MovieChat Forums > The Shape of Water (2017) Discussion > About the problematic romance

About the problematic romance


after seeing Shape of Water again on blu-ray after it's theatrical release, i enjoyed the movie for it's acting, settings, visuals, practical effects and style but the supposed romance of the asset with the mute seeing it again rubs me the wrong way as he is humanoid but has more of a gorilla/child level intelligence as it never spoke a language or come from a different culture/race of beings and is less Abe Sapien and more like the Ferringo Hulk in terms of an animalistic/child mind as i can see why there are beastality complaints.

I mean language, intelligence and culture is what separates us even other fictional races like furries, xenos and mutants from lower animals and he seemed animalistic in mind and all that as the asset didn't act like a person as he acted like a feral lower animal as it even talked like a goat. I mean furries, xenos, mutants and cyborgs are all races of people who are not always the "inferior" beings mainstream media shows sometimes but i believe they people who are and look different and i see nothing wrong with humans having affairs/marriage/love with xenos, furries, mutants and cyborgs.

I think the xeno in this movie could had spoke a weird tribal kind language to prove he is an intelligent being who isn’t a pet or animal as no one can understand what he is saying as Elsie has telepathy and can read/translate what he is saying. Even with her doing telepathic communication with the xeno man to talk to each other in brains even when he is reading her lips of mouthwording then show he is very intelligent humanoid being with similar intellect with no just roaring/growling or talking like a goat, him telling his history of being an alien being who came to earth years ago to become a god of a tribe he saw their culture on earth in the jungle even seeing them make art and music, him having a girlfriend before she died in his history, appreciating pets without eating them but treat them kind like he does with the animals in the jungle he lived in as his diet would be plants with vegetables then fruits to fish to eggs, wanting to learn how to cook as he saw some people of the tribe who worship him cooked but is curious to wanting to dance since he learned from tribal people but wants to learn like civilized people in cities do even for consent to want to have love if he truly loves her even she can help Giles what xeno is saying as she can do sign language to Giles even write down on paper what xeno is saying in his weird language even learn English. Those would had made the situation avoid the beastiality stigma. It would had been the Guess Who's Coming to Dinner of our time but with a xeno replacing a black man yet the film feels badly executed despite a promising idea.

I see nothing wrong with outside human race of human/furry, human/xeno, xeno/xeno (like an elf person and fish-person), human/cyborg and human/mutant romance of two different intelligent beings who can communication with languages and all in fiction as i support that as it's meant to be an allegory to real life inter-ethnic romance despite there are some humans in stories who are of different skin colors/ethicities/religions/different cultures having affairs with xenos or furries or mutants or cyborgs since they are races outside humans since humans are not alone in stories just like real life xenos do exist in the galaxy as we are not alone.

I mean like Hatton Slayden’s amazing artworks, Bojack Horseman (Even Kyle and Charolette a human male who romanced a deer furry woman as they produced 2 kids and got married), Wolf Children (the parents of the kids being a wolf man and a human woman), Beast aka Hank Henry McCoy and Carly on the X-men animated series episode “Beauty and the Beast”, Catherine and Vincent in the 80s Ron Perlman/Linda Hamilton starring Beauty and the Beast TV show (remember that show?), Cathy and Matt on Alien Nation, Lilandra and Xavier (xeno bird woman and mutant earth man), Hepzibah and Corsair in Marvel comics, Mass Effect, Skyrim, Hellboy and Liz, Swamp Thing and Abigale Arcane, Vinnie and Charlene on Biker Mice from Mars, Vastra and Jenny on Doctor Who, Regular Show (Skips with Mona plus Margaret's parents), Star Wars, Star Trek, Cheetah and Batman on Justice League the series, An orc woman and a human man who fell in love/married/conceived a hybrid child to a half-ogre/half human woman romancing a human male in Warcraft the movie, Rachel and Deckar in Blade Runner (Biorganic android and human), Eliza and Goliath on Gargoyles especially Demona with Macbeth etc. all have consenting intelligent adults. Even the recent Voltron reboot show has two different races of beings one a xeno reptilian girl named Shay and a human boy named Hunk in love as they are two teens who love each other for who they are.

They all worked better than this movie!

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TL:DR

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Huh?

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No one has a problem with the fact that the creature is not human and has sex with a woman, people have a problem with it cause the creature is far too animalistic and not showing enough intelligence, it amazes me Hollywood thought that was ok and gave it an Oscar!

Not seen or read all your examples but those I have are far better than this movie.

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So you're saying in your opinion because the creature was portrayed as a creature it means Hollywood *endorses* such a (fictional) relationship, and that's, at least in part, why it won an Oscar?

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It won best picture, thats not my opinion but fact.

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What difference does it make?

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The creature was highly intelligent, and had properties that humans do not, for instance he was able to heal Jenkins arm, he also at the end gave Eliza the power to speak.

