URSS podría cambiar la línea evolutiva que antes habíamos concebido, oh y en cuanto a la entrada, no pongan más que un puesto de control con un solo guardia), y un antagonista caricaturezco unidimensional (“Un verdadero hombre o se lava las manos antes de hacer su asunto o después, nunca las dos”, o algo así...). También tenemos el hueco de que el agente encubierto ruso revela que fue la protagonista la que robó al hombre-pez, lo cual no tiene sentido, pues le está dando la oportunidad al villano de volver a capturarlo, y no es como que lo hizo para no ser torturado pues iba a morir en un instante de todos modos, y la conveniencia del calendario indicando a donde iban a llevar al bicho.
Y con todo esto no quiero decir que la película es malísima, su punto más positivo es el de la actuación de Sally Hawkins, que simplemente me deja sin palabras, es increíble como la actriz pudo capturar la forma de expresión de las personas mudas de manera tan precisa, y su impotencia a la hora de confrontarse con otras, pero sus fallos son muchos y significativos por lo que no puedo más que considerarla como mala.


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A good movie

Posted : 8 months, 4 weeks ago on 20 March 2018 10:43

Since I have seen all the other movies directed by Guillermo del Toro and since this movie just won the Best Picture Academy Award, obviously, I was really eager to see this flick. Well, as usual with this director, even though I did admire the work done and even though it turned to be quite enjoyable, to be honest, it didn't really blow me away though. Still, you have to give del Toro some credit as he once again has delivered another visually gorgeous picture with some really solid directing and the whole cast gave some strong performances but, eventually, I'm afraid I just didn't care much about this story. Basically, it was a decent romantic fairy-tale, no doubt about it, but what bothered me the most was how predictable the whole thing turned out to be. I mean, you just need to have a glimpse of the poster and you already know what will happen during the whole duration and, if you watch the trailer, it's even worse but that's something that can be said about most trailers. At least, with 'El laberinto del fauno', another del Toro picture I have always struggled to feel some connection with, I was still wondering what would happen during the whole thing. Anyway, to conclude, even though I wasn't really dazzled by the whole thing, it was still pretty good and it is definitely worth a look, especially if you like the genre or if you are interested in Guillermo del Toro's work. 


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Fantastical waves of wonder...

Posted : 9 months, 2 weeks ago on 5 March 2018 05:28

“If I spoke about it - if I did - what would I tell you? I wonder. Would I tell you about the time? It happened a long time ago, it seems. In the last days of a fair prince's reign. Or would I tell you about the place? A small city near the coast, but far from everything else. Or, I don't know... Would I tell you about her? The princess without voice. Or perhaps I would just warn you, about the truth of these facts. And the tale of love and loss. And the monster, who tried to destroy it all.”

 

Brilliant storyteller Guillermo del Toro gives us The Shape of Water, an otherworldly fable set against the backdrop of Cold War era America circa 1962. In the hidden high-security government laboratory where she works, lonely Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is trapped in a life of isolation. Elisa's life is changed forever when she and co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) discover a secret classified experiment. Rounding out the cast are Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Doug Jones.

 

Film making, effects, cinematography:  Top notch effects, especially looking at the watery creature, The Shape of Water boasts marvellous artistry and detailed filming.

Cinematography is what you would expect, smooth and clinical with its panning shots.  A worthy blend of greens, blues and dark ambience which bends the aesthetics into surreal proportions.  Art meets storytelling divided by effectual bliss.


Story, acting, character development:  The actors all do a wonderful job in conveying emotion and an empathetic quality, apart from the main antagonist.  The characters rather than falling into black and white extremes tend to fall into a rather encompassing grey area.  It shows the versatility and at times humour in an otherwise reserved age.  Elisa, being a cleaner with a very poignant routine, falls for an outsider creature.  An attraction and curiosity for the unusual, for a unique entity.  Love that begins with a gradual blooming of discovery as both parties learn more about each other.  Whether the levers are music, in the form of records and eggs, a source of nourishment, that bring out the more creative and sensitive side of a creature, at the beginning, not fully understood.  Toro, reminiscent of Pan’s Labyrinth, makes the audience fall in love with the misfits, the outsiders, the ones who see the world differently and in a more imaginative, caring way.

 

Music, score, sound:  The music by Alexandre Desplat adds another dimension to proceedings, with an enchanting soundtrack which in whimsical waves of happy tidings… Gives us a fairy tale quality to an already magical and imaginative adventure.  It is cheerful, upbeat and very refreshing when it uplifts and bounces along with gleeful abandon.

