"The Shape Of Water" is an otherworldly fairy tale set against the backdrop of Cold War-era America circa 1962. In the hidden, high-security government laboratory where she works, lonely Elisa (Hawkins) is trapped in a life of isolation. Elisa's life is changed forever when she and co-worker Zelda (Spencer) discover a secret classified experiment. (Gary Reber)
Special features include five featurettes: "A Fairy Tale For Troubled Times" (HD 28:55), "Anatomy Of A Scene: Prologue" (HD 03:14), "Anatomy Of A Scene: The Dance" (HD 04:50), "Shaping The Waves: A Conversation With James Jean" (HD 05:05), and "Guillermo del Toro's Master Class" (HD13:27); three theatrical trailers; upfront previews; and a Movies Anywhere digital copy.
The 2160p HEVC/H.265 UltraHD HDR10 picture, reviewed on a Sony Bravia Z9D 4K Ultra HD HDR display, was photographed digitally using the Arri Alexa Mini and Arri Alexa XT Plus camera systems and sourced from a 2K (not 4K) master Digital Intermediate format. As the 2K Digital Intermediate has been upconverted to 2160p, there is no real gain in native resolution. Picture quality is absolutely gorgeous! The superb editing of the movie often shifts from the teal greenish brush of scenes to the warmer and richer amber yellowish brushed interiors and darker natural exteriors outside the Creature's imprisoned laboratory environment. The wider color gamut is exhibited in both settings, providing an impression of natural realism. The Creature's appearance is revealing of fine gradations of hues. Fleshtones are superbly rendered and perfectly natural in appearance. HDR contrast is excellent, with the darker scenes highlighted in stylized lightening that pops, while the interior scenes are perfectly balanced with dark and bright elements. Shadow delineation is superb in scenes of underwater imagery and other dimly lit material, revealing nuanced detail. Resolution is stunning, with fine detail exhibited throughout in facial features, skin pores, hair, beards, clothing, the Creature's features, and all manner of object texture. WOW! segments are numerous such as from 00:06:16 to 00:07:23, 00:23:54 to 00:23:18, 00:53:19 to 00:54:28, and 01:31:50 to 01:32:19.
This is an extraordinary cinematic experience, displaying imaginative stylization and precise editing that is sure to mesmerize with its beautifully rendered reference-quality picture. (Gary Reber)
The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel soundtrack (not an Immersive Sound format) is consistently engaging, offering an appealing wide soundstage for Alexandre Desplat's Academy Award®-winning score, which is prominent throughout. The music spans wide and deep across the soundstage and extends to the surrounds to provide effective envelopment. Aggressive surround is evident in the Creature's escape scene and in the sound effects, such as the thick and heavy sliding laboratory door that secures the Creature's imprisoned environment. Ambient environmental effects play a rather large part throughout, especially once "the rains" start, with the soundfield energized. Dialogue is presented with excellent spatial integration. While this is a standard 5.1-channel mix, when converted to the Auro-3D Auro-Matic Immersive Sound format, the soundfield becomes impressively holosonic® and spherical surround three-dimensional. This is beautiful-sounding soundtrack with a wonderfully lush score and effective atmospheric sonics and sound effects that is reference quality. (Gary Reber)