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Guillermo del Toro
Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Octavia Spencer, Richard Jenkins
Writing Credits:
Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor

A mother personally challenges the local authorities to solve her daughter's murder when they fail to catch the culprit.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$3,000,490 on 726 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Descriptive Audio 5.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
French Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 123 min.
Price: $34.99
Release Date: 3/13/2018

• “A Fairy Tale for Troubled Time” Featurettes
• 2 “Anatomy of a Scene” Featurettes
• “Shaping the Waves” Featurette
• “Guillermo del Toro’s Master Class” Featurette
• Trailer and Previews
• DVD Copy


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


The Shape of Water [Blu-Ray] (2017)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 15, 2018)

Not many movies in the fantasy genre win Oscar’s Best Picture, but 2017’s The Shape of Water managed that feat. From noted filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, Shape takes us to Baltimore circa 1962.

Mute Elisa Esposito (Sally Hawkins) works as a cleaner at a secret government laboratory and leads a fairly solitary existence. One day authorities bring in a strange water creature (Doug Jones) that they plan to research.

As she works in this fish-man’s area, Elisa bonds with him. She wants to help him escape, a pursuit made more urgent by agent Richard Strickland’s (Michael Shannon) desire to kill and dissect the creature.

Shape leaves me torn. On one hand, I feel happy that del Toro – a gifted filmmaker – got his due, and I love the fact that a movie essentially about the Creature from the Black Lagoon won the big Oscars.

On the other hand, I admit Shape just doesn’t do a lot for me. I respect del Toro but don’t think he knocked it out of the park with this one.

Some of my disenchantment stems from the movie’s derivative nature. As implied, it doesn’t take much to see the film’s “Amphibian Man” as a cousin to the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and the story comes with overt reminders of other efforts. ET the Extra-Terrestrial stands high on that list, as Shape boasts mainly moments that remind me of the Spielberg classic.

The similarities don’t end with ET, though. Some have pointed out undeniable connections to Splash, and there’s a link to various versions of Beauty and the Beast as well. Heck, even the Disney version gets play, as Strickland comes across like a smarter Gaston.

All these factors leave Shape as a less than original tale, albeit one that manages a few twists, largely due to del Toro’s stylistic excellence. A filmmaker who plans out his work in immaculate detail, del Toro brings a terrific sense of visual flair and depth to the proceedings, and he crafts a rich, dense world.

But I feel del Toro may overthink his work, as I find Shape can feel a little sterile and clinical. The characters seem to be archetypes more than real people, although the actors do well to add layers.

Indeed, Shape comes with a very good set of actors, three of whom – Hawkins, Richard Jenkins and Octavia Spencer – got Oscar nominations for their work. Across the board, the movie benefits from the presence of so much talent, and they give their roles extra range.

Nonetheless, I still find the characters to lack real personality beyond basics, and I don’t think Shape manages a lot of true emotion. To be sure, del Toro attempts passion and feeling, but I don’t find these elements to become a prominent factor in the film.

That means I fail to invest in the main character arc via the Elisa/Amphibian Man relationship. Are we supposed to care about their connection and his fate? Sure.

Do I? Not really. I invest in Amphibian Man to a moderate degree, mainly out of cinematic conditioning, but I can’t say the film makes him especially interesting.

Viewers who’ve seen home video releases for del Toro’s other films will understand how much he focuses on planning and detail, factors that allow him to create such intricate worlds. As noted earlier, though, the end result can be too clinical and without great feeling, factors that impact Shape, as it doesn’t turn into a tale with much emotional power.

Shape keeps us with it and entertained – despite a fairly superfluous Russian subplot that I don’t think needs to exist. I just feel it falls short of its goals, as the movie doesn’t achieve the power and impact it desires.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus C+

The Shape of Water appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a strong presentation.

Overall, sharpness seemed very good. Some interiors came across as slightly soft, but the vast majority of the film appeared accurate and concise.

Jagged edges and moiré effects didn’t mar the presentation, and I saw no edge haloes. Print flaws also failed to appear.

In terms of palette, Shape went with a heavily teal orientation. A lot of orange appeared as well, and we found splashes of other hues on occasion, but they remained in a distinct minority in this strong blue/green affair.

Within stylistic choices, the hues seemed well-depicted. Blacks were dark and dense, and low-light shots gave us good clarity. I felt pleased with this solid transfer.

Similar thoughts greeted the fairly good DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Shape, as the soundfield mostly delivered a mix heavy on atmosphere. Environmental noises cropped up in the side and rear speakers, and action moments added to the track. Those elements created a nice sense of place and added impact to the material.

Audio quality satisfied. Speech sounded crisp and distinctive, and music appeared robust and full.

Effects were accurate and dynamic, while low-end response showed good warmth and richness. Nothing here dazzled, but the audio merited a “B”.

Though prior Guillermo del Toro movies came with extensive extras, Shape just provides a handful of featurettes. The five-part A Fairy Tale for Troubled Times runs 28 minutes, 55 seconds and includes notes from writer/director del Toro, producer J. Miles Dale, creature designer Mike Hill, effects supervisor/co-creature designer Shane Mahan, visual effects supervisor Dennis Berardi, production designer Paul Austerberry, costume designer Luis Sequiera, director of photography Dan Laustsen, composer Alexandre Desplat, and actors Doug Jones, Michael Shannon, Michael Stuhlbarg, Octavia Spencer, Sally Hawkins, David Hewlett and Richard Jenkins.

“Tale” looks at story/characters, the design and execution of “Amphibian Man”, cast and performances, production design, costumes and period details, photography and colors, and music. The first couple of chapters seem superficial, but once “Tale” digs into filmmaking specifics, it becomes pretty informative.

Under Anatomy of a Scene, we find two clips: “Prologue” (3:14) and “The Dance” (4:50). In these, we hear from del Toro, as he discusses details of the two segments in question. Always insightful, del Toro digs into the sequences well.

Shaping the Waves offers an interview with artist James Jean. It goes for five minutes, five seconds and features Jean’s comments about his work for one of the movie’s posters. He delivers useful thoughts about his creation.

Finally, Guillermo del Toro’s Master Class fills 13 minutes, 27 seconds with a panel that includes del Toro, Mahan, Laustsen, Berardi, Sequiera, and Austerberry. They offer a mix of details about the production in this informative little overview, though some of the material repeats from “Fairy Tale”.

The disc opens with ads for Red Sparrow, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and Murder on the Orient Express. Sneak Peeks adds promos for Goodbye Christopher Robin, The Mountain Between Us and The Post. We also find three trailers for Shape.

A second disc provides a DVD copy of Shape. It includes “Fairy Tale” and the trailers but lacks the other extras.

Well-crafted and generally compelling, The Shape of Water offers a mostly involving drama but not a great one. It simply lacks the originality and real spark to make it better than “pretty good”. The Blu-ray offers very good picture with satisfactory audio and a small set of supplements. Shape turns into an enjoyable film but not one that stands out as great.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.1304 Stars Number of Votes: 23
4 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

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