XoXperts review 50 Shades!

Our lovely XoXperts took to the screens this week to soak up the #50Shades mania. What did they think? Read on to find out!

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XoXpert Samien says:

I was lucky to be one of the Today Show Fifty Shades First movie attendees on Friday, February 6th. It was a whirlwind trip that began early in the morning, including the “red carpet” experience, and ended all too soon once the movie was over.

I went into the movie with my own prejudices of book-to-film adaptations. I’m a firm believer that the book is always better. This film was one of the few that changed my mind. As I write this review, I have seen the movie another time. And I plan on seeing it a third time.

Initially, the casting didn’t blow me away. I honestly wasn’t familiar with Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson’s previous roles. Nothing they had previously done stuck out in my head. The movie began, as the book did, with the interview of Christian Grey. (Can I just say that I really need one of those Grey pencils?) Dakota seemed as awkward as Anastasia Steele was while reading the questions.

What sold me on Dakota being perfect for the role of Anastasia was when she drunk dialed Christian. Granted, the scene in the movie was not exactly as it was written in the book, but the little changes made it one of my favorite scenes.

When Christian took a bite of Ana’s toast, I was sold that Jamie was the right actor to play Christian. I don’t think I will ever look at breakfast in bed the same way again. It should be illegal to make eating toast as sexy as he made it. How is it possible for women to get all hot and bothered over toast?

As the movie continued, I was impressed by the humor that was injected and how the sex/love scenes were filmed. I laughed a lot more than I expected to. I didn’t want to blatantly see a lot of the acts. I wasn’t interested in watching pornography. The scenes were filmed tastefully and left a lot to the imagination as I recalled how the scenes were written in the book. I was surprised to hear some of the lines said out loud in a different way than I had heard them in my head. Different wasn’t bad and everything worked for me.

The book was all about romance for me, as Christian learns to let in a little bit of love and allows Ana to change his life. All the important scenes from the book that highlighted this were shown. The ending left me wanting to get right into Fifty Shades Darker, and, yes, I picked up the book as soon as I had a time to start reading it.

I know this film is not for everyone. But I highly recommend it to those who loved the book. I think a lot of people will be surprised by how well the screenplay and directing brought Christian and Ana to life. Yes, there are a lot of scenes missing from the book. To me, it didn’t matter. Besides, I can always go back and read the book if I really need to relive those parts of the book.

Would I change anything from the film? I don’t think so. I can honestly say that this is one that I will watch over and over again just as I’ve read the series repeatedly.

 

XoXpert Alana says:

Let me start out by stating that I am a fan of the books, I’m even a fan of Twilight, which these were inspired from (originally as fanfic).  That being said, I feel I should specify that I’m a fan from the entertainment angle.  I’m not saying these are the best books since the invention of sliced bread, I’m saying I picked these up for romance, angst, and entertainment with smexy times, and it delivered – for me.  Just had to give a little background before I delve into my thoughts on the film adaptation.

I went in hoping for the best and really expecting the worst.  I know from fellow fans there were huge debates over who should play what… and there were some fabulous options out there.  I’ll happily admit I was totally anti-Dakota at first.  Anti-most-of-the-cast, really.  It wasn’t who I pictured, but then, filmmakers would never find a cast to please everyone.  What fans want is not always, likely never ever, going to match what studios do.  They want to sell their film, end of story.  So, I tried to be hopeful, but at least a tiny part of me was preparing for a train wreck.

Color me surprised.  Dakota stole the show.  Stole it, owned it, she make me love Ana more than I ever had before.  Well, Ana was never a favorite, honestly, though I was among those that didn’t mind the Inner Goddess from the books.  Don’t tense up, there is NO Inner Goddess in the film.  Even long-winded mental dialogues seemed to be absent or at a very light minimum.  She brought humor and fun to an innocent, awkward Ana.  Her drunk dial was among some of the best, funniest scenes in the whole movie.  Dakota owned it, worked it, and almost everything good about the film includes her.  I can already hear the outcry… “full bush” and “leg hair” – wailing laments of ‘how could they?’  Really?  Are we really going to let hair – shown on film – to be a viable excuse to automatically condemn this movie?  I, for one, sure hope not.  I can’t imagine why they’d opt for a non-landscaped look down there to encourage the concept that Ana is a naive, young woman that hadn’t put anything down there except tampons and pads prior to this story.  It’s one tiny thing, let’s not beat the bush, shall we?

Moving on from Dakota, the rival ‘best’ thing about this movie is the soundtrack.  As the meme says, it’s “Full of Win.”  Yes, overall amazing choices, great timing with the songs… singing just as the blow across the backside is landed… whoever was in charge of making all that happen – bravo!  You did good.

Now… what didn’t “aim to please” about the film… I so don’t want to say it because he’s pretty to look at and not a bad actor based upon what I’ve seen… but Jaime Dornan.  *sigh*  I’m sorry, but he just didn’t quite bring Christian out.  I’m not sure if it’s the script or what, but it lacked the depth I was looking for to really made Christian connect to the audience.  It didn’t help that many of those softer touches of Christian’s character did not appear in the movie.  So many seemingly small things about the book (Ana’s job, for example) become huge plot points later in the trilogy and I just can’t fathom why some of those were left out while others left in and some just outright changed.  The book, when it really connects to the reader, guts you.  It’s like a punch in the gut, knocks the wind right out of you.  This was more of a pulled punch you’d give to a pal’s shoulder.

