Friday, 20 February 2015

Fifty Shades of Grey...

Well, he saw me and I don't know how I feel about that.

I went to see Fifty Shades on V-Day. That gorgeous hubby of mine surprised me with a morning out to breakfast followed by a movie date to see a film I wasn't entirely sure I was desperate to see in the first place.

My reservation came before even reading the books. I spent over a year refusing to read them and found myself hating any conversation about the books before it even began because I KNEW that I would be dissatisfied. I knew that all the hype that built up around these "racy" books would leave so much to be desired that I would hate myself for reading them if I ever did break down, which was inevitable. It happened one day, after over a year, and I decided to read them. I downloaded them so as to avoid any kind of a papertrail that would indicate I even thought to read them. I anticipated before I read the first word in the first book that I would detest them, so I didn't want to have a tangible reminder of the fact that I caved and read them sitting right there on my bookshelf for any period of time. I wanted them to be on my Kindle, for free, and then I wanted to delete their existence forever whilst being able to justify to myself smugly that at least I tried.

I nestled into bed with that stinky puppy and snoring husband of mine, fully planning to begin reading the first book and then shut the rest of the hype down. My belief that I would hate those books was so enormous that I literally didn't even plan to finish the first book. I was going to put in a cursory effort and stop reading the instant I lost interest, all so I could participate in snippets of conversation, gasp at how shocking the sex scenes were, and then fade into the distance, hoping nobody would notice.

But then I started reading and literally read that first book in just over eight hours. I read it and without even skipping a beat, began the second. The same pattern repeated itself with the third. I literally didn't sleep for two nights and finished all three books in three days, which is practically unheard of in my world. Only a handful of other books have had such an effect on me, but this one was a strange one. I didn't find myself consumed by them because they were so enthralling that I just had to finish them all immediately. I read them aggressively because I had very, VERY meager expectations of them and they met and superseded those tiny expectations. I fell in love with them because they really did offer me something different (from my typical true crime and anatomy books) and were relatively enthralling. They were exciting, interesting enough, and honestly, they inspired me to be slightly more adventurous (albeit not quite as saucy or disgusting) in the bedroom.

For the film though, I expected more. I expected my imagination to be met by Hollywood for a visual explosion on the screen. Instead, my aggressive hopes for the film were devastated upon the casting of Christian Grey. Never, under any circumstances was there anybody else that could have played Christian better than Alexander Skarsgard. Instead, they picked Jamie Dornan, the sack of shit, which actually could have played Christian better than the person they actually cast.

I literally seethed for months and the day casting was announced was the day that I decided I wasn't going to like the film. This decision broke any semblance of hope that I had for the films. Like every other person that read the books, I had an image in my head of what Christian looked like and it most certainly wasn't Jamie Dornan.Occasionally, it was my husband, and the rest of the time, it was Alexander Skarsgard. The huge, beautiful, blonde Adonis that steals my heart every time his gorgeous Swedish face is caught by my eyes.

So that is the first factor that needs to be taken into consideration when it comes to my personal opinion of this film. I was devastated by the terrible casting of the single most important character in the it. I don't care about who they cast as Anastasia, Kate or even Elliot. There was never a clear picture of them in my mind. They were a non-entity, so whomever they cast as them would be fine.

But Christian. Sigh. I know that Universal Studios themselves were never going to be able to please everyone, so why would they single me out as the one person that they would satisfy with their casting of Christian? The problem is, I literally don't know a single person who was pleased with the casting choice. I'm sure there ARE people who are more than pleased with him, but of the many, MANY individuals I know, not one of them can say with any form in clarity, that they felt that Universal made the right choice.

As for the actual review? First and foremost, the acting was terrible. Now, to say that the acting was terrible, that is indeed taking into account the fact that I am VERY aware that the storyline they had to work off of wasn't top-notch to begin with. I KNOW that the film's script is almost a carbon-copy of the books, which I loved. I adore the fact that the screenwriters really kept with the book, leaving no lingering hopes for scenes from the book. The script,  scene direction, and even wardrobe was everything I expected it to be. It left nothing to be desired.

In fact, this was my second largest concern about this film. I never, ever, under any circumstances will go out of my way to read a book before it is made into a film. I will typically avoid it at all costs. I know that the world as a whole is split pretty consistently down the middle on whether they like to see the film before or after reading the book, but I myself am of the former persuasion and like to go into a film surprised and also satisfied that I am not missing out on my favourite bits of storyline that I drew grand images of in my mind. I've been burned far too many times this way and just don't want to have to allow that kind of disappointment into my world if I can help it. So when the announcement was made that there would be a film made from the books, I was pretty devastated. I had read the books and developed the characters, locations, and quirks in my mind and was pleased with my work. I didn't NEED Hollywood to come in and stomp all over them with their shit-covered boots like they tend to do with any other book-to-film adaptation that they do.

So I went in with supremely low expectations, which were met. I mean, it was a very low bar. I knew, prior to the film even being made, that it was not going to be the best film I ever saw, and I was pleased to see that it also wasn't the worst. At it's base, it's a story about a consensual sexual relationship between a man and a woman. Two people who are broken to some degree and who make one another better. It's a story about liberation, discovery, and stimulation of desires that are often left in the wayside because of social taboos that have crippled our world. I think it was approached tastefully and with a pretty hefty degree of modesty given the content and stigma attached to the content.

Neither of the main actors were overly convincing in their passion and position in social standing, which was disappointing, but not devastating. I've watched enough B-Z movies to know bad acting from worse acting, so the displays put forth by our Mr. and Ms. were manageable to watch. I just wish that they had tried a little harder.

The soundtrack was glorious. Danny Elfman can do almost no wrong, so that was a plus. It doesn't hurt that I am a particularly large sucker for cover songs of any variety.

Other than the terrible casting, mediocre acting, and wonderful soundtrack, there's not a lot to report. It's a movie. It's a bit of a love story, there's a heap of boobies and bush in it for the men-folk, and you get a pretty heaping dose of Seattle, which is nice for those of us who either live here or are in love with the rainy wonder that is the Pacific Northwest.

Overall, I'd give the film three out of five stars. Not the best and certainly not the worst. 


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