Big week for BMT as we are attending the first BMT Live! of the year! Hooray! As expected (although not exactly desired) we will be watching Fifty Shades Darker. Less hooray! We watched the first film as part of BMT in 2015. As part of that viewing I actually read the first book. A direct consequence of that is that I did not read the second book this time around. I literally couldn’t bring myself to do it. The first book may be the worst thing I’ve ever read (and I read the first two Twilight books). It’s not even because they are ridiculous soap opera-like porn books for women. I’m fine with that (again, I read Twilight, which spends 90% of the book talking about the finer qualities of different characters abs). No, its greatest crime was simply that is was soooooo fucking boooorrrrrring. Nothing happens. Sure they have sex a few times but they could have at least attempted to make a coherent plot. Instead it’s just one long drama about two fairly boring people arguing over a legal contract… that’s it. I shudder even imagining having to read the second book. So instead we are going in blind, baby! A final note, this is the fifth BMT Live! We’ve had and this is the first instance where the film chosen actually fits the cycle that we are currently in. Congrats! We are nailing it here at BMTHQ. Let’s go!
Fifty Shades Darker (2017) – BMeTric: 54.5
(There is nothing in the internet archive for the movie as of February 19, 2017! I will say that at the moment Fifty Shades Darker has a 4.9 on IMDb whereas Fifty Shades of Grey settled comfortably at 4.1. I would guess that indeed it will regress to the predecessor in this case once non-mega fans get a hold of it.)
RogerEbert.com – 2 stars – “Fifty Shades Darker” is less interested in exploring how the power plays of S&M have to be negotiated (a rich topic), and more interested in the conventional narrative of a damaged man terrified of intimacy and a loving woman waiting for him to transform into the wonderful boyfriend that she knows is inside of him. “Fifty Shades Darker” may wear leather and chains, but it’s still a retro bore.
(Yeah … sounds about right. I’ve heard criticisms of the films dressed up in all kinds of ways. But do you know what is always consistent? That they are boring. Can’t wait to pay money to be the creepy alone-guy in a theater … real excited.)
(Pretty tantalizing stuff. So the last movie was basically “will she sign the sex contract”. This one appears to be “oh … is Grey going to change a bit?”. Wait … did she sign the sex contract? I feel like I’m going to end up totally lost in this movie since I have zero interest in re-watching the first one and obviously can’t read the books.)
Directors – James Foley – (Known For: Glengarry Glen Ross; At Close Range; Confidence: After Dark; The Corruptor; After Dark, My Sweet; Two Bits; BMT: Who’s That Girl; Fifty Shades Darker; Perfect Stranger; Fear; The Chamber; Notes: Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1988 for Worst Director for Who’s That Girl; Directs some television now (including 12 episodes of House of Cards). Apparently he was offered to directing position for Purple Rain starring Prince. How could one resist?!)
Writers – Niall Leonard (screenplay) – (BMT: Fifty Shades Darker; Notes: Oh ….. Oh my God. He is E. L. James’ husband! The person they got to write the script to the last two Fifty Shades films is E. L. James’ spouse. That is shocking. He has been bouncing around, mostly in television, for a while, but I’m surprised there wasn’t any credited rewrites by a more accomplished screenwriter.)
E.L. James (based on the novel by) – (BMT: Fifty Shades of Grey (BMT); Fifty Shades Darker; Notes: She’s expressed her surprise at the success of the novels which, she says, started as a kind of mid-life crisis. Her writing career famously started with Twilight Fan Fiction under the pen name Snowqueens Icedragon.)
Actors – Dakota Johnson – (Known For: How to Be Single; Black Mass; The Social Network; A Bigger Splash; 21 Jump Street; The Five-Year Engagement; BMT: Fifty Shades of Grey (BMT); Beastly (BMT); Fifty Shades Darker; Anarchy: Ride or Die; Date and Switch; Goats; Need for Speed (BMT); Notes: Won the Razzie Award in 2016 for Worst Actress and Screen Combo for Fifty Shades of Grey; She is the daughter of Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson (Bucky Larson and When in Rome) from their second marriage to each other.)
