Fifthy Shades of Gray (2015): Most profitable softcore porn ever?
Context: Softcore, Big Hollywood
Overall Excellence: 2
Meh or Lame Parts: 7
So the big hollywood machine has found a way to make softcore porn insanely profitable, by tapping into and adapting female erotica. While it may not be very good, it gets points for bringing something outside the mainstream spotlight and turning it into huge profits.
It is probably better acted than most porn readily available out there, but that isn’t saying much. And its key feature of BSDM, is very light in this, barely qualifying. Some restraints, some teasing with various bsdm implements. And then at the end, there are things he states he wants to do, needs to do, but contains himself, and she finally says yes, to see what those area.
A. She consented to this.
B. At any time, she could have told Christian to stop, as Christian has made it clear time and time again that she can and has safe words to do so.
C. The resulting flogging was mild, to say the least. Obviously, if you don’t enjoy pain, this is going to be a bad experience. I certainly wouldn’t consent to being flogged, as I don’t particularly care for pain, but at the same time, I would never consent to this. She did, so that she could test herself.
Oooh, bsdm, scary! *sigh* Seriously? This is what all the fuss is about? My initial suspicions about this are correct. A lot of people are getting up in arms about the film because they don’t understand it, so they crucify what they don’t understand, instead of accepting that others are not them.
Maybe the book was a lot more… explicit… and maybe Christian Gray in the book was far more controlling, but the movie version, not so much. At every point, Anastasia Steele is given a choice. There is no beating around the bush, everything that Christian states he needs from a relationship is all very clearly laid out. Much of the middle of the film deals with this contract that he wants her to sign, but at the same time, he tells her, if there is anything in the contract she doesn’t feel comfortable with, they can talk about it.
There are a couple cool shots in here (in the board room, with the lighting and the background). The cinematography is very passable. At the same, there is nothing really all that exciting.
The opening interview scene has to be the worst interview I think I’ve ever seen in any movie. The questions are idiotic and directionless. I didn’t understand the point of the interview. The final question, ‘Are you gay?’. Are you kidding me? What the hell does that question have to do with anything? What was the story this friend was trying to write? And the supposed building attraction/tension between the two characters falls so flat.
From the get go, the dialogue ranges from passable to meh to questionable. The scenes are often poorly paced and there was at least one moment where Anastasia is crying to her mother and I cannot for the life of me see why. It seems like there were supposed to be a lot more controlling going on, maybe, or a lot more distance, but that never comes across very clearly before that point, so it leaves the scene meaningless.
Nobody is expecting great writing here, but at the very least, what scenes we are given should hold up. It doesn’t help when there isn’t much plot to work with.
Basically, Boy meets Girl. They somehow like each other, though god knows why by how that interview scene went, then boy wants to date girl, but then he’s too angsty, says he’s not right for girl. Girl is stupid enough to take the bait, and goes for boy, anyway, because girl wants to fix boy. Boy clearly states his rules and intentions. Girl says ok, then tries to change boy, anyway. Boy eventually convinces her to try his way. She consents. Then girl runs away and blames boy. The end.
We’ve seen this story a million times before, and Fifty Shades does it in the most boring way possible.
These are one note characters with not much meat on their bone. Christian Gray has the most potential, but little is shared that could actually develops him and the performance feels so stilted throughout, that kills any potential subtlety. The film feels incomplete for no reason, all in an effort to make Christian more mysterious for future books, I would imagine. But it makes for a really empty film experience when he’s one of two main characters.
At one point, he exclaims, “I’m fifty shades of fucked up.” Well, when are we going to see this? In movie 2? Really? How… boring. It is just all angsty bullshit that promises one day, maybe movie 3, we’ll see just how fucked up he is. Or maybe it is an attempt to be a carrot in front of your face, to always look ahead for what could one day be revealed, but never will be fully, because when the mystery is finally brought to life, it’ll only disappoint, like a M. Night Shyamalan movie. But you still have to make the carrot enticing in the meantime. It doesn’t work as a tease if there is no reason to care about the story and/or the characters.
Anastasia is so… a bookworm virgin who falls for the bad boy. Um, ok. My guess here was that she was designed purely as a vessel for the audience, no matter how… thinly developed she was. The film hinges on her character, and she’s a rather boring one at that.
Meh or Lame Parts
Pretty much throughout the entire movie, there are scenes that don’t quite work and the film goes on and on about Christian being tormented or controlling or whatever, and we’re told a lot, but rarely are we shown much… which may work for a book, but just makes for a pretty boring film.
I cannot imagine going to the theater and being surrounded by a bunch of people watching softcore porn, unless you get off on that. For me, that seems like it should be a rather personal experience, to be viewed at home or with your significant other. There is nothing to see outside of that. We’re not treated to very well defined characters and a very well defined plot or story that just so happens to have softcore sex scenes in it. No, we’re treated to softcore porn whose only reason to exist is to be a sexual fantasy for all the people who enjoyed the book.
If you want a better movie that is more a movie, go watch Secretary, with good performances by James Spader and Maggie Gyllenhaal, but if you want softcore porn with very light BSDM elements, I guess you could do a lot worse than Fifty Shades of Grey.