DATELINE: Oscar Goes Glug Glug!
Missing the Black Lagoon
Who would have envisioned Creature from the Black Lagoon winning Best Picture of 1954 for director Jack Arnold? Yet, the wet creature won for its director in the Shape of Water in 2018. How the world has changed into a monster mash.
Guillermo del Toro may be too full of bull with his latest movie. His Gill Man takes place on the heels of the original Creature tale, circa 1960, and likely is meant to be a homage sequel. A real sequel followed in 1955.
This amphibian man is called a ‘god’ more than once, in case you don’t understand the ending.
The film is subtly anti-American, with its sympathetic Soviet spy as one of the few likeable characters.
Of course, you have Octavia Spencer in a key role, which always elevates a movie to a higher standing. Michael Shannon has apparently cornered the market on despicable villains who are sexist, racist, and anti-disabilities. And, we always perk up when Nick Searcy (from Justified) makes an appearance.
As for the Creature, swimmingly played in a wet suit by Doug Jones, we are treated to a Fred and Ginger dance number in one dream sequence. Indeed, the film is rife with clips of old movies—from Betty Grable to the Story of Ruth.
Yes, you will find Bob Denver as Maynard and Mr. Ed as the Talking Horse in a couple of clips. No wonder this struck a nerve with aging Boomers.
Alas, the overdrawn sex scenes seemed superfluous and almost tacky to the point of meanly excluding a younger audience.
The film wants to play off the King Kong-style romance between monster and damsel, but the paws of Del Toro are around the heroine’s throat all too often.
Meant to move us with its horror fantasy, we were simply antsy.