The world is not round. I know it isn’t flat, but it definitely isn’t round. To claim it is round would assume there is a symmetry, a total balance of our beloved planet, peacefully and methodically plodding through time and space. If there were a perfect balance, there would be no tides, no ebb and flow, a perfect understanding of beauty and harmony. I know the world is really out of balance, however, because the film “The Shape of Water” has been nominated for 13 – let me spell that – thirteen – Academy Awards. There is definitely something wrong with our slowly spinning, normally predictable planet. It must have one hell of a wobble.
I understand that I may be the one who is out of balance here, because I just spent nine dollars and ninety-five cents – senior discount – to sit through what I consider to be the most ludicrous, offensive, and downright stupid films I have ever seen. I put “Mars Attacks” on a pedestal compared to this awful film that has been elevated to God-like cult status with its prestigious award. At least Mars Attacks was fun to watch. The Shape of Water's dance scene with the creature from the black lagoon - seriously. I’m not joking - doing a Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers Felliniesque dream sequence, failed to elevate the film above the murky, tannin-colored realm of despair. They didn't even come close to the aliens bowling on Easter Island.
The standard Hollywood formula of oil company bad, government agent bad, everybody bad except the maligned hero/heroine and his/her mentor, was spiced with a dash of, believe it or not, a Soviet spy with a heart of gold. The pathetic mentor, according to formula, has to be convinced the hero/heroine can save humanity and together, along with a co-worker – black, of course – and the good Soviet agent – he’s really a doctor – defeat the forces of evil wearing the red, white, and blue. Ad Nauseam.
It wears thin in less time than it takes to get the lid off the popcorn bucket. The acting is well done, as if they know they won’t get paid if the audience laughs out loud during the scenes where the creature plays with the owner’s remaining cats just after it’s eaten the head off one of them. Funny stuff, but even here Mars Attacks did it better.
Like sex scenes? There are several solo episodes by the heroine to establish the fact she’s in dire need of fulfillment, and surprise, surprise, our finned creature rises to the occasion. I can imagine the excitement when they discovered they could wire the old lagoon creature’s costume with LEDs to glow with the enthusiasm required for such an event.
And healing powers? Wow! Another opportunity to fire up the power pack! For a primordial omnivore, even the convoluted Soviet agent bad guy/good guy could have used the “asset” if only his timing had been better. I have a problem with films that portray the old Soviets as the good guys and the Americans as mean-spirited evil doers, regardless of whose aquarium they’re trying to drain.
Time to dig out the old Slim Whitman soundtrack. Indian Love Song never sounded better.