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Why do you think the creature doesn't have a language? How do you know that it's croaking sounds aren't part of a complex language that is perfectly comprehensible to others of its species, even though it doesn't sound like language to humans?


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Well the language teaching only seemed to go one way. She taught him words but the thing didn't seem to have an intellectual connection with her in the same way. He learned like a child and acted without discretion like a displaced animal. He definitely came off as a gorilla or dolphin in terms of intelligence, and those species do not have language (no they don't, even if you think otherwise).

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I disagree, "The Asset" picked up human sign language far too quickly for his intelligence to be at the level of an animal. I've never studied sign language but I know that it takes an adult human years of part-time study or months of intensive study to become at fluent in a new spoken or written language, while The Asset learned a reasonable amount of sign language during a few stolen moments. Try training a dog to sit and or use the puppy pads in a few stolen moments and see how far you get.

My assumption was that it was quite intelligent, but that its vocal apparatus was so different from a human's that it could be saying "My species is more intelligent than yours because we weren't fool enough to get out of the water" or "I'm going to eat your fingers first and then your face", and all a human would hear is "croak croak".

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I can train a dog to sit in a few minutes, my guess is you've never trained an animal. I have zero experience with great apes, I bet they are better than dogs. The thing acted like a child. Imagine you are in an alien world, and you connect with an alien and they sneak you out to their 'pod' or whatever. Then you see something that looks like food, maybe a hamburger, sitting on the floor and it hasn't been laid out for you. Do you just eat it? Or do you, like a more intelligent being, know that being on another planet you should act with discretion? Meanwhile, this frogman tears apart a collared animal without thought and runs away like an idiot. Only animals do crap like that. That's because they are dumb and don't think things through like humans, they just react in the moment. If I were having a conversation with an alien I would reciprocate its attempts to teach me its language. It wouldn't lead me around like I'm a dummy telling me this is called this, I have a whole language of my own I want to share. This whole idea that something can be highly intelligent while looking stupid is a fantasy.

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Oh The Asset doesn't seem to be *civilized* as we define it, but there's a huge difference between being civilized and being intelligent.

The Asset learned sign language, recognized drawings of himself, impressed the Russkie as being bright enough to appreciate language and music, and learned not to eat kitty cats in one go. That indicates more intelligence than a gorilla. Then there's the fact that Elisa has some of the physical assets of an amphibious humanoid, indicating the possibility of past or current interbreeding, which could imply a certain genetic similarity to humans. Isn't Elisa supposed to be a hybrid?



Edit: And if all the learning was going one way, that was probably due more to circumstance than ability. The only human who tried to communicate with him without help of a cattle prod couldn't use spoken language.

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I don't know if it's because I'm civilized, but I can recognize if I'm in another culture and try to adapt. If I go to a planet and observe people worshiping bowls of cereal, I'm not going to eat cereal. Animals and young children don't do this. At best, it is like a child, and it is still gross to be screwing a child. I was wondering how it knew to be quiet when she was sneaking it out but then acted like an animal or toddler in their home. Are you saying that it didn't teach her anything because she wasn't speaking? He should have been applying his 'words' to her signs. So she gestures egg, he should say egg, or oval shape or whatever. He's just not coming off as human. I think if he were a tribal person being portrayed that way, it would be offensive.

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If you went to another planet where people imprisoned you, tortured you with cattle prods, and monologued at you in a language you didn't understand, how hard would YOU try to adapt? You wouldn't, you'd fight like hell and take out any body parts you could! Of course The Asset didn't make any effort to adapt until he met Elisa, but once he realized that humans aren't all bad and could even be helpful, he actually learned quickly. He learned sign language, he learned to sit at tables, he learned that he wasn't welcome to eat the cats (he was okay with the new kittens), he learned that humans couldn't learn what any of his vocalizations meant but they could understand signs, he learned that one of his human pals was injured and did what he could do to help (which BTW is something I've only seen an animal do once), etc.


I really think I'm right and you're wrong on this, or at least that my view is what Del Toro intended. I think he intended The Asset to come across as an intelligent being who is capable of learning, and of doing things that humans can't do, like Magical Healing. There does have to be some degree of equality for the relationship to be plausible and he did his best to establish that - showing that both The Asset could adapt to human ways, and that Elisa had something in common with him as well. If not everyone got what the director was trying to put across, well, that happens.

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You think I'm wrong? Well OK then. But I can assure you that it would be completely stupid to try and fight an entire population of abusive aliens that have imprisoned you. I would attempt ANYTHING I needed to do to appease them. This isn't about standing your ground and all that nonsense, it's about survival. And I think other examples of imprisoned and abused humans (slavery, holocaust) back up what I'm saying. Only animals are dumb enough to think they can escape by biting fingers and pissing off their captors. Even dumber would be to resist while you need water to survive and you're being held on land. But you are certainly right that Del Toro intended otherwise, hence why I think this was a failure of understanding humans and potentially indirectly promoting bestiality/pedophilia. I was disgusted when her friend seemed so happy she f_cked that creature, that was demented. Plus why can't humans understand his vocalizations, again? I know how to hear a sound, apply it to a word, and do that with a different sound.

