The first inkling I had that the most anticipated Valentine movie of 2015 didn’t measure up to expectations was with a friend’s tweet. He tweeted: ‘Fifty Shades of Grey is Fifty Shades of Fucked up. #wastedmymoney.’
Before this time, I’d only read the first few pages of the book. I begged and wheedled it from a friend, so driven was I by the talk about how it was a strong sell for sex and BDSM. I was intrigued. My intrigue plummeted when the first few pages began to read like a poor version of a Mills and Boon romance novel. I love romance novels, my love of books was weaned on Mills and Boon, and Harlequin romances. But I like to think I’ve outgrown such predictable storylines, that when I open a book, it is to read narratives that will send my heart racing, scatter goose bumps all over my skin, strum my tear glands, or make me recoil in horror. The first few pages of the book Fifty Shades of Grey did not captivate me. So I shut the book and let the matter rest.
And then, the movie adaptation was underway, and the buzz surrounding it was good and climbing, and the dedicated movie watcher than I am, I convinced myself that the film would be good enough for me to see, a better effort than what I’d seen of the book.
Then it premiered, and the reviews were not at all kind. The movie was making money at the cinemas, but no one seemed happy by its offering. The reasons for the public displeasure varied. I read a scathing article about how the writer was not impressed that the moviemakers were trying to pass the film off as a love story through its February 14 release. Some other person decried its eroticism, and another – a feminist, I think – had a few not-so-nice things to say about its depiction of female subjugation in a relationships. A friend of mine regretted his cinematic experience because the movie did not stimulate his mind. And the Nigerian Movie Censors Board further fanned the flames of discontent when it banned the movie from Nigerian cinemas.
And all this brouhaha left me befuddled. What was wrong with the movie? What was exactly wrong with Fifty Shades of Grey? Was it too sexy or too dumb? Was it a badly-told love story or thinly-veiled soft porn? I wanted to see it.
I eventually got to see it.
And I was disappointed.
Before I go into the reason for my disappointment, I want to find the collection of people that bitched and moaned about how overtly and excessively erotic the movie is, and have them given a sound caning. And then, I want to sit them down on those bottoms that are burning from the pain of the caning, and make them watch the Sharon Stone classic, Basic Instinct, or Madonna’s Body Of Evidence, or the 2014 Shia Labeouf-featured flick, Nymphomaniac. And I want to point an irate finger at the TV screen and shriek, “Now, THAT’S EROTIC!”
Because what I saw Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson do on the screen was reminiscent of . . . well, Bomboy and Simbi playing daddy and mommy. The not-so-infrequent flash of nipples, the panning of well-toned buttocks, the startling glimpse of pubic hair… Yes, yes, yes. So what else is new? Hollywood has been pushing the envelope with its offerings so much in recent times, it’s a wonder the envelope hasn’t been ripped apart to shreds. You see enough of Hollywood movies, and you become desensitized to some nudity here and there onscreen.
Unless, of course, it’s Jim Iyke’s ass thrusting up and down in a frenzy over Nikki Samonas’ teats.
In my opinion, Fifty Shades of Grey wasn’t even erotic enough. And it didn’t live up to the hype wrapped around the much touted Bondage Discipline Submission/Sadism Masochism (BDSM). I followed after Christian Grey when he took Anastasia Steele into his playroom. I watched along with Anastasia, with wide-eyed disbelief, at the array of the instruments of sadomasochistic pleasure, arranged in delectable order. Anastasia dreaded what Grey wanted for them. I didn’t. I wanted to see it happen. I wanted to flinch at the lash of whip against flesh, to gape at the startling red of welts rising on skin, to gasp at the sensuous cruelty of the Dominant over the Submissive.
I WANTED IT ALL!
I mean, if the movie wasn’t going to entertain me with pithy deliveries and memorable scenes, I might as well get my freak on from the decadence of the sex.
But no, Fifty Shades of Grey failed me. The sex scenes were commonplace, and the BDSM was a joke. Grey would lash out with a flogger, there’d be a swish, and Anastasia would flinch and moan. That was it! The kind of clips you could show in a Sunday School class to teach the virtues of safe sex.
But wait, there was hope. The movie was nearly two hours past. The two lovers were embroiled in a tense moment of questions and discoveries.
And then, Anastasia said, “Punish me. Show me how bad it can be. I want you to show me the worst.”
The worst, she said.
And Christian Grey proceeded to give her six lashes of the belt. Not even koboko. Belt! And SIX LASHES?! That was the worst?! That tawai-tawai into six places was the grand finale?! Unbelievable!
It was with a heart much aggrieved and a soul mourning the two hours I wasted that I clicked off the movie as the credits started rolling, snapped shut my laptop and went to seek other delights to redeem my day.
Fifty Shades of Fucked-up indeed.
I am @Walt_Shakes on twitter