50 Shades of Grey DVD Review

DVD Review by Clayton Barnett
50 Shades of Grey

The Premise
When Anastasia Steele, a literature student, goes to interview the wealthy Christian Grey, as a favor to her roommate Kate Kavanagh, she encounters a beautiful, brilliant and intimidating man. The innocent and naive Ana started to realize she wants him, despite his enigmatic reserve and advice, she finds herself desperate to get close to him. Not able to resist Ana's beauty and independent spirit, Christian Grey admits he wants her too, but in his own terms. Ana hesitates as she discovers the singular tastes of Christian Grey - despite his success, his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family - Grey is consumed by the need to control everything.
The Review

When I got the chance to review Fifty Shades of Grey I immediately thought – um, A- I’m the wrong target market, and B- who am I going to take? Cancel out my mother (a usual film-preview attendee) and any guy friends. Some female friends would think what the hell was I suggesting too, or others might even get the wrong idea. But then I realised this could potentially be a great date flick. Worst case scenario is that it’s just so-bad-it’s-good that we can enjoy a bit of a laugh.

So I lined up a potential date, who’s half Irish so I knew she’d be up for some good craic. After a couple of drinks we were in the right frame of mind and headed to Cinema. Everyone was standing around nervously like it was a third form social and when the call came to go in there was a stampede to seats like I’ve never seen before. Someone whooped as the lights dimmed, which caused everyone to snicker, and we knew this was going to be fun.

Right off the bat this movie is critic proof as pre-sales have been going gangbusters. Fans of the book have already organised outings with their lady friends and will see it no matter whether a reviewer rubbishes it. It’s like telling people Transformers Age of Extinction is steaming pile of excrement – it still ended up being the biggest movie of last year in the world.

And if you’re not taking this seriously, the first half of 50 Shades is pretty entertaining as the tension builds. Everyone was having a good laugh at the cheese ball dialogue and the verbal (and physical) foreplay between Anna and Grey was a hoot.  But once we get some - let’s say release - the whole Mills and Boons melodrama gets a bit much. Not to say Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan don’t try their best. Dakota does the whole mousey wallflower thing well and Dornan is great, and buff, as Grey (Charlie Hunnam would never have been as slick). But this is fan-fiction at it’s most dire. The characters are too clich├ęd and just don’t act like real people. Grey needed to be so more badass and if Anastasia wasn’t a virgin, and possibly could have stopped biting her lip just once, things would have been a little more believable.

But we’re not here for nit-picking; we’re here for SEX. Unadulterated dodgy BDSM sex. As a guy that’s pretty much what I turned up for, and Dakota and Dornan do the no pants dance a lot. There’s some good chemistry and one use of an ice cube will definitely get a few heartbeats pulsing.

Though the red room / BDSM antics are pretty tame. Frankly I’ve seen more in Game of Thrones and that’s 50 Shades problem here. TV have gotten away with so much sex these days that 50 Shades really needed to push the boat out. But to get more ticket sales they’ve toned down the dodgy (taking out the infamous tampon sex scene for one) and it just felt a bit of an anti-climax.

Getting indie female director Sam Taylor-Johnson (Nowhere Boy) on board was smart – she seems to be having fun with the source material and there are some eye-catching sequences. I think a few people will be signing up for glider flights after this film. She’s selected a good soundtrack too, with the likes of Sia, Weeknd and the Rolling Stones. But the best is Beyonce’s powerful reworking of Crazy in Love, used in the trailer and the first proper use of the red room.

If anything 50 Shades will make a brilliant drinking game in the future. Drink anytime Anastasia bites her lip. take a shot when there’s a really obvious metaphor - say when Anastasia’s crying and it’s raining outside. And finish your vessel anytime Grey says I don’t do romance. Now that would be far more entertaining.
The Verdict
As a guy I’m the wrong target market and some girls are going to flock to this no matter what I say. And you know what? They’re going to get their moneys worth. No one’s lining up for Shakespeare here, the dialogue might be awful but it’s slightly dodgy sex they want and it’s slightly dodgy sex they will get. Laughs will be had and bubbles will be drunk.
The Trailer
The Info
Releases: 10th June 2015
Rating: R18 – Contains sex scenes & offensive language
Duration: 125 minutes
Genre:  Lady Porn
Starring: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan & Luke Grimes
Director: Sam Taylor-Johnson (Debit Feature Film)
The Extras
Angelina Jolie was offered the chance to direct, but she declined.
Jamie Dornan had to learn how to walk differently to play his character since he tends to walk on his toes than his heels.
After its premiere on July 24, 2014, the first trailer for the film became the most viewed trailer of 2014 after it gained over 100 million views in just over a week. Universal and Focus Features cited online marketing and social media for the overwhelming amount of views.
The initial audition for the role of Anastasia Steele included reading a monologue from Ingmar Bergman's film, Persona (1966). The monologue was utilized to see if the actress could maturely and comfortably handle the film's subject matter.