Jamie Dornan – (Known For: The 9th Life of Louis Drax; Anthropoid; The Siege of Jadotville; Marie Antoinette; BMT: Fifty Shades of Grey (BMT); Fifty Shades Darker; Notes: Won the Razzie Award in 2016 for Worst Actor and Screen Combo for Fifty Shades of Grey; Naturally got his start as a Calvin Klein model and was a member of a folk band called Sons of Jim. Sadly they disbanded in 2008.)
Budget/Gross – $55 million / Domestic: $75,500,000 ($173,300,000 Worldwide) (So far)
(Like shooting fish in a barrel. They obviously saved a bundle shooting back to back which makes it all the easier for them to rake in a cool $300+ million worldwide with each film and laugh all the way to the bank.)
Rotten Tomatoes – 9% (13/149): Lacking enough chemistry, heat, or narrative friction to satisfy, the limp Fifty Shades Darker wants to be kinky but only serves as its own form of punishment.
(Ooooof, that is stunning. I wouldn’t have really thought it would drop so dramatically from the first (25%), I figured they would also get people to dismiss most issues as “hey the books were shit too, what did you expect?” And yet this seems like it might be a whole new level of boring … I wonder how early of a showing I can get. Just to make sure I don’t fall asleep.)
Poster – Fifty Shades Sklogger (C+)
(Not a huge fan of the spacing and tilt, as it’s starting to look a little like fan-art. Obviously the font is ridiculously simple and Fifty Shades Sklogger could be a reality. Besides that it’s an excellent example of where the actors are used in the poster but are modified visually enough to avoid my issues with their human-ness. They are able to maintain gray as the dominant color.)
Tagline(s) – Every Fairy Tale Has a Dark Side (B)
(Hmmm, I actually kind of like this because it’s starting to make me think about how this series relates to traditional fairy tales. Is it a play on Cinderella? Could be actually. Even the poster and masquerade ball kind of fit with that. Slightly clever and short enough to boot. Pretty good.)
Keyword(s) – helicopter crash; Top Ten by BMeTric: 78.9 Skyline (2010); 73.9 AVPR: Aliens vs Predator – Requiem (2007); 57.7 Boat Trip (2002); 57.2 A Good Day to Die Hard (2013); 55.9 Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace (1996); 53.8 Batman Forever (1995); 53.7 Half Past Dead (2002); 51.9 Resident Evil: Retribution (2012); 50.2 Fifty Shades Darker (2017); 50.1 Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! (1978);
(I would watch this movie marathon for sure. What an eclectic group of movies. I’d go chronological, just to get Killer Tomatoes to start. The ending of that series would be brutal too, would people just get up once Fifty Shades started?)
Notes – Rumors circulated in early 2015 that Jamie Dornan had made a decision not to reprise his role as Christian Grey in the future Fifty Shades of Grey (2015) films. However, those rumors were eventually debunked by his official rep who stated he was completely devoted to the franchise. (gross. But yeah, since they filmed the second and third back to back you’d get to basically get the series behind you and cash a huge check. Don’t blame him)
Fans have expressed interest in actresses such as Kim Cattrall, Michelle Pfeiffer and Charlize Theron for the role of Elena Lincoln aka “Mrs. Robinson”. (And we are so so glad it went to Kim Basinger instead. Love me some Kimmy B).
After receiving backlash that clean shaven Jamie Dornan wasn’t sexy enough as Christian Grey in the first film the producers decided that he could keep his stubble for Darker and Freed. (ha!)
In March of 2015, Fifty Shades of Grey (2015) director Sam Taylor-Johnson revealed she would not be returning for the film’s sequels, Fifty Shades Darker (2017) and Fifty Shades Freed (2018), respectively. As well, screenwriter Kelly Marcel also stated she would not be returning to the series. (I would guess that the producers, including E. L. James, wanted more control. I thought Taylor-Johnson did a pretty solid job, the first movie was just super boring and nothing happened.)
Screenwriter Niall Leonard is the husband of E.L. James, who wrote the book series it is based upon. (Yuuuuuuup, pretty ridic)