This 1950’s-style fan trailer of Guillermo del Toro’s movie The Shape of Water brings back a very old school feel that a lot of people might have been experiencing ever since the trailer first came out. When you look at the movie to be quite honest you see at first the strict resemblance of the fish man to the creature from The Creature from the Black Lagoon. Sure he’s more detailed and the design is a lot more intricate, but in essence it’s about the same thing really. Del Toro didn’t so much dig up a new idea as he took one that had already had it’s time and tweaked it to become something else that people would see as something so visually stunning that they’d agree it was worthy of the praise and awards being heaped upon it.
Making the story wasn’t a bad idea, nor was modeling the creature after a legend that’s already had its time. It’s labeling this movie as completely unique that is kind of a problem for those that can truly call themselves film buffs. In truth it really seems like this movie was taken off of an older, less-developed film and given knew life in which the monster is now the protagonist and not the antagonist. Things have certainly changed in film within the last several decades since we don’t look at monster any longer as soulless creatures that are bent on destruction and the evil that they do. In fact it’s never really been the case of the monsters being at fault, but many upon many people have taken it this way. Monsters are after all alien to the human experience and are meant to be feared in cinema, hence the music that makes them so menacing and the appearance that makes them hard to stomach at times.
But in this film there was a lot more humanity in the creature than there was in many of the humans. This emphasized the cruelty of humanity while showing that the creature simply wanted out and to return to something close to freedom. It also emphasized the romantic side of the story a great deal more than the older film, showing that the woman did in fact care for the creature unlike the original movie made back in the early 1950’s. So it is unique in flipping the story around to focus more on the romance and the budding relationship, but that’s about where the originality ends aside from the design of the creature. It was a stunningly well-done film and did manage to capture the attention of many a person, but it was also one of those films that you could swear you’ve seen somewhere before in a different manner.
Guillermo del Toro is a great storyteller and filmmaker, but there are times when it seems as though might pull a little too much from what’s already been done and doesn’t do enough to disguise it within his movie. Of course a lot comes down to personal preference, so the fact that it was made is impressive enough.