Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Fifty Shades of Grey

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching!  What a disappointment.  Not even one shade is ever shown in this entire film.

Fifty Shades of Grey – 1 out of 5

I think it goes without saying that I’ve never read any of the Fifty Shades of Grey books.  I’m a guy who spends more money each week on comic books and action figures than I do groceries so it is totally reasonable to assume that I’m not a part of the desired demographic for the novels.  When the film adaptation came out, I immediate stated that this was one I’d be willing to watch but not something I’d leap at the opportunity to do so.  Well, instead of watching the big game of sportsball (I’m also not a sports guy, by the way) I ended up watching this one with my girlfriend.  I think it’s pretty obvious that I wasn’t impressed.

Oh look, in the first ten minutes we see our female lead trip in fall in front of the
male lead!  That's fiction shorthand to mean she's adorably awkward and

Patrick Bateman is off-camera freaking out over
Christian Grey's business card.
Meek and shy Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) has a problem.  First off, she has a ridiculous name that would never exist in real life and, secondly, she just met the handsome, dashing, charming (in theory, anyway) and rich Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan).  She’s quite smitten with this man but she soon learns that he harbors a sexual secret.  You see, Grey is really into the BDSM lifestyle and he seeks to make Anastasia his new partner.  However, Anastasia wants to have a normal relationship but, you know, he’s rich so she’ll consider her options.  In order for this to take place, though, Anastasia has to sign a contract that offers up her consent to the naughty goings-on behind closed doors but she doesn’t know if she’s ready for that…or any of this unconventional relationship stuff.

Maybe Grey isn't so bad.  I mean, she does this terrible white girl dancing in front of him and he still decides to pursue her.

I’ll put this bluntly:  Fifty Shades of Grey is boring.  So fucking boring.  So boring that I had to drop an F-Bomb there and I made a pledge to cut down on my swearing in my reviews.  You hear that, Fifty Shades of Grey?  You made me swear in my review!  Now, why is it boring?  Well, there’s the dragging pace that never goes faster than a snail on downers.  There’s the absolutely atrocious dialogue that feels like it was first draft material by an alien that is visiting our planet and who has never heard the spoken word ever.  Finally, there’s the completely interest-devoid characters who are played with such lackluster by the actors that I actually wondered why they even agreed to do the parts in the first place because it looks like neither of them care enough to try—and to call them uninteresting is really weird because one of them literally has a fascinating sexual fetish that should, on some level, pique some curiosity but this movie did a miracle and actually made this element mundane and boring.  In other words, if you like watching two bland and boring characters with no dynamic to either of them or even on-screen chemistry unconvincingly exchange poorly written dialogue for two hours only to be broken for monotonous sex scenes that feel lifted from a 80s Cinemax movie, this one is for you.  For me, though?  Holy shit was I bored.

I feel like I need to point out that this scene is a contact negotiation moment.
I realize the sexual nature of the contract but how can you read anything
in that light?!?

I tried really hard to find some redeeming factors in this one but I just couldn’t get invested enough to locate them.  I could make the easy joke that I was fighting to stay awake but, in reality, I was struggling to find some sort of endearing moments within the story.  I’m no stranger to romantic dramas and what makes a good one (even when it’s an unconventional one that has some BDSM mixed in) is having two characters you can sympathize with.  It’s a part of these films to always have the one character (usually the guy) that is standoffish and, sometimes, even a jerk but a good romantic film will show the audience that underneath his flaws is a heart of gold that the love interest sees in them.  I never saw this in Fifty Shades of Grey.  For the life of me, the only thing I saw in this is that Grey was exciting and new (and rich) to Anastasia.  There was nothing about him as a person that made him attractive.  

Who needs a dynamic personality that extends beyond a single sexual
preference when you have helicopter money?

Thanks to clunky dialogue and really wooden performances, nothing about Grey screamed boyfriend material and all the feelings I saw in Anastasia just felt false, fake and superficial.  There’s even a point where they have a flashback to all the good times that they had together so, in a very formulaic and cliché way, the film reiterates why she cares for this guy who is basically a bit of a scumbag on the surface but when these parts came up, I still never felt like what these two had was legit.  Hell, even from Christian's perspective, I found nothing in Anastasia that he'd be attracted to.  Maybe it was his curiosity but all interesting elements of her are superficial and beyond the fact she plays hard to get, I found nothing about her character that made me understand what he saw in her.  The painful reality I found was that Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan just had no chemistry together—hence the reason why I claimed his charisma is theoretical in the story synopsis.  Every moment they feel and act awkwardly and I had to endure that for TWO FREAKING HOURS.  To make matters worse, I was unable to tell if both of them were just that bad of actors or is the script was just so terrible that neither could do anything to make it better.

"Hi, I'm Christian Grey.  My middle name is Bland."

Now let’s talk about what everyone thinks about when you mention Fifty Shades of Grey:  The sex.  I will admit that the sex scenes are probably the only well-made thing in this film—and that’s kinda telling because it probably means that all the work was put into these moments and everything else is an afterthought.  These moments are actually terrifically filmed and have some great music to them.  Granted, Johnson and Dornan still don’t have chemistry and Johnson looks like she’s overacting her pleasure but these are probably the best constructed moments of the film.  However, I’m not the kind of guy who will put a movie in the Win Column just because he saw some naughty bits shoved into an otherwise bad movie.  So, even with well-built sex scenes, it’s not enough to save Fifty Shades of Grey and make it even remotely interesting.

This is the closest screencap I can come up with to show the sex scenes.

It needs to be repeated that I’m not the intended audience for this feature but, even then, I’m not sure who can really find this film that engaging.  Fifty Shades of Grey suffers terribly from its two mains characters who really come off like neither of them can act and each spitting out really awful dialogue within a plot that never feels like it is ever building towards anything and ultimately comes to an ending that is wholly unsatisfying and shockingly abrupt.  Overall, I found this to be just an atrociously boring and totally uninteresting film.

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