Trailer For Del Toro’s THE SHAPE OF WATER Vaults Movie To 2017’s Must-See List (VIDEO/IMAGE)

Guillermo del Toro at his best? That’s certainly the hope this first trailer for The Shape of Water conjures.

Going back to Dramatic Period Fable territory (akin to the WWII set Pan’s Labyrinth, del Toro’s current masterpiece), The Shape of Water is a “creature feature” movie set in the 1960s Cold War era, playing out in a melancholic fairy tale tone.

The only gripe I’d have of this first look is the villain, a stock Christian Fundamentalist (played by Michael Shannon at full tilt, no less); it’s a caricature that’s been tired, reductionist, and melodramatically simplistic for far too long.

Still, that appears to be the only negative in a gorgeously realized vision anchored by a sweetly heartfelt leading turn from Sally Hawkins, who plays a mute that forges a deep emotional connection with the creature. Richard Jenkins is always a welcome presence, too, and the addition of Octavia Spencer looks like inspired casting for a del Toro joint.

Also co-starring Michael Stuhlbarg, The Shape of Water opens on December 8, 2017.

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