Shape of Water : Book Versus Movie Review

Shape of Water : Book Versus Movie Review

2018-07-15_02-37-02Shape of Water (Book)
Author: Guillermo del Toro, Daniel Kraus
Genre: Fantasy
Buy Book Buy Movie

Shape of Water : The Book

I read the book first, because it was sitting there, calling to me from the NEW! Shelf of the library. The cover is pretty, illustrated possibly by the person who did the cover for the movie. We can see the two embrace as if in love. One human, one not. The book is actually adapted from the movie, not the other way around. One of the things that interests me, how it differs from the original work. If it is indeed better to read a book than to watch it as a movie. Pan’s Labyrinth is probably the other movie that I had watch and liked. I am not much of a movie fan, though I kinda liked the way he narrates his stories.

Back to the book, it actually starts in the Amazonian Jungle, where Colonel Richard Strickland landed with a mission. A few chapters dedicated to seeking of the Deus Brânquia of the Gill- God, where he eventually succeed. It is a slow start, agonising as readers share the pain of travelling in dangerous belly of mother nature. Though I had no sense of happiness when Strickland got what he was looking for.

The story then pans out to our heroine, both in book and movie. Elisa Esposito is the janitor in Baltimore’s Occam Aerospace Research Center, the only white person working as a janitor. I guess 1962 is a time where white people gets better jobs? Not sure, her friend Zelda is also her translator, because Elisa is mute. She does sign language, but not a problem because readers can read her thoughts and interests. Elisa yearns for something more, however she felt that there is a wall between her dreams and real life.

Shape of Water, written by Daniel Kraus is not that bad. The words are poetic, while the event time- lines are the same as the movie. If it weren’t so darn slow, I would have enjoyed it more.

Shape of Water : The Movie

I couldn’t resist, in the end I borrowed the DVD from the library as well. I had to wait a few more days, just to watch and compare. First of all, no attractive people in the movie. I only recognised Octavia Spencer because I watched Hidden Figures (which is pretty good). The story starts with Elisa, to my disappointment. But if they did the Amazon jungle part, it would have been too long/ boring. What took three chapters in the book, was told within ten in the movie. I liked that the characters matched, Strickland is as arrogant and mean as the book. Zelda is just as protective. Sally Hawkins made a good Elisa, down to the body language.

It is not hard to see why there are some people who thinks that this is some Little Mermaid re-write. It’s not, by the way. The amphibian man/ Deus Brânquia does not change forms, nor he talks in water. Elisa was just a humble janitor, not some princess in a far- a- way land waiting to be saved. Not only that, we also have Giles, Elisa’s neighbour. He struggles with the change in times, a torn man with much to offer. The movie is not just a romance movie, but friendship and doing that is morally right. Everyone in the movie has some secret backstory, covered in the book but only hinted in the movie.


Reading and watching the movie heightens the story more, rather than destroying the franchise (can I call it that?). The book has some illustrations, but frankly the movie is quite attractive during certain scenes. If you are a person who loves a good backstory like I do, of course the book is better.

Overall, it is a slow paced, building up to a great climax kind of movie and book. You do need some patience, but at least it makes some kind of sense.

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