Tuesday, 20 February 2018

5 Things Wrong with 'Fifty Shades Freed' (Aside from the Subject Matter)

Hello readers and welcome back! While I am aware that I have taken quite the extended leave of absence from posting on this blog, I urge you all to put your recollection of my neglect aside, and join with me in celebrating one of the most wonderful months of the year. February 2018 has had a lot to offer so far. There was Valentine's Day, Groundhog Day, and perhaps most importantly, the release of the final installment of the Fifty Shades franchise charmingly entitled 'Fifty Shades Freed'. If you've ventured in to the depths of 'Teenage Fanatic' in the past, you may recall the love/hate (but predominantly hate) relationship I have with this trilogy, which I demonstrated in my review of both the first and second films. But no scathing critique of a film franchise is complete until all of the movies have been ceremoniously ripped apart, and now that I have officially had the horror of watching the final film (without paying, because I still refuse to contribute to the franchise's economic success), I am qualified to do just that. So without further ado, may I introduce to you a mere five of the colossal flaws abundant throughout 'Fifty Shades Freed'.

1. The Concept


While 'Fifty Shades of Grey' is far from being even a remotely tolerable movie, the only accolade I will begrudgingly award it is that it is the only film in the trilogy that makes any kind of remote conceptual sense. I understand, as problematic as it is, that people wanting an escape from the mundanity of everyday life would be able to live vicariously through the sexual exploits of a young, no strings attached couple with a penchant for sadomasochism. Is it overwhelmingly sexist and devoid of any quality? Of course. But is it marketable as a guilty pleasure to bored house wives and house husbands? Unfortunately so. The same however cannot be said for 'Fifty Shades Freed'. I mentioned in my review of 'Fifty Shades Darker' that the movie was basically tracking the fizzling out of the sex life of a boring, domestic, vanilla couple in a committed relationship, however this third installment takes uninteresting, awkward sex scenes that no one enjoys watching to a whole new level (or should I say shade) of beige. The film opens with a montage of everyone's least favourite undynamic duo Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele getting hitched and going on their honeymoon, their entrapment in the patriarchal construct of marriage ensuring that everything that was taboo and risque about the original concept can never be resurrected. How anyone at Universal could think that this would be marketable is beyond me. No one wants to watch porn that mirrors their daily goings on, and similarly no one wants to watch an installment of a notorious BDSM franchise where an unexciting married couple tie each other up for a few minutes and then go shopping for groceries. All I can say is I hope the title 'Fifty Shades Freed' is intentionally ironic.

2. The Genre


There's a big difference between the director of a movie experimenting and appropriating elements of a number of different genres, and creating a confused, unpalatable mash up of clashing tones and themes. 'Fifty Shades Freed' is very much the latter. On the surface, it is a BDSM filled epic romance salacious enough to pique interest but PC enough to feel at home within the MA15+ rating category. In actuality, it's a literal mess. This final installment, like its predecessor 'Fifty Shades Darker', becomes a quasi thriller when Anastasia's ex low key rapey boss (who is apparently also Christian's ex orphanage buddy) decides to orchestrate a Fast and Furious style car chase, attempts to hold Ana hostage, and then kidnaps Rita Ora (all for no apparent reason). All of this is juxtaposed however with scenes that almost veer into rom com territory, with such classic moments as Ana tending to a drunk Christian in one of the most poorly acted scenes in the movie, as well as Ana and Christian having a 'sexy' ice cream fight that made everyone in my cinema let out audible groans of disgust. So ultimately, the film ends up being a wannabe pornographic psychological crime romantic comedy that is neither funny nor romantic, and falls short of remotely slotting in to any single one of these genres. In fact the only category it is able to fit into fully is being practically unwatchable.

3. Scenes that were Random, Unnecessary Time Wasters


While arguably every single scene in all three of these films is a complete and utter waste of time, money and patience for both audience members and the cast and crew themselves, there are some in particular in this third installment that will surpass even your lowest expectations. Towards the beginning of the movie, we are introduced to a rather brazen and high key unprofessional architect who is clearly keen to get with Christian, which causes Ana to get incredibly defensive, and leads the audience to speculate about possible infidelity. Will Christian and this absolute random have an affair in order to make the plot even vaguely interesting? The answer is no, rendering the architect's presence irrelevant and forcing us to sit through perhaps one of Ana's most cringey lines, 'You may call me Mrs Grey'.

But wait, the triviality has only just begun. At one point, Ana, Christian, and a few other side characters whose relationship with one another is ambiguous at best, decide to camp out in a cabin in the woods. However, unfortunately unlike the Joss Whedon film, all of the characters survive, and worst of all, decide to find a creative outlet. There is a scene that has to be seen to be believed in which we are introduced to the musical stylings of Christian Grey as he performs a lack lustre cover of Paul McCartney's 'Maybe I'm Amazed', which genuinely made me question whether I was watching 'Fifty Shades Freed' or 'Fifty Shades Glee-d'. Just when you think this franchise can't get anymore painful, there's a musical number. A musical number that is overwhelmingly awful and once again, you guessed it, completely and utterly unnecessary.

Then, to top it all off, the film ends with yet another montage set to 'Love Me Like You Do' (because no one's heard that song enough), which spliced together moments from the first two films, as well as moments that we'd seen literally less than an hour earlier that were taken from the seven montages at the beginning of the film. An appropriatly irrelevant ending for a film that was a thorough waste of time.

4. The Implausibility


It would be foolish of me to expect the plot of this film to be remotely rooted in reality, but for 'Fifty Shades Freed' to defy the laws of logic and science altogether was truly something else (for lack of a more punishing phrase). As I've constantly mentioned throughout this post, the film starts off with Ana and Christian tying the knot, however it is only after this 20 minute wedding montage that the two finally take the time to sit down and discuss important compatibility factors such as whether or not she's going to take his last name or whether or not they want to have kids. I don't know about you, but logically I feel like these are some relatively important make or break topics of conversation that probably should've been addressed before now. The first film literally contains a half hour, wholly unnecessary scene in which Christian and Ana negotiate the intricacies of their BDSM contract before they even dive in to their relationship, but apparently when it comes to getting married (something Christian was originally adamantly against), not even a simple Q&A session is needed. But really, this is only the beginning.

As the film's psychological thriller-esque subplot reaches its climax (pun intended), part time business man and full time rapey villain Jack Hyde kidnaps Christian's sister and demands that Ana bring him 5 million dollars ransom, which the bank quite happily gives her because apparently the application of the law is optional. Once she arrives at his secret lair which I'm pretty sure is just a car park, Jack grabs a hold of Ana and, I kid you not, slaps her in the face twice. Admittedly that's not the nicest way to greet someone, but as far as deranged psychos go I'd say that she got off pretty lightly, right? Wrong. In the next scene, Ana is seen in hospital covered with scrapes and bruises and suffering from a concussion. Yes, that's right. Ana has the injuries of someone who has just been brutally beaten in some sort of underground fight club after literally being slapped in the face twice, when in 'Fifty Shades Darker', Christian can get into a helicopter crash and walk home 30 minutes later completely unharmed without so much as a single scratch. I don't know if this is some sort of reaffirmation of the gender binary or if E.L. James' perception of medical science is just incredibly flawed, but either way, logic is nowhere to be found.

5. Everything


This entire franchise is an inconsistent mess, which is perhaps the only consistent thing about it.

And that is the extent of the critique I have to offer. To say that 'Fifty Shades Freed' is merely flawed would be a massive understatement, however if you are intent on receiving closure, then I suggest you save your money and illegally stream this final installment, taking solace in the fact that after this film, the Fifty Shades franchise is officially no more. Til' next time . . .

Annabel xx


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  2. I saw the first Fifty Shades of Grey film when I’d had a few drinks. (They didn’t help make it any better) I thought that the film-makers had done a not too bad a job, given the source material and the fact that EL James apparently hung around the set like David Brent at the Wernham Hogg Christmas party after he’d been sacked.

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  3. He is the son of Calista Flockhart and right now his father is the man from the famous movie ‘Indiana Jones’, Harrison Ford. Her mother became engaged on Valentine’s Day, 2009 with this great actor. This power couple met by 2002 and for his long years, they tried to know each other. After they married, Ford adopted Liam Flockhart.