The Shape of Water releases today on Blu-ray, DVD and 4K Ultra, and Screen Rant has some exclusive concept art from the Oscar-winning film directed by Guillermo del Toro.
The Shape of Water was one of the most aesthetically beautiful films of last year. Not only did it win the Oscar for production design, music and directing, but it also took home the big prize for Best Picture. The Shape of Water tells a timeless story of love between Elisa (in a transcendent performance from Sally Hawkins), a mute janitor at a Baltimore research facility, and a captive Amphibian Man creature (another unbelievable creature performance from Doug Jones), kidnapped from the Amazon. It’s a powerful role reversal that resulted in some of the more beautiful imagery on the big screen in 2017.
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This exclusive concept art shows a distinct vision that made it to the screen in only a couple of images, featuring an image of a floating Elisa, a stoic Zelda (Octavia Spencer) and a lovely black and white image of Elisa and the Amphibian Man dancing, which might have been the most striking moment in the whole film. One of the many inspirations of the film was classic cinema, and the cinema is often referenced by Giles (Richard Jenkins), who is always watching a movie on television. Because of this inspiration, del Toro included a black and white scene reminiscent of classic musicals, complete with sweeping camera movements, a jazz standard and a stylish dance number.
The film was filled with memorable imagery that will be remembered far into del Toro’s career. The artwork of Elisa floating in water is another memorable image from the film, as it appears at the beginning and the end of the story. And the image of Zelda is perfectly reminiscent of her character, a strong, confident black woman. Another theme that is very present in Shape of Water is the issue of race and identity in a world that doesn’t recognize those that are “The Other.” Because of Elisa’s disability, Giles’ sexual orientation and Zelda’s skin color, they are all considered the unseen part of society. A “monster” film like this from the 50s and 60s would have featured Michael Shannon’s Strickland as the hero, and the Amphibian Man as the monster that Strickland would protect the “Other” characters from. However in this film, these characters are given agency, power and purpose, making this film largely important and strikingly beautiful in our current culture.
The Shape of Water is by far the best reviewed film of del Toro’s career, which is really saying something. He’s carved out a swath of filmography for himself, with fantasy-based films that rarely receive bad reviews. Shape of Water marks an extreme highlight of del Toro’s career, but he’s also earned high praise for films like Pan’s Labyrinth, The Devil’s Backbone, Hellboy, Crimson Peak and Cronos, his first feature. Each of his films tackle a certain genre and add an element of the fantastic, while flipping the conventions of each genre to add a surprising amount of empathy.
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