 

Summary and conclusion:  Overall The Shape of Water, whereas Pan’s Labyrinth had a more tragic tone, this story has a more romantic and cheerful disposition.  Perhaps a more prominent and ruthless villain (Richard seems to be a mild bully rather than a dastardly character we love to hate in my humble opinion…) would have been a welcome addition. Although the strength of the leads, Sally Hawkins and Doug Jones, more than makes up for any transgressions or mildness offered by the other characters revolving around them.  Her friends, Giles and Zelda, also give layered and compassionate believable performances.  They have a radiant and loving quality also that melts away any coldness from the severity of proceedings that comes and goes.  The Shape of Water is a rather unique romance with thrilling strides and a rollercoaster of adventurous satisfaction, which washes over us with fantastical waves.

 

"If I told you about her, what would I say? That they lived happily ever after? I believe they did. That they were in love? That they remained in love? I'm sure that's true. But when I think of her - of Elisa - the only thing that comes to mind is a poem, whispered by someone in love, hundreds of years ago: "Unable to perceive the shape of You, I find You all around me. Your presence fills my eyes with Your love, It humbles my heart, For You are everywhere."



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The Shape of Water review

Posted : 10 months, 1 week ago on 4 February 2018 11:48

A fun fairy tale. Only big issue I had with it was her quickness to embrace the monster for apparently no reason when first learning of it after it attacked someone. Also, this could have been a PG or PG-13 film with some editing and it might have fit better with younger kids who might not care that she'd have no motivation to become friends with the monster. Anyhow, worth it. 7/10


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The Shape of Water

Posted : 10 months, 2 weeks ago on 4 February 2018 06:41

Guillermo del Toro’s entire career has been built on a profound empathy for the monsters and the outsiders, sometimes metaphorically, quite often literally, and that goes to a logical extreme in The Shape of Water. Imagine Creature from the Black Lagoon played out as a Beauty and the Beast-style romance, now add in a large portion of mermaid, both specific and related, mythology and you’ll conjure something up that approximates the final product. It’s a gorgeous and achingly romantic story about two misfits rebelling against the system with the help from their fellow societal discards.

 

Richard Jenkins’ Giles narrates the film, positioning the story we’re about to see as a fairy tale about a mute princess that always belonged to the water before returning to it. From there, a certain sense of unreality pervades as we escape into Sally Hawkins’ Elisa numerous flights of imagination and remove from the wider world. This is a film that asks us to believe that Elisa would fall in love with an amphibious humanoid, breakout into an imagined musical number, and reveal a supernatural/folkloric component to her character that was hidden in plain sight all along.

 

I didn’t just buy into it, I was swept up in the grandiose romance of it all.

 

Elisa’s mute character is the primary character, but she’s surrounded by a unique blend of supporting players, Jenkins’ gay neighbor, Octavia Spencer’s tough co-worker and Michael Stuhlbarg’s secretive doctor. Each of them start off as those quick blurbs before the story eventually expands upon them in ways so quiet and subtle you barely notice that these fringe characters in the Cold War are embracing their agency, demanding to be seen, and pulling off heroic feats that any other film wouldn’t allow them to have. Spencer’s character is a particularly interesting one as she goes from knowing when to be subservient to higher-powers to straight-up defying the embodiment of toxic masculinity and (literally) calling in the cavalry at the last moment.

 

Any other film would focus on Michael Shannon’s military man as the hero, specifically on his journey into the South American jungle to kidnap the creature and bring him back for study. Not here, as he’s the film’s symbol of cruel patriarchy that must be toppled. And so he is by a gay man, a black woman, a mute woman, and an aquatic monster, a veritable assembly of wider society’s castoffs reclaiming a small speck of power and agency. The Shape of Water is powerful in this way, and del Toro was smart to place the film’s story at a distance despite the obvious parallels to modern times.

 

For all of its daring, The Shape of Water is lovingly old-fashioned in its sense of romance. Elisa and the creature develop their connection slowly, and she uses the language of music and dance to begin it. Watch her dancing with a mop in front of his tank in a manner similar to Gene Kelly with a mop in Thousands Cheer or Fred Astaire with a hat rack in Royal Wedding. Later she’s mentally placed them into an MGM musical, Art Deco design, gorgeous gown, and discordant vocals all present and accounted for. Guillermo del Toro allows includes smart callbacks and references to film history throughout his career, and a lover of musicals can spot the references in these sequences.

 

Even better is the magical performance he gets from Doug Jones as the creature. Buried underneath layers of makeup, Jones still manages to radiate a complete emotional life for his creature. Jones has long been a master of physical acting, merely look at any of the myriad of creatures he’s brought to life for del Toro in the past, but his work in The Shape of Water may be the best of his career. It’s a damn shame the Academy gets so screwy and withholding about nominating motion-capture or monster makeup work because Jones gave one of 2017’s most fully lived in and realized performances.

 

The Shape of Water is the sight of a master of his craft creating something so personal and tender, yet so profoundly strange and beautiful at the same time. Every Guillermo del Toro film is a cause for celebration and an excuse for me to get excited about the movies again, but there’s something really touching and poignant going on here. This may be my favorite film of 2017.  



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