We have another misleading title this week, as Doctor Who doesn’t interact with The Shape Of Water. I write about both of them though (plus Justice League Action), so this was another byproduct of needing an SEO friendly title for an overview of disparate topics. Onward to the year’s final blog!
It feels like I’ve been waiting forever to see Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape Of Water. (I doubt this staggered release did its box office any favors.) Co-writen by Vanessa Taylor, it’s The Creature From The Black Lagoon meets Amélie. The costumes & furnishings aren’t as sumptuous as Crimson Peak due to the setting, but it’s a more captivating film. It’s as gorgeous as a GdT movie ought be!
Doug Jones plays the sexiest cinematic fish man since Aquaman, who was the sexiest fish man since Cabin In The Woods’ merman, who was the sexiest fish man since Abe Sapien. So it were an academy awards category, Doug Jones would be a two time Sexiest Fish Man winner. Can NECA do a toy of him in its GdT line? So far it’s already 2/3 him without a human disguise.
Sally Hawkins stars as Elisa Esposito, the mute janitor to a government lab where she meets her aquatic prince. I love that that her subtitles weren’t relegated to the bottom of the screen. The sex isn’t as graphic as I expected, & we don’t see the unnamed fish man’s retractable penis. We do see a lot of Elisa. It’s a better marine bestiality story (ichthys eroticism or fishmance to the Troy McClure set) than Mrs. Caliban. It should go without saying that it’s a much better paranormal romance than Twilight. Be prepared for an ambiguous fairy tale ending. Viewer discretion advised for cat servants.
It turns out the real monster was man! This is a far better use of Michael Shannon’s hauntingly intense stare than dull Pottersville since he’s not a wholesome yet rubbish Sasquatch impersonator. (When the movie was first announced, I thought he’d be playing the merman complete with traditional leg-tail.) Octavia Spencer & Richard Jenkins have great supporting roles to remind audiences that the Cold War wasn’t stellar from black women & gay men. (Et tu, Canadian pie server?) David Hewlett looks like Michael Stuhlbarg in Fargo, but it also has Michael Stuhlbarg in it not resembling that role just to be confusing.
So this movie is proof del Toro should’ve been in charge of the Dark Universe. With all the projects he hasn’t been able to make, however, I’m just happy this one surfaced from the depths of his imagination.
Doctor Who’s “Twice Upon A Time” Christmas special marked the end of Peter Capaldi’s tenure & the Steven Moffat era overall. I rather liked how whiz-bang the season ended with the Cybermen & dual Masters (I forgot to write about it because the summer was bonkers), so this subdued victory lap felt unnecessary. David Bradley is a superb fill-in for the late Richard Hartnell as the First Doctor. I was a tad disappointed we still didn’t get a check-in with Susan. It’s nice that there didn’t need to be an evil plot, as Testimony was an inversion of Missy’s Nethersphere.
My main issue is that I’m not a fan of Time Lords being able to will themselves not to regenerate (or regenerate only after a soliloquy) that’s cropped up in the revived series. The First & Twelfth (technically Thirteenth) Doctors regenerating is a forgone conclusion, so listening to the two angst about it for unclear reasons isn’t dramatic. Twelve’s goodbye speech was too long & meta in a similar way to Ten’s protracted fan service exit. So the plot was pretty thin. Regardless, it was a was a respectable episode upon which to depart. (I suppose fans can still look forward to Moffat wording interview answers poorly & the excessive amount of coverage they spawn.)
If the precedent from the RTD to Moffat turnover is still in effect, the introduction of Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor was actually written by new showrunner Chris Chibnall. The regeneration making the TARDIS explode is too similar to the introduction of the Eleventh Doctor. I’m worried this means the Thirteenth (actually Fourteenth) Doctor will be stuck in present day Earth for a prolonged span like the Third. A gender change destroying the Doctor’s iconic ship would be feeding trolls too much. Or it will be as quickly sorted as when Eleven’s TARDIS crashed, in which case why bother being as extra as Anne Shirley? (The titular Anne of Green Gables would’ve loved Tumblr!) So far Whittaker looks better in Capaldi’s clothes than her Wesley Crusher homage . While I’m glad Mark Gatiss isn’t the new showrunner, I still have my doubts about Chibnall.
This Bill Potts action figure is either a great custom or an upcoming release. I’m hoping for the latter, as Character Options has been really lax about exploiting its license this year. Since much of it looks shared from a Primeval Abby figure, you’d think CO could’ve gotten it out while she was still on the show. I’m still waiting on my Neo-Nimon!
I feel bad for WB’s DC movies. They tried to build their movieverse differently than the MCU but went overboard on the dourness. They listened to fans’ complaints & made Justice League even more upbeat than planned, yet assorted sites are still obsessed with dunking on it despite it not being an abomination. I for one appreciate that they’re not determined to steer all their movies off a cliff just because that’s what the original map called for. Opinions haven’t even mellowed out after Wonder Woman. I worry Aquaman won’t perform swimmingly next December, especially in the wake of the buzz for Disney absorbing the X-movies.
Meanwhile Justice League Action is unambiguously great! If anyone says it doesn’t take things seriously enough, they’re wrong. It’s supposed to be a comedy! Even if you get a rare clunker, an entire episode is over in a scant eleven minutes. It’s even got briefer shorts if that’s too long for you, including an all Mark Hamill installment! Despite appearing in the intro, Reverse-Flash never appears. Two Mr. Mxyzptlk episodes are back to back in seeming defiance of his ninety day rule. Here are just a few highlights from this show made of fun:
It has a Dex-Starr vs. Streaky fight! Hal Jordan removes his Green Lantern ring to wash his face then leaves it in the sink of a space truck stop bathroom because this show really gets Hal. (It turns out Space Cabbie’s GPS is Aya, for fans of the GL cartoon.) I love that they’re finally able to use John Constantine as a gateway drug to get impressionable kids hooked on Hellblazer! Etrigan drives a souped-up ice cream truck to thwart a possessed Batmobile! This show reminds me how dull (Green) Arrow’s version of The Calculator is. Roxy Rocket makes slightly more sense as a spacefarer than a Bat-foe. Lex Luthor uses the stolen power of Zeus to give himself a lush head of ginger hair! The Ivy League is a puntastic team name. Booster Gold is both secretly hypercompetent & monstrously incompetent. Detective Riddler battles the Joker for stealing his shtick. Mr. Miracle gets to showboat in Vegas. Now when is season two getting confirmed?
“Grodd Rest Ye Merry Gentleman” is the Christmas song about submitting to a gorilla’s psychic domination.
In Swamp Thing, Etrigan is sometimes drawn with a kitty cat face. Which is the better instance of an obscure Justice League foe made terrifying by an English writer having him usurp a headliner’s power: the Floronic Man or Dr. Destiny?
Eve Harlow (currently on Agents of SHIELD, which needs to cast this Cow of Death as Hellcow) agrees she’s the right woman to play young Bellatrix Lestrange should she ever appear in one of those Fantastic Beasts prequels. There’s going to be five of them, so they have time to get around to her.
This concludes our 2017 programming year. Please return next week for the beginning of 2018 rantings.