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Okay, now you're just trolling.

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Yeah keep telling yourself that if it helps you come to terms with being proven wrong. I wish the people who seem fine with this nasty movie were trolling.

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Whatever GDT's intentions were, a lot of people weren't convinced that the asset came across as human enough to have a believable enough connection to her on all the levels at once that make a romance feel human. I think even whether you see it/him as more human or more animal, even if the asset had been 100% human, for me there wasn't even a believable romantic connection there. I think it would be possible to do a movie about a person who has a "deep romantic and sexual relationship" with an elephant or something and have it work, and with the right directorial decisions the audience would feel the conflict of that because they'd be convinced that for this person there was a deep connection. In this flick there was barely a thread to get us to even the threshold of feeling the love and therefore the question of humanity or not becoming truly thought provoking. IMO all things considered they could have and should have done more to position the relationship in a way that most people could feel just that much more clearly. As it is it comes off as *outsider woman fucks anthropomorphic magic fish*. To me that's the basic failure of this movie that brings the whole thing down - which is a shame, because there's a lot aesthetically to appreciate.

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I think one easy thing they could have done (not done) that would have helped the movie would be to not include the scene where it attacks the cat. A lot of people are very emotional about and have loving relationships with their cats – they feel much stronger love for their cats than they're sensing from the relationship with the asset, and when they see cats on screen they think of their cat – and that for me sealed it as too animal/alien to believe the romance on a visceral level. Nothing that happened after that challenged the feeling I got from that scene, which they should have tried to do, to really any degree. I really, really do not understand the intentionality of this scene.

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Oh, the scene does make perfect rational sense. An intelligent but uncivilized being has been starved for ages and he sees a small unwary prey animal, and he eats it. That's what would happen under those circumstances if Fish People were real.

But you're right. I love my kitties and it was horrible, it didn't advance the plot except to show how forgiving Giles was, and it's convinced some idiots that The Asset is no smarter than a gorilla. It would have been better to have ASset grab fish out of an aquarium or baloney off Giles' kitchen counter.

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Otter: You sound angry, you weren't by any chance attracted to that dumb fish-ape were you?

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Not at all, I just don't suffer fools gladly.

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Or maybe you have some personal connection to the 'intelligent' fish-ape's cognitive capabilities.

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You can stop belaboring that point now. You're wrong, and I don't take you seriously enough to keep showing you the error of your ways.

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[deleted]

Hey, a sensible response!

And yeah, I do agree that the central romance was problematical, although not because it was "beastiality". The Asset was obviously intelligent, and Elisa was obviously not a normal human. That said, what do those two have in common but sex, the desire to escape Baltimore, and the ability to breathe underwater? What kind of life are they going to have at the bottom of the Baltimore harbor, or wherever they can swim to from there? They can't get back to the Amazon where his people live, and she's quickly going to find that hunting enough fish to stay alive isn't a lot more interesting than scrubbing floors to stay alive.

So while the film works on an emotional level for me, because yeah, I have the desire to escape the workaday world and discover that I have fabulous supernatural abilities and have hot sex. Who doesn't. But I can't say it works at a rational level, and I do wish that Del Toro had put a little more attention into that front.

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Did you thought Wolf Children did the human X xeno romance angle better with the parents of the hybrid kids in that movie being Hana and her wolf-man husband? i mean the wolf-man speaks and has human level intelligence even when he scored with Hana in that brief scene

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You seem to be referring to something I haven't seen.

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Excellent 2012 Japanese animated fantasy drama about a human woman and a wolf-man who falls in love and produce 2 hybrid children who are part wolf-person/part human and can change into full human form or full wolf person form.

Here's a moment of the parents that is done better than Shape of Water:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8t-7KU_OpQ
And this is consent because they are 2 young adults in college and are consenting plus the wolf-man speaks and has human level intelligence and is a humanoid wolf man. Basically a modern Beauty and the Beast.

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Ah, I've never even heard of that film!

But I'm willing to believe it handled an interspecies romance better, the Japanese are, uh, known for that sort of thing.

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It's only known in Japan because it was Japan's highest grossing film of 2012 and only known by animation and anime buffs. It's an excellent film and quite powerful.

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[deleted]

this is one of those Illuminati where they want to change some law so they use media to soften people's stance make them more accepting make it appear to be the new norm

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What about those couples i mentioned even in Wolf Children to Doctor Who to Star Wars to Hellboy (even an elf woman and a fishman) to Mass Effect?

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