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50 Shades of Grey: Twilight, but without sparkly vampires

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Fifty Shades of Grey

Surrounded by a fanfare of media attention and controversy, the film adaptation of E. L. James’ 50 Shades of Grey has finally reached the cinemas.

Accompanied by huge interest in how the notoriously raunchy content of the books has been translated into a big budget movie at the hands of up and coming director Sam Taylor-Johnson, the film attempts to live up to the hype in following the tumultuous relationship between billionaire Christian Grey and naïve student Anastasia Steele.

Ultimately, the film neither sticks or twists with its direction, leaving fans of the book series and film goers disappointed with the final product.

Starting with a series of shots following young, successful entrepreneur Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan), we are then transported to the first meeting between Christian and Anastasia (Dakota Johnson). This first meeting is something that is greatly anticipated, the moment that begins the very twisted and questionable relationship.

For those who haven’t seen the film or read the book, the catch behind the ‘fairytale’ relationship is Christian wants slightly more than your average relationship when it comes to the bedroom, but Anastasia yearns for a more traditional and classically romantic boyfriend.

Despite both playing the roles with intent, the chemistry between the two is gravely lacking, and any potential interest in how they can work things out is stilted by awkward, forced dialogue and poor pacing. Grey comes across as more abusive and controlling, rather than the dominant, while Steele does her best to channel Kristen Stewart’s character from Twilight, whether this is a nod to the books originally being fan-fiction of the Twilight series or not, (and therefore accounting for the almost perfectly replicated story and characters as well as the unimaginative dialogue), it doesn’t that help you have empathy for her character, who aimlessly wanders from scene to scene without purpose and her attempts at being witty falling flat.

With very little support from the rest of the cast, who are shunted into minor cameos including Rita Ora, who was almost unnoticeable as Christian’s sister Mia, the film feels much longer than its 125 minute running time. Even the much vaunted erotic nature of the novels is massively toned down in the film – which will leave fans of the books disappointed as most of the film is based around the moral struggle Steele has dealing with the submissive role Grey has planned for her.

50 Shades will not appease movie goers as it doesn’t provide an interesting relationship on the screen. The watered down sex scenes neither stay true to the original book, nor do they lend much to the plot-less film, thereby leading to a missed opportunity for the series to capitalise on the attention it received prior to its release. Fifty Shades ends up as another less than mediocre and barely erotic drama, with its one saving grace being the subtle nod to Alice in Wonderland.

50 Shades of Grey was released on Friday February 13 and can be seen at all local cinemas.

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