Movie Mondays: On Mondays, I will review a book series or novel that has been made into a movie. I will then answer the question that everyone asks: which is better, the movie or the book? Here is this week’s offering:
Book: Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James | Movie: Fifty Shades of Grey (2015)
Which did I read/see first? the BOOK(s)
Book Cover | Movie Poster
Series: Fifty Shades Trilogy Author: E.L. James Genre: Erotica, BDSM, Romance, Adult, Contemporary Heat Rating: Smokin’ (BDSM: High) Point of View: First Person, Single
As I said in my series review, I did enjoy the series of Fifty Shades of Grey because I can recognize that it is fiction and it is supposed to be a fantasy. Does that mean I agree with the message? No. Do I think they are the greatest books ever written? Of course not. But I can say I was thoroughly entertained when I read them and I found them to be highly addicting (I read them all in a weekend–not that they are very complex books in the first place). Part of that reason is the pursuit of Ana by Christian. To me, it does border on the obsessive (which is something I really struggle with when reading BDSM novels; they sometimes straddle that line between abusive and consensual and I have a hard time digesting that), but it was entertaining and I loved the sexual tension. I’m sure I’m not the only girl in the world who wouldn’t mind if a handsome (minus the BDSM fetish) billionaire pursuing regular old me–and the book sales alone prove that this is the case because that is what this series provides: a fantasy. Christian isn’t really my type of guy but I really loved him with Ana in the later books (once we move away from the sex-only chapters). And I really liked Ana. Sure, some of her narration is a little silly and she is naive early on, but I didn’t find her annoying. I liked that she challenged him and I thought she complimented Christian well and to me that is the most important thing in a romance novel. Once we move away from the sex scenes (ie mainly book 1) and actually get some plot, that’s when I started to enjoy the novels. I loved the family drama and trying to figure out Christian’s dark past–which I think that helped to initiate my love for New Adult novels where that those plot-lines are present in spades.
At the end of the day, what matters to me is that I read a book that entertained me and kept my attention; and Fifty Shades did that for me. The writing isn’t that great–it is often repetitive–and I could have done without the piles and piles of sex but I enjoyed reading these books. They are definitely not for everyone: but if you want to try a BDSM novel and enjoy over the top drama, this is a good series for you to pick up!
Rating: 4/5 Series Review: Full series review here! Similar Reads: Claim Me by J. Kenner (Stark Trilogy #1) and Bared to You by Sylvia Day (Crossfire Series #1)
I will admit: I am one of those people who followed any movie news about this movie (not that it was a particularly hard thing to do because it was everywhere) so it isn’t a huge surprise I went to see Fifty Shades opening weekend.
I’ll start with the casting, because I think that is the most important thing about this movie. When Charlie Hunnam was originally cast as Christian, I wasn’t all that excited. I don’t watch Sons of Anarchy but I could see why they would cast him in the role. But when he dropped out, I was eagerly awaiting to see who would be cast. So when Jamie Dornan was cast, that’s when I got excited for the movie. I loved Jamie when he was on Once Upon a Time so I was happy with the pick. (Though for the record, Ian Somerhalder was my pick for Christian as soon as I read the books.) As for Ana, I wasn’t sure who I wanted in that role–but there were some names tossed out that I knew I didn’t want. Dakota Johnson was an unknown to me but once I saw the promo pics she had the look of Ana so I was fine with that.
When it came to the first trailer, I was actually really disappointed with Jamie and impressed with Dakota. Jamie seemed awkward and not as confident as what I pictured Christian to be; but Dakota acted exactly like I thought Ana would. So when it came to the actual movie, I had no idea what to expect. And I kept it that way by avoiding reviews (which is hard with trending social media) before I went to go see it.
And in the end, I thought both of the actors did very well considering the source material’s awful dialogue. Dakota acted exactly like Ana did in the novels and she did a great job. Jamie took me a while to get used to, but I really warmed up to him as Christian as the movie progressed. I really think his role was hindered because of the dialogue because his mannerisms were perfect. He didn’t have as much intensity as I was expecting (which was the impression I got from the trailer) but I think that was a good thing because it might have come across as creepy. When it comes to their chemistry, I could see why some people might not think it’s there; but to be honest, I never really saw that much chemistry between the two of them at the start of the book either (especially their initial meeting). I thought it got better as the movie progressed–but again, I think the dialogue is what really hurts the chemistry that could be there.
As for the adaptation itself: I think it was pretty true to the books. I’m not sure, it’s been 3 years since I read them but from what I can remember plot-wise it follows pretty close (I often get the first two books mixed up so feel free to correct me). The sex scenes definitely had more nudity than your regular old movie but they weren’t tacky and didn’t show much other than the occasional butt and chest shots.
But I still wouldn’t go see this with your mother ;)
Also, the soundtrack is amazing! The songs were probably the best part of this movie!
(Just a last little tidbit: This movie is only the FIRST book of the series. I thought it was going to be all three so I’m waiting to see if there will be sequels. I know that the director and actors are contracted to do a sequel but I’m not sure if it will happen–it looks possible considering domestic and international box office numbers–and rumours have been swirling that the sequel could be out by next year!)
So, which is better: the book or the movie?
In this case, the winner is the MOVIE. I like how the movie focused more on Christian and Ana trying to establish a relationship than it did on all their sex scenes (ie. it felt more plot focused than sex). It also lacked Ana’s awkward inner monologue. I think book fans will be happy to see the book come to life in this adaptation–and I really didn’t think it was as bad as people were saying. Cheesy at times, yes, but I think that just reflects the cheesiness as the book. But I don’t think it hurt that I went into this movie with low expectations…
Do you agree? Did you go out and see it; or are you going to avoid it at all costs? Leave a comment below!
Synopsis for Fifty Shades of Grey (from Goodreads): When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms. Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.