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Defining love between humans and mythical creatures

Mythical creatures have appeared in movies for decades. From fire-breathing dragons to spell-casting elves, mythical creatures are no strangers to the big screen.

In Guillermo del Toro’s latest film, The Shape of Water, Elisa (Sally Hawkins), a government laboratory janitor who is mute, creates a special bond with a mysterious scaled creature, called the Amphibian Man (Doug Jones), being held for testing.

The Shape of Water is now playing at the Athena Cinema and picked up 13 Academy Award nominations. 

Caylah Awls, a freshman studying nutrition, said she is looking forward to working during those showtimes.

“I personally haven’t heard a lot about this movie,” Awls said. “But I know it has gotten some pretty good reviews, so I expect a decent amount of customers to come see it, but not more or less than usual.”

Despite the praises that The Shape of Water has received, there have also been a few negative reviews of the fantasy-drama film as well. Allyson Huether, an undecided freshman, does not believe that the Amphibian Man is as attractive as he is portrayed.

“I know some people might find his overall physique attractive, but he’s still a sea creature,” Huether said. “He might still have the body of a man, but knowing that he’s still a monster of some kind just makes him unattractive.”

Huether does not find it wrong though that Elisa has fallen in love with the mythical creature, no matter what he looks like.

“It’s kind of like Beauty and The Beast,” Huether said. “(The Shape of Water) is a little creepier than the animated Disney movie, but I think it’s still OK that they fall in love.”

Awls also believes that it is OK for mythical creatures and humans to love each other. Knowing that the main character in The Shape of Water is mute is different, and who Elisa falls in love with is also not like other creatures in film, which Awls finds beautiful.

“I’m all for love, and people are allowed to love who they want to love,” Awls said. “It’s none of my business, and if whoever is involved is happy then that is what’s really important.”

In certain films, movie directors have kept the attractiveness of their mythical creatures a top priority. For example, in James Cameron’s 2009 film Avatar, his main characters were human hybrids with smooth, striped electric-blue colored skin and large mesmerizing eyes. 

Kelsey Nelson, a freshman studying marketing and hospitality and tourism, believes there’s a reason why directors portray their mythical creatures with a certain level of attractiveness.

“Movie directors make their mythical creatures attractive to appeal to the obvious human audience,” Nelson said. “I think of it like if I’m watching a horror movie, I don’t want the antagonist that’s supposed to scare me to be attractive, but if I’m watching something like Harry Potter and a unicorn comes into the scene, I’d want it to be nice to look at.”

Some may say that the attractiveness of mythical creatures in movies has played a major role in how well certain motion pictures perform at the box office. But the plot and the characters that are able to portray the story are what it boils down to.

“I think the true attractiveness of the creature, human or not, is based off of who they are,” Huether said. “It’s what’s on the inside that really matters after all.”


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