Friday, February 13, 2015

I Watched It So You Don't Have To: 50 Shades of Grey

Okay, I lied. I haven’t seen the movie. But do I really need to in order to review it? If you’ve read the book, you know that this movie will be the one single movie in all of cinematic history to be better than its source material. That said, I think it a timely matter to revisit my original assessment of the book…

I once heard someone say of this book, "Either you love it or hate it." But the fact is that such a statement requires clarification. You either love it or hate it based upon two things: If you've never read anything BDSM-related before, you might find it entertaining or perhaps provocative. However, if you've ever read any great work of literature, you may want to find the nearest fireplace. The sex scenes – which is the real reason anyone would pick this book up – aren’t particularly tantalizing, much less erotic, if you're at all familiar with Jackie Collins. The real crime in this book comes not from adults consenting to BDSM or even the female wish-fulfillment of changing a man, but the manner in which the book is written, stylistically speaking. Though we may be reading 50 Shades of Grey for the sex, it is very difficult not to laugh or even want to cry at the author's sophomoric writing skills. The word count for the word 'murmur' alone is astronomical: 5 times on one page even! Furthermore, besides protagonist Anastasia's character, there isn't a single remotely interesting, much less believable, character. Christian Grey's character, for example, is so unbelievable – a handsome billionaire with a huge penis yet psychologically damaged enough that he requires changing – that no suspension of disbelief is possible. It is also clear that the author did no research whatsoever beyond the sex, and I’m not even talking about the finer points of bondage. Perfectly clear Seattle skylines in May? LOL! There is no plot either unless you consider scenes of sex-breaking up-make up sex-breaking up-make up sex etc. a plot. But wait, there’s a second book! And it’s worse than the first. In the second book 50 Shades Darker you'd think by this point in a trilogy in which the first book was slammed for its incompetent writing style and witless dialogue, EL James would care to rectify the many criticisms she received of her freshman effort. But, I guess when you're laughing all the way to the bank and given that most Americans do not read above a sixth-grade level, why bother? EL James somehow manages to take her ineptitude to the next level by not only dispensing with the BDSM for most of the sex scenes this go-round, but by fumbling an attempt at a plot, and ultimately switching between first and second person points of view with a level of incompetence that hasn't been seen since the Titanic was built. All the while people are still murmuring, muttering, putting his hand in his hair, wowing, and pressing their lips into a hard line. And EL James has the nerve to say her editor rocks in the Acknowledgements? What editor?? If you don't wish to read the books but still want to know what happens, here's the entire series in a nutshell: Boy meets girl. They fall in lust. They quickly get back together after being apart for an eternity, that is, five days. They're happy. Information is revealed. They fight, make-up, and have sex. Repeat ad nauseum. Near the end of the second book, switch to another character's point of view for no reason what-so-ever, or, laziness. After finishing the second book, consider that your life will flash before your eyes before you die – do you really want to read the final book? Well, I suppose there are those instances when one need to kill time in the restroom.

[On a side, side-note, I find it interesting that while today’s women want to be accepted for who they are and what they look like, none of the women who are fans of this trilogy admit to reveling in the fantasy that is Christian Grey. Admit it, ladies, if you met someone like Christian Grey and he wasn’t a billionaire or at least very handsome, you would never allow yourselves to be coerced into BDSM. Just sayin’.]

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