3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

Beauty and the Beast meets Bioshock.

The Shape of Water is a lighthearted fantasy set in the cold-war era early 60s – easy to enjoy, beautiful to look at, but perhaps a little cheesy to be taken too seriously.

Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is a mute cleaner who has few friends and feels somewhat disconnected from others because of her disability. She works in a government lab alongside Zelda (Octavia Spencer). Her curiosity is sparked when Colonel Strickland (Michael Shannon) brings in a strange sea monster he has captured in the Amazon (Doug Jones).

Sally Hawkins is perfect as Elisa, I can’t imagine any other actress coming across as sweet and genuine as she does. Octavia Spencer provides some comic relief as the boisterous Zelda, in stark contrast to the stereotypical bully Strickland.

It seems like CGI has been used far more sparingly this time, in comparison to director Guillermo del Toro’s last film, Crimson Peak. For example, they seem to have used the real actor in a suit for the monster albeit with some effects realistically overlayed on top. It’s a welcome change.

If you think the monster looks familiar, you’d be right. It looks like he’s been plucked straight out of 1954’s ‘The Creature from The Black Lagoon’, and put on a strict diet and exercise plan. Apparently del Toro wanted the monster to look sexy. The sexual aspect is one thing that didn’t really sit right with me in this film. Decide for yourselves, but I think it was unnecessary.

The Shape of Water premieres in Sweden on 8 November.

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