The first trailer for Guillermo del Toro’s new film, The Shape of Water, has arrived courtesy of Fox Searchlight and it looks to have just about everything a GDT fan can ask for. The story follows a lonely, mute woman named Elisa (Sally Hawkins) who performs janitorial duties for a top-secret government laboratory. The facility’s greatest asset is its one-of-a-kind inhabitant, a humanoid creature who lives its life entirely underwater. When their paths cross, they each find themselves forever changed, but with grave consequences.
There’s a lot to love here, whether it’s del Toro’s time traveling back to the Cold War-stricken 60s, the portrayal of Elisa as both hard-working but also terribly isolated, the cross-species love story that introduces del Toro’s preferred twist of the other-worldly, or Michael Shannon‘s delightfully unhinged mad scientist-meets-government heavy. The trailer walks the line with giving away too much, but my ticket’s as good as purchased already.
Also starring Octavia Spencer, Richard Jenkins, Michael Stuhlbarg and Doug Jones, The Shape of Water opens December 8th.
Check out the official trailer below:
And here’s the official synopsis for The Shape of Water:
From master story teller Guillermo del Toro, comes THE SHAPE OF WATER – an other-worldly fairy tale, set against the backdrop of Cold War era America circa 1963. In the hidden high-security government laboratory where she works, lonely Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is trapped in a life of silence and isolation. Elisa’s life is changed forver when she and co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) discover a secret classified experiment. Rounding out the cast are Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Michael Stuhlbarg and Doug Jones.
Now let’s be real: Many fans of GDT who know his Hellboy work will see the subject of the government experiment as an Abe Sapien-wannabe (or even a related entity), but I’m totally fine with this being a complete standalone picture. (I’m also find if it ends up tying into existing material somehow, though a shared GDT Cinematic Universe would be a stretch.)
What I particularly loved about this trailer is how well it handles the film’s many apparent themes and conflicts: There’s a clear love story between Elisa and the creature, even if it’s ultimately platonic, because they each have something that fills a void in the other. (Plus, how cool is it to see a mute character as the protagonist?) There’s also some Cold War politics and gamesmanship at play here since the secret lab will go to any lengths to discover everything there is to know about this creature, even if that means destroying it in the process. And the mythology teases are tantalizing: All we know is that the creature was revered in the Amazon as a god but somehow ended up under U.S. government control. The frame story has me a bit confused at the moment, but I like the hints that some of the story will be told through artwork and other visual representations of the fantastic. That’s vintage GDT to be sure and I can’t wait to see the full vision.
Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments!