Fifty Shades Trailer: A Resounding ‘Meh’

The first trail­er for “Fifty Shades of Grey” has land­ed on YouTube with the wet plop of an over­filled colosto­my bag. What kind of movie can we expect now that we’ve got­ten a hint?

The first trail­er for Fifty Shades of Grey has land­ed on YouTube with the wet plop of an over­filled colosto­my bag. What kind of movie can we expect now that we’ve got­ten a hint?

Ooh, a blind­fold. How outré.

I’m part of the fetish com­mu­ni­ty, so it seems I’m oblig­at­ed to loathe the movie. I’m try­ing to resist the urge: I want­ed to like the books and the movie, or at least give them a chance. And if it does cause an influx of new peo­ple into local munch­es and play par­ties and oth­er fetish events, that would be great. The more the merrier.

But dog­gone it, they just seem to be mak­ing this as bad­ly as pos­si­ble on pur­pose. The peo­ple who just want to be tit­il­lat­ed by some hot bondage and sex scenes are prob­a­bly going to be dis­ap­point­ed; the peo­ple hop­ing for a respectful/insightful por­tray­al of BDSM are def­i­nite­ly going to be disappointed.

Rather than the “inno­cent waif jour­neys to the dark side, where they have whips and chains and cook­ies” sto­ry they appear to be sell­ing, it looks as if it’s going to be more like 9 1/2 Weeks: the tried-and-true “tor­rid love affair doomed by his twist­ed needs and her inabil­i­ty to ful­fill them.”

9 1/2 Weeks was at least an inter­est­ing, if flawed, movie adapt­ed from an excel­lent book. I’ve read both books and think 9 1/2 Weeks was far bet­ter than Fifty Shades of Grey; I of course haven’t seen the 50 Shades movie yet but I’m not con­fi­dent it will be even half as good as the 9 1/2 Weeks film.

Who­ev­er put togeth­er this trail­er seems to have fall­en into the same trap as who­ev­er did the trail­er for Sec­re­tary: They were afraid the movie would­n’t stand on its own mer­its, so they crammed all the BDSM they could into the trail­er, hop­ing to at least sell some tick­ets on the promise of Mag­gie Gyl­len­haal engag­ing in lots of kinky sex. In real­i­ty, the fetish scenes in Sec­re­tary were inci­den­tal to a damned good story.

The Fifty Shades trail­er, I sus­pect, does the same thing, except that there won’t be a great sto­ry or any great act­ing hid­den behind it. I could be be wrong, but I sus­pect they’re chick­en­ing out of a frank depic­tion of even the mea­ger amount of BDSM from the Fifty Shades book, and will end up with less kinky sex than a lot of movies that aren’t even about kinky sex. Dis­ap­point­ing, but not surprising.

I was, how­ev­er, sur­prised by one thing: I believe the movie won’t do the book jus­tice at all. I mean, yes; Fifty Shades hit a nerve and became a run­away best­seller, but no one pre­tends it breaks any new ground or is great sto­ry­telling. Yet the movie, if you ask me, shows every sign of mis­er­ably fail­ing to adapt it to screen.

When the movie opens next Valen­tine’s Day, I pre­dict we’re going to hear the kind of out­raged howls from a dis­ap­point­ed fan base we heard back when Exit to Eden hit the­aters: Only Hol­ly­wood could turn Anne Rice’s ter­rif­ic literot­i­ca into a bud­dy cop/romcom/action atroc­i­ty so awful even Dana Delaney could­n’t sex it up.

Sor­ry, Hol­ly­wood, but you’re not get­ting any ben­e­fit of the doubt from me. I can’t even muster the ener­gy for a thumbs down or “It stinks!

I give the trail­er the same rat­ing as my expec­ta­tions for the full movie: a resound­ing “Meh.”