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It’s an Xmas update! And General Tanaka’s got it all figured out.

I saw The Shape of Water, Guillermo Del Toro’s latest cinematic undertaking. It’s hard not to view the movie as a highly niche film that probably won’t appeal to a general movie going audience, as it’s an R rated film that revolves around the romance between a mute woman and a sea monster man. That R rating is for the full gamut of language, sex, and violence, albeit used smartly to heighten tension and flesh out the cast. But as someone who enjoys a movie with great characterization, this one hits the sweet spot, with a relatively small cast bursting with unique personalities. I’ve grown further enamored with small scale storytelling in genre films, maybe because of my own exhaustion over the brutal onslaught of overstuffed plots and expansive casts in Hollywood blockbusters. In that sense, Shape of Water feels like a relief. I also strongly appreciate a lot of the foreshadowing in the script that results in some great setups and payoffs.

It’s not a perfect film, though, mostly in terms of its pacing. There’s a heist sequence about two thirds of the way through the story. Right after that, when you think things are about to kick into high gear, the movie actually slows down quite a bit to expand on the unorthodox romance plot. Although the romance is a major focus, the result is the deflation of much of the film’s building tension. Although that tension eventually does come back in heavy doses as the movie closes in on its emotional climax.

Overall, this is probably one of Del Toro’s most solid films to date. Not as bogged down in tired cliches as his Hellboy films, nor as muddled in deus ex machina plot mechanics and half finished characters arcs as Pacific Rim. Infinitely better paced than the beautifully shot Crimson Peak. Perhaps not quite as masterfully envisioned as Pan’s Labyrinth, but probably more of a narrative crowd pleaser in the end. Good luck finding it in theaters, though. The Shape of Water’s release has been very limited.

 

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  • Hfar

    “Leave it to me.”

    Let’s see…bu pu bu buuu…yep! There it is! Entry number four in the Book of Military Famous Last Words, right behind “They couldn’t hit the side of a barn from this dist-“

    • clogboy

      And right before audentes Fortuna iuvat.

  • Xinef

    And then it turns out the gunners were the least important of Wataro troops, being few in number, poorly trained and underequipped. In the meantime, Wataro archers, spearmen and horsemen steamroll over Senshin troops, who weren’t prepared against THOSE weapons.

    • Major Tom

      Earthworks such as the trenches the Senshin are building are a key staple of military defense systems and have been since at least the time of the Romans. They provide cover not just against bullets but they serve as a major impediment against horse cavalry, shelter against archers just like against rifles and if you attack with melee troops (spearmen, men-at-arms, etc.) a system of earthworks forces your attacking troops to engage the defenders one rank at a time making it very difficult to bring your numbers to bear against the entrenched lines.

      Earthworks are a major force multiplier in war, they remain so even today.

      • Xinef

        There’s plenty of pre-Roman earhtworks too, and ever since humans began to settle fortifications made of/in dirt existed.

        Though that doesn’t explain why Senshin would start making them only after learning of the Wataro guns.
        (although, we’ve seen many other Senshin fortifications during the previous Wataro incursion – many of which would be equally good against guns. I don’t think those muskets can shoot through a palisade, for example.)

        • George Paterson

          Ehh… nothing says they started making them only after learning of Wataro guns. The first attack was a surprise attack, the Wataro were expecting an unprepared enemy, and if it wasn’t for Ina, that’s exactly what they would have found.

          This time the Senshin have had time to prepare the ground, Unless Nataku has a nasty trick or two up his sleeve attacking against a fully prepared and dug in army is going to prove expensive for him

          That said, Nataku is taking a very stupid risk unless he does have some kind of ace up his sleeve, and no, the arquebusses don’t qualify. In real war the arquebus didn’t take over the battlefield until it evolved into the Flintlock Musket. They were powerful but inaccurate and unreliable, most armies used them alongside more traditional melee troops until the invention of the bayonet allowed them to have the same soldier provide both ranged and melee attacks.

          Now some Cannon, that might get people’s attention.

  • Sunwu

    We are Masuhiro’s army,
    We are the Senshin infantry.
    We cannot fight, we cannot shoot,
    What bloody use are we?
    And when we get to Edo
    We’ll hear the Shougun say,
    “Ha! Ha! My god what a bloody rotten lot”
    Are the Senshin infantry.

  • foducool

    listen to the woman, you dumb fuck

    • LordBolanderFace

      Woman? What’s that? Oh, you mean booby sandwich makers!

      • multilis

        no, sandwich makers are made in china crap. You want hot 3 course meal with bottle of sake.

      • Purphoros

        “booby sandwich maker”
        Are you referring to a sandwich maker that has boobs or a maker of booby sandwiches?

  • Xenocide

    “Overconfidence for an easy victory will be their own downfall”

    Yeah, Tanaka, they aren’t the only ones who appear to be overconfident of an easy victory…

    • LordBolanderFace

      “Your overconfidence will be your downfall.”
      “No, YOUR overconfidence will be YOUR downfall!”
      “No, YOUR overconfidence will…”

      • Xenocide

        And peace is achieved when both armies get up and go home, whilst their generals keep on going back and forth until they die of old age…

    • Dshim

      Overconfidence is a slow and insidious killer

  • AGV

    Ok, when it comes to strategies, everyone stops and listens to Ina

    Also, happy xmas!
    I have to watch that movie

    • Kid Chaos

      I’ve seen it! It’s awesome. And yes, ignore Ina at your peril. 😎

    • Turul

      Please, my lord, leave it to Ina. (And a hefty number of troops. Who obey Ina.)

  • LordBolanderFace

    It’s okay, guys! He asked Santa for complete and total victory over the Wataro army. And a pony!

  • Ladon

    That’s actually a pretty good way to handle things… he DOES have a plan for the rest of their army too, right?

  • animalia555

    On the plus side Ina’s father is here now. You know someone who actually LISTENS to reason instead of arrogantly dismissing everyone compatant like Douchebag McAsshole overhere.

    • IDPounder

      We…are speaking about the same Masuhiro, right?

      • animalia555

        I….THINK so.

      • Kid Chaos

        He’s had an up-close and personal view of Ina’s intelligence. Even if Gen. Tanaka is a Stick In the Mud (ha-ha), Masuhiro is much more open to…shall we say more “creative” solutions to problems. 😎

  • Nos Rin aka CTCO

    I didn’t know he did Pacific Rim. I really enjoyed it despite it’s flaws. Mostly just the Giant Robots vs Giant Monster fights though. If I’m being honest. The new one looks a bit too, “cool”, for me to think it will be any good but I’ll definitely go see it,
    I need to see Pan’s Labyrinth I think and this new one did look interesting.

  • Dim Light

    What, no?! This *can’t* be the last page!!! D:

    ……….dammit, I’ve read it all……

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