The Shape of Water — 2.5 Gavels 94% Rotten Tomatoes

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For awhile I thought I was back in time watching something from Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone.  For those of you who want to see a woman make love to a fish-man, have at it.  Comparing this to Beauty and the Beast is a real stretch, especially given the gratuitous nudity.  Sallie Hawkins was absolutely amazing in Maudie and I wondered why she was not getting Oscar nods for that role, rather than this one.  It seems that Maudie is listed as a 2016 movie.  As good as Ms. Hawkins is in this movie, she was still much better in Maudie.

It is the height of the Cold War and the space race is about to heat up.  Colonel Strickland finds this creature treated as a god in South America and abuses it all the way to a lab in Baltimore.  Elisa, a mute janitor, makes friends with the “Asset,” and learns that the government plans to dissect it.  A government scientist is actually a spy for the Russians who would also like to get their hands on the Asset.   Will the Asset’s anatomy yield secrets to assist in the space race?

Sally Hawkins is Elisa and is worthy of an Oscar nomination.  Michael Shannon is Strickland and is the same tortured soul he was in Boardwalk Empire.  Richard Jenkins is Giles, a neighbor and friend of Elisa, a nice actor with a role that makes little sense.  Octavia Spencer is Zelda, a co-worker who helps Elisa deal with a not-so-kind world.

It is said that no one but Guillermo del Toro could make this movie.  I am not sure that anyone but Guillermo del Toro would want to make this movie.  Visually, the movie is top-notch, but the story left me cold.  I was never sure what this movie was trying to be.  If this is a Beauty and the Beast type story, why do we need another one?  I will be surprised if this movie appeals to a large audience; perhaps that is why I had to drive all the way to the Esquire Theater to find it.  For a $6.00 Monday, the price was right, but Ferdinand was more fun.  I am looking forward to The Greatest Showman out this week.  Hopefully, I’ll have better news.

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