|Photo Credit: Fifty Shades Darker / Universal Pictures|
50 Shades of Grey leaves this "whirlwind romance" with Ana literally closing the door on Christian to escape the beginning of their cray-cray relationship. Taking off like Wile E. Coyote and abandoning his issues into the dust would've made for a great singular movie, but like all warped fairytales where the girl stays in love with psycho "prince charming" for reasons, she stays and wants to fix Christian in the hopes that he will learn to love her in return. That said 50 Shades Darker should really be called 50 Shady Sociopaths:
That's totally romantic....o_O
- Ana because she thinks she can change a guy who has issues
- Christian who clearly has issues
- his ex-submissive comes back to ruin his life
- Ana's photographer friend Jose has a crush on her/won't take no for an answer despite her clear lack of interest in him
- Ana's boss is also obsessed with her and Christian
- "Mrs. Robinson" (PLAYED BY KIM BASINGER) tries to derail Christian and Ana's relationship
the first film wasn't bad, but her work and intentions with the movie were definitely stifled from the quarrels she and author E.L. James had. A new director (James Foley) helming the sequel isn't a bad move, but I question how the film will be interrupted. Since the film is supposed to explore a woman's sexuality, having a male's perspective, especially for the sex scenes, hopefully won't make it too gratuitous or male-gazey. From Foley's past work I've liked Glengarry Glenn Ross and Confidence. And to his credit, he directed Fear and Perfect Stranger which centers on abusive men stalking young women. Since Anastasia is fighting off four crazies at once, this may be up his alley.
Visually, I'm surprised the masquerade doesn't look like a Dollar General's bargain bin of Mardi Gras supplies. It veers close to an Eyes Wide Shut aesthetic and you definitely get the sense of just how loaded Grey and his extended family are. It's obvious that Universal Pictures spared no expense to make the production as opulent as the first movie. Even the rest of the sets and locations follow it's predecessor's style so it may not feel jarring that two different people have directed the franchise.
I want to give Jamie credit for the first movie, but his acting doesn't seem to be getting stronger in post 50 Shades projects. His acting is coming across more wooden than Pinocchio...but he seems a little less apprehensive here. I hope he just does something else with the role 'cause it's not working....
Oooh, maybe he can actually get naked. That would be make him better. The only thing hinting at sex is a shower scene. The brief peek here only irritated and reminded me how much Dakota suffered from the male gaze in the first movie. She's more than capable of flashing her body every five minutes, and Jamie needs to give his fair share. He’ll play a psycho-killer sexualizing violence against women in The Fall but he’ll only go shirtless once in a major "erotica" movie. Way to have double standards, dude. I guess you can say I am a proponent for nude equality?
While parts of the production give me hope (the costume design is still on-point), the soundtrack needs help fast. If 99% of the adult human race hated the first film, most agreed the soundtrack was kick-ass. It featured Annie Lennox, The Weekend, Ellie Goulding, Beyonce. For the sequel, we're not starting off on the right foot here with Miguel's cover of Beyonce's Crazy In Love. It's not too bad playing throughout the trailer, but those last five seconds.... are just creepy. *crossing my fingers*
50 Shades Darker will officially hit theaters on February 13th, 2017. You'll know where I'll be.