By some bizarre coincidence, just over a week after I wrote about my disgust towards the upcoming ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ soon to be vomited on to cinema screens, CinemaCon kicks off and presents us with teasers concerning the much unwanted monstrosity. At the moment the public only have posters and more plot details, if plot isn’t too heavy a word to use, and we’re assured actual footage of the film is soon to be released into the public domain. This has already sent fans of the book into a frenzy of excitement, claiming it will be one of the best films of all time. After nearly choking on my tea, readjusting on my seat and re reading the comments I think I’m ready to pick up from where I left off; the film has the potential to be absolutely awful.
I know fans of the book are already defending it, saying it will be good and it will have some level of depth to it, but honestly I think those people are being far too optimistic. It’s the equivalent of people being stuck on the Titanic as it was sinking, but not actually panicking because they’re convinced the ship will sprout wings and fly off in to the sunset. In reality, they’re stuck clinging to the barriers on the main deck listening to Kate Winslet recite everything that’s happened between her and Leo so far.
Do people honestly think it’s going to be artistic? Based on the source material and how good that is, I think people need to lower their expectations. A word that I’d use to describe what I think the film will be like would be something more along the lines of “tedious” or “uncomfortable”, seems to have a certain ring to it. I think the reason I’m not a fan of the book is because I’m not middle aged and looking for a bit of thrill whilst sat on a sun bed on holiday.
Various words are already being thrown about to describe the film, all of which are a little unrealistic. I’ve actually taken the time to compile a list of words that people are using to describe the film, just so I can show how annoyed I am at people:
#1 “exciting” – the last time I checked the definition of the word was a little different from watching two characters who are based heavily on stereotypes, locked in a relationship that no one cares about.
#2 “romantic” – it’s not exactly going to be Casablanca is it?
#3 “dramatic” – based on how the plot of the book runs I’d say there’s more tension in the opening sequence of ‘The Curse of the Were-Rabbit’ than there is going to be through the entirety of the film.
#4 “sexy” – now as I’ve explained before when I talked of ‘500 Days of Summer’ a couple of weeks ago, I hate the use of this word when describing a film. It suggests to me that there is nothing else to say about a film, there is no other merit to it other than the possibility of frontal nudity. If a film is described as “sexy” then I try to avoid it at all costs.
#5 “erotic” – see now this is the one that confuses me, because it makes it sound more complex than it actually is. I think a better term you could use to describe it is “sexually frustrated”. Some of the things described in the book sound like they’ve been taken directly from a teenage girl’s tumblr page. Equally it sounds as thought it was written by someone who writes fan fiction on a regular basis. Just replace the names of Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele with character from ‘Doctor Who’, ‘Sherlock’ or ‘Supernatural’ and that’s essentially what you’ve got here.
So as you can probably tell I’m still quite bitter about the whole situation and I still maintain the opinion that the film shouldn’t be made. In today’s world, where we are striving for gender equality, why would we want to see a film based on such stereotypical characters that are actually quite demeaning to both genders? You’ve got the male character who sees himself as dominant in every scenario and likes to assert this dominance as often as he can, and then the female character who sees this dominance as acceptable and then acts accordingly based on the out dated idea that sexual favours are the only way to please a man.
It just makes me think back to the James Bond films from the sixties, with Sean Connery spanking women on screen and telling them not to talk, or taking their bra off and using it to strangle them. That sort of behaviour was looked down upon and quite rightly so, and yet a film that’s going to show a billionaire asserting his dominance in an openly sexual fashion appears to be fine. I cannot comprehend why people find the character or Christian Grey as interesting as they do. He sounds like you’ve taken Richard Branson, filled him with the arrogance of a footballer and then given him the sexual frustration of a teenage boy with an internet porn addiction. That person sounds as repellent as Christian Grey actually is. But apparently because the book became a best seller we can forgive all of the monstrosities presented in the book. I think not.
And as if I’m not annoyed enough already, I can already tell that the film is going to ask me to do at least one of the following things:
1. Forgive Mr Grey for all of his deviant acts – not going to happen I’m afraid. If I could throw bricks at him I would, alas he is but a name on a piece of paper.
2. Sympathise with Miss Steele – also not going to happen. Her character is but another one added to a long list of characters who learn what true romance is the hard way by falling for someone with a poisonous personality. As if we haven’t seen that before countless times.
Neither of these are going to happen I’m afraid. You’ve got a male character who reminds me of Jordan Belfort, treating women in a disgusting manner and then indulging in whatever sexual activities he sees fit because he has so much money. Then a female character who reminds me of Daisy Buchanan from ‘The Great Gatsby’, presenting women as frail and easily manipulated by men. I don’t know if the writer of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ is aware of this but times have changed. Presenting such outdated caricatures whose character development relies on stereotypes is not only infuriating, but it’s bordering on offensive.
If people want to see a film that’s based on uncontrolled sexual behaviour, the challenging of social norms, an uncomfortable story line and a collection of characters you dislike then I would refer them straight away to Paul Thomas Anderson’s ‘Boogie Nights’. I will admit that it is one of my favourite films but it’s because it was written and directed by someone who has a good sense of film and understands that visual style and careful writing are at the heart of a good film. The writing behind the ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ film would have to be completely reworked and change almost every element of it, most importantly the characters, so it can start from scratch and attempt to make a half decent piece of film.
So in response to what the posters are saying (“Mr Grey will see you now”), I’m afraid he shan’t be seeing me any time soon, and nor will I be seeing him soon. Because while other people are going to be sucked in to it and fuel the film’s success at the box office, I’ll avoid it as best as I can to ensure myself that I have some form of dignity in this life.
Like I said last week, I want to be proved wrong on this. I want the film to actually be good to show me that I should stop being judgemental and that I should actually give things a fair chance. I want it to prove me wrong and give me a good cinema experience because it’s one of the best feelings for someone who is a fan of film. But at the moment it is looking very doubtful. If there is a constant media trail for a film then I start to lose faith quite early on, but it’s just because the book is so badly written, so uninteresting, so utterly without merit, that I fail to see how a good film can be made from it. But I still have hope that I will be proved wrong.
As it stands, the very idea of the film is making me think back to when I watched ‘Cloud Atlas’. It’s making me think that maybe there are worse books out there to make in to a film. Maybe ‘Cloud Atlas’ had something after all.