I’m sure many of you are eagerly (more like breathlessly) awaiting the release of the Fifty Shades of Grey movie, currently scheduled to hit theaters on Valentine’s Day in 2015. I fear that I too will be sucked into the Shades madness by my gaggle of co-workers demanding that we all see the film together, and to make sure that we have all read the books in advance. Against my better judgment, I gave into the peer pressure and finally purchased Fifty Shades of Grey. I just don’t see the fascination with this story. There is really nothing original about it. I wasn’t blown away by the synopsis of this story. Many of my trusted book buddies hated these books. My mom read the series with her work book club and thought it was drivel and poorly written. A lot of my favorite book blogs destroyed this series in their reviews. To top it all off, my co-worker told me that E.L. James originally crafted this story as Twilight fan-fiction. Uh, okay. With so much hype surrounding this series, I can see how it would be hard to live up to everyone’s expectations. Look, I’m not going to lie, when it comes to “erotic” fiction it’s easy to distinguish between rubbish and masters of the genre. It’s a shame that this genre gets such a bad rap. Nobody wants to read a creepy or poorly written sex scene. Nobody wants to read weird language use or even weirder descriptive phrases. The reality is that this can translate over into any genre. I like well-written stories, well crafted sex scenes, well developed characters, a killer plotline, etc. I never think twice about reading stories from Jaci Burton, Sylvia Day, Karin Tabke, Lora Leigh, or Shayla Black. These ladies deliver, time and time again. I’m only 40% into Fifty Shades of Grey on my Kindle and it’s just an okay read thus far. This book doesn’t seem all that risque or erotic to me. Riveted? Not really. Will I be able to stick with this series? I just don’t know. It’s likely that I won’t. Will I see Fifty Shades of Grey with my co-workers? Probably, but only if they buy me a ticket!
Will the movie be a success? That too is also unclear, at least critically acclaimed anyway. The series is a bestselling phenomenon selling more than 90 million copies. That doesn’t necessarily translate into obscene millions at the box office (word of mouth could kill momentum). The role of the iconic billionaire Christian Grey is being played by Jamie Dornan. Anastasia Steele will be played by Dakota Johnson. I’m still on the fence about the casting in this movie. I do think that Dornan is the better choice to play Christian, but as for Dakota Johnson — not so much. Even after watching the movie trailer it’s not clear to me that main characters share an all consuming connection. Does Johnson have the acting chops to pull a role like this off?
I have my doubts that this type of source material can translate well on the big screen. Mostly because I don’t feel like these characters are romantic in the slightest and the reality is that a lot of these sex scenes will NEVER get past the MPAA. So what are we left with? I hear fans of the series talk about the romance element and the connection that Christian and Ana share and thus far, I have not felt it or seen it in the portion of the story that I have read. It feels pretty soulless to me. Many of these sex scenes will fade to black. The studio wants an R rating to get people in the theater. NC-17 is off the table since most theater chains will not carry the rating, and that will then limit the sales and earning capacity of the film. With many of the sex scenes being cut or dumbed down for the audience, I don’t see the point in making a film that is supposed to highlight Christian’s sexual predilections (his very “singular erotic tastes”) and Ana’s willingness to be “enlightened” if in fact this isn’t tastefully and artfully shown to the audience. I get that NC-17 can be a disaster. Just think about that dreadful movie called “Showgirls”. Just awful in every way possible. But honestly, with most of the base of this series being driven by females, the studio has to know that women aren’t interested in seeing Ana objectified and exploited sexually because the MPAA is willing to show only tits and ass, while the driving force of the story is really Christian and the world that he exposes Ana to. You can bet though that the studio will not bare all of Jamie Dornan. The only real networks with the guts to be honest about male sexuality and exposure are Starz and HBO. I just don’t think these scenes will have a very real or authentic feel to them.
Universal Pictures has launched a very interesting marketing campaign for the movie. Fans can sign-up to become interns for Grey Enterprises Holdings, Inc. and complete assignments/tasks. Recently, Universal Pictures also released an official movie trailer. What do you guys think?