Chemistry.  I wanted more chemistry.  There is this one ‘toast scene’ – you can’t miss it once you see it – I wanted that playfulness and banter (but in a more broody, mercurial way for Christian, of coarse) for the entire film instead of that one, lone scene.  That ending… if you read the book, it may jar you, but if you haven’t read the book I can’t see that audience being excited at all about it essentially just dropping you right off so fast it’s like a roller coaster just came to a halt.  There are also things they obviously put in just for us book readers that are going to bug the ever living crap out of those that hadn’t.  Drinking champagne out of tea cups is the one that first pops in my head.  It’s one small fry in the overall meal of the movie, but there are multiple little Easter Egg type things like that which may alienate one portion of the audience while catering to another.  Deep down I’m pleased about the details that made it, but on a purely film-based perspective, it’s confusing and not explained.

I sound about as conflicted as Christian in this review, don’t I?  Ultimately, if you’re a fan it’s not to be missed, and if you loathed each printed page of it- guess what- you’re probably going to loathe this, too.  Shocker, I know.  I’ve heard that a second viewing made ratings even more favorable, but I’m going to wait until DVD for my repeat performance.  Dakota made it a pleasure to watch, but I’m saddened by what the movie lacked.  Relating it to school grades… I’m leaning towards a C+ but want so bad to edge it towards a B-.  I want to so badly give it a B… but it just didn’t quite make it.  Not as hot, not as emotional, not as shocking… it’s like they only covered about 28 Shades out of 50.  My own Inner Goddess is still hopeful for more in the sequels.

 

 

XoXpert Kathy says:

I have to admit that I was not happy with the casting of Ana and Christian. But going into the movie, I tried to keep an open mind.  Dakota Johnson was amazing as Ana! She perfectly captured Ana’s naivete and was really funny.  She had the audience laughing. But I was not impressed with Jamie Dornan as Christian. He is good looking but he didn’t have the intense emotion I imagined while reading the book.  I was also surprised with the casting of his brother Elliott. I imagined Elliott with a clean and preppy look (similar to actor Alex Pettyfer).  I liked Luke Grimes from the True Blood HBO series but I’m not sure how I’ll like seeing him in the next movies.

Overall I liked the movie and thought they did a great adaptation of the book. I love the soundtrack and need to buy some of the songs. I can’t wait to see the next movie!

 

XoXpert Reanell says:

I can still remember the first time I had ever heard about Fifty Shades of Grey. It was in Entertainment Weekly magazine talking about “mommy porn.” Of course, that intrigued me enough to buy the book. I then devoured the entire series in about 2 days. And then I re-read them again. And then I bought the audio versions and listened to them. So when I found out that a movie was being made, I was both giddy and nervous. It’s always hit or miss with book-to-movie adaptions. We all know the book is always better.

When reading a book we picture characters in our mind a certain way, and it can be hard pleasing everyone when casting actors. Look at what happened when Charlie Hunnam was first chosen as Christian Grey. The world went nuts.

When the cast was revealed, I was very anxious to see how they were going to portray Ana and Christian on screen. And I must say they exceeded my expectations! Dakota especially won me over. She was so perfect as Ana! And Jamie impressed me, too. The further the movie went, the more I loved him.

Now, the other characters didn’t really impress me much. Maybe once the movies progress, and we actually get more of them they will grow on me.

I give Fifty Shades Of Grey 8.5 out of 10 stars. I think the overall quality of the movie was excellent. I laughed out loud at some of Ana’s scenes with Christain. Especially the drunk bar scene. That was my favorite scene. I loved how they stuck to the original story line and didn’t alter it much. They managed to get most of the important scenes from book 1 into this movie and that made me very happy. I’m very excited for Fifty Shades Darker…is it March 2016 yet?

 

XoXpert Nina says:

I went into FSOG with no expectations. After the first trailer, I quit watching interviews, I quit watching trailers and I tuned out all the fans and naysayers. For me, I wanted to experience the phenom that is Fifty Shades totally unbiased. I absolutely loved these books…read them several times….so I was super excited when release day came around.

I was able to go to an advanced showing in my town, and after a few cocktails with the girls we headed over and the excitement was super contagious. Many of us had even read it as fanfic so reminiscing was a lot of fun, too. As the movie began, I will admit I was very giddy…I mean we have been waiting for this for a while now! As for my thoughts on the movie, I thought Dakota Johnson killed it as Anna. She brought humor and innocence and lots of sex appeal. She really did that part justice. I am not a girl who fangirls over Jamie Dornan much, but I thought he did fine portraying the brooding Christian Grey. It was a great adaptation of the book for me. I mean you can’t put everything in a book in a movie so, I for the most part, thought they got it right. I did think it was more sexually graphic than I anticipated, which I thought went along with the book, but isn’t it hard to really recreate something like that that you envision in your head to the screen?

All in all, the thing I took away the most was how amazing it was that a little book I fell in love with a few years ago made it to the big screen. I was so happy that EL James’s dream was reached and all us fans could continue to bask in this series. The entire experience of it was just amazing, and I left feeling very pleased. 4 Laters, Baby Stars!
So there you have it! Have you seen the movie? Read the book? What did you think? Tell us in the comments!

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