Nominated for thirteen awards, The Shape of Water won a total of four awards including Best Director at the 90thAcademy Awards in the end. The latter the first for Director Guillermo del Toro.
The Shape of Water: Creating A Fairy Tale for Troubled Times chronicles the making-of process behind the award-winning romantic fantasy drama. Published by Insight Editions which is well-known for their extensive records in publishing collectible books on movies and pop-culture, this 160 page hardcover book is yet another winner from the publisher.
ACT I touches on the various lead characters such as Elisa, Zelda, Giles and Strickland. The cast members were each given a short background bio of their respective characters by del Toro before actual shooting begins and they also share their filming experiences and costumes design.
If you are obsessed with the appearance of the “fish-man”, ACT II delves deep into designing and creating the movie’s unique leading man. Played by del Toro’s frequent collaborator, Doug Jones (Hellboy’s Abe Sapien, Crimson Peak), Jones was trapped in a hot suit for the entire shooting duration with a torture scene which require him to kneel for hours.
And given the extensive usage of CGI in modern day blockbusters, del Toro insisted on the use of practical suit and effects which is a joy to behold as the chapter is loaded with generous amount of behind-the-scenes and conceptual photos. The two prominent rotting fingers of the sadistic, uncompromising Richard Strickland (Michael Shannon) were also given coverage by the writer.
The last chapter, ACT III which is the longest of all touches on the production process beginning with the set designs covering mainly the homes of Elisa, Giles and Zelda, the Occam Aerospace Research Center and Dixie Doug Pie diner. Readers will also be captivated by how the filmmakers created many of the underwater scenes using a “dry for wet” technique and how the entire crew endured extreme weather condition shooting the finale.
The Shape of Water: Creating A Fairy Tale for Troubled Times is an extremely well-written making of book by Gina Mcintyre. There are countless inclusions of del Toro’s doodles, sketches and stills from VFX house, craftsmen and in-depth information from the key filmmakers that it ranks as a definitely must-buy if you are a fan of the movie or a fan who simply loves to collect collectible items. It’s so good that it deserved an Academy Award if there’s a book category.
Review by Linus Tee
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