Fifty Shades of Hell No

It is a difficult task to write about 50 Shades of Grey with any objectivity. I am not a fan of the books (I thought the first was horribly written and stopped there), and I have some issues with the content (no, not the sex). But it is fair to say that the movie is better written than the book. That does not mean the movie is good (it’s horrible), but at least it is better than the book.

Since this started as a Twilight fan fiction, you know the plot already. Virginal girl in Washington falls for a strange man who is way out of her league. He takes a strange attraction too her and claims he’s no good for her because of his secret. But instead of being a vampire, he’s a sadist with a “Red Room of Pain.” He takes her through sexual discovery by dominating her in every way. It’s a love story.

The movie thankful does not feature narration by Anastasia “Ana” Steele. Instead, the movie keeps the trite dialogue while more fluidly transitioning from one scene to another. “Goddess” is used only one time, and the “Oh My God”s are kept at a minimum. But there is no way to hide the Twilight parallels in almost every scene. I can just see E.L. James’ lawyer going over the content with a fine tip comb. “O.K., the rescue from the bicycle is different enough from the Tyler’s car but José has to be a different minority.” I would rather have watched Twilight.

fifty-shades-of-grey-movieDakota Johnson makes a good Bella-excuse me-Ana, but Jamie Dornan is horribly miscast as the titular Grey. He is good-looking and has a nice body, but he is not a good fit for the character. The reasons are two-fold. The first is that he looks like a young Colin Firth and that doesn’t go with the Christian Grey persona at all; it’s actually kind of terrifying to think of Firth in this role. The second is that his accent is terrible. If he had a voice acting coach, no other actor needs to hire them. The only good thing about Dornan being in it is that means Charlie Hunnam got out (Thank Goddess!).

There is one good thing about the film: it manages to give Ana more power than she did in the book. My friends tell me everything happened the same way in the book, but the book was so poorly written that it was hard to interpret any nuisances. When Ana goes to the conference room to negotiate the contract in the film, she is confident and forth coming. The movie makes it more apparent there is more of a balance between the two (only ever so slightly though).

While its claim to fame is nudity and sex, it’s the movie’s ability to transcend the book that is its positive aspect. The movie is truly horrible but it’s better than its book counterpart. That is a rare success for any movie.

By the Book: Breaking Dawn

Contains Spoilers

The Twilight Saga movies have a tumultuous history. The first adaptation was a horrible movie, slicing and cutting at fan favorite books passages. The movies became increasing better culminating with Eclipse. Break Dawn Part 2 takes after Eclipse as an adaptation; it takes the best from the book and makes it better.

Breaking Dawn Part 2 includes material from the last 400 pages of the book and picks up where the last movie left off: Bella’s transformation to vampire. Overall the movie is a loyal adaptation to the source material. The movie cuts out small portions in order to move the story along. The only real loss was the fear J. Jenks felt for Jasper (and I was hoping for a created flashback for that).

But like the other installments, it reduces or cuts out character completely. With this being said, the movie does include the majority of the Cullen’s witness though it cuts down on the Volturi clan. These new characters are well cast and, unlike previous installments, look like the characters in Stephenie Meyer’s book. And many of the characters lines come directly from the book.

Changes in the movie do make correct some issues with the novel. I personally was quite upset that there was no fight after the build up of other vampires. Other complained that there were no deaths and fans did not have to mourn. I understand this point, but I like for my characters to live. The twist ending changes these complaints making the movie compelling and keeps fans on their toys. It’s like watching The Walking Dead and getting a great surprise in the TV that wasn’t in the comics. Fans should stick with the movie through the twist, no matter their first reaction. In fact, the ending gives a more “happily ever after” outlook than the book by including scenes Alice envisioning the future.  Even the credit give homage to the whole cast and fans feel like they are saying good bye to old friends, just like they felt when they closed the final book.

The movie also makes Bella a little less perfect. She has great self control but in the movie she actually gets close to the human before turning back. Unfortunately, the acting does not hold up in her fury towards Jacob though Stewart does well with the mother/daughter bond. It boggles me why Bella has more color as a vampire than she did as a human. Otherwise, seeing beloved characters come to life is a treat for fans.

Breaking Dawn Part 2 is one of the better movies in the Twilight Saga and Melissa Rosenberg expands on the material already written by Meyer. Fans will be please with the ending of this installment as a stand alone movie, and also as an ending to a beloved movie journey.