Editorial: The Shape of Water Was More True To Classic Universal Than The Mummy 2017
By Jonathan Balofsky On 25 Jan, 2018 At 05:27 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, Movie News, Opinion, ROG News | With 0 Comments


2017 was a year of many great and not so great movies, and there was something for everyone. Two movies that stood out to me above all other were The Mummy and The Shape of Water, and this is due to comparisons I made between the two. The Mummy was the lastest reboot of the series by Universal, this time in an attempt to create a cinematic universe for their monster characters. This would be called the Dark Universe and its future was in doubt for a while after the failure of the reboot at the box office ( and in terms of critical reception), before recently getting back on track. The Shape of Water on the other hand is a standalone film by Guillermo Del Toro, and while it has no connection to the Universal Monsters, does mange to feel like a true successor. In fact, I would go so far as to say it succeeded at capturing the spirit more than The Mummy did.

The Mummy was a reboot that seemed to take from almost every idea that is popular currently ( something also noted by James Rolfe), and not done particularly well.  The editing and pacing are off, and the movie takes so much of its time to set up future events rather than actually make a coherent film. Not to mention the plot not making any sense, with unlikeable and/or boring characters, villains whose motivations are all over the place and plot twists that have no payoff. There is also the wholesale lifting of an entire idea and plot device from American Werewolf in London, and a complete butchering of Egyptian Mythology that just destroys any immersion.

The movie seemed to want to be taken seriously and fell so short. The 19190’s reboot was done in the style of a b-movie with a big budget, it had no desire to surpass the originals and holds up well on its own because of that. This film on the other hand, has no enjoyment factor and is just a waste of potential. But then we come to the other half of this equation with The Shape of Water.

The Shape of Water had no intention of setting up a cinematic universe and instead was a tightly plotted and perfectly paced film ( even with one scene that was out of place). The movie may not be a remake of Creature from the Black Lagoon, but it feels like a brilliant modern version of one. Del Toro’s imagination works wonders here, and he took the work he did with Pan’s Labyrinth and took it a step further. He captured the era perfectly and creates the right mood and atmosphere.  The Shape of Water is what I would want in a modern reboot of a classic monster film, and the fact that it is an original movie just makes The Mummy’s failure stand out even more.

Creature from The Black Lagoon is often considered the last of the Universal Monster series, and the Mummy was among the first. This provides an interesting contrast to the two films, as one the Mummy 2017 attempted to restart the cycle and nearly ruined everything, while The Shape of Water was not dependent on anything and helped create a world I want to see more of. It is this fact that made me realize that The Shape of Water is indeed the successor to the Universal Monsters, simply by not trying to be one. It is a film that deserves all of its praise while the Mummy deserves all of the scorn it got. The results simply speak for themselves.


Disclaimer: The above was the opinion solely of the author and does not necessarily reflect that of Real Otaku Gamer or its staff.


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