Tuesday morning, Universal Pictures ended it’s presentation to the world’s theater owners at the 2014 Cinema-con convention with the anticipated first footage from 50 Shades of Grey. A novel written by E.L. James that instantly became a pop culture phenomenon and rocked the fantasies of it’s fans by storm. The novel is most noted for the sexual escapades and the submissive/ dominant relationship between extremely rich Christian Grey (played by Jamie Dornan) and literary student Anastasia Steele (played by Dakota Johnson). The concept is pretty difficult to sell in an extended trailer for all audiences, especially for the conservative theater owners.
Alternately, the footage focused on Anastasia’s first encounter with the peculiar Christian Grey, when he instantly sweeps her off her feet. The indication is that no man has ever had this affect on her. And of course the conflict is also mentioned in the last scene where Anastasia says You’re trying to turn me into something I’m not. and his reply, No, no I’m not. (Paraphrasing)
Most of the footage displays Mr. Grey with Anastasia wining and dining, helicopter rides, a fancy dress, and finally the important part of the story the secret room he wants to show her. Unfortunately for fans who expected anything related to the sex or about it, will be disappointed. 50 Shades looks as glossy and slick as a Hollywood studio can make shooting a major motion picture in Seattle look like. There is a part of a scene where an image of Anastasia with what can only be described as a horse hair soft whip being brushed across her face. That’s really the only visual that relatively comes close to anything sensual.
Universal or Focus features are selling this as a romance instead of bringing S&M to a mainstream audience. It seems to be commercialized and Director Sam Taylor-Johnson’s independent film-making roots where not manifested in this entire preview. What seemed evident is the message Universal is sending to the theater owners. Which is that, this movie should be booked without fear or embarrassment and that both sides of the spectrum (meaning production and theater owners) will definitely gain revenue together, if booked.
As for the Actors, Dakota Johnson’s portrayal of Anastasia’s wide eyed perspective and naive personality is appropriate. Jamie Doran is handsome and may have gotten the wealthy confidence thing down, but whether the two have a real connection through out the film is still a mystery.
Hopefully the full trailer that will probably be released for the public to see this summer, gives us something more to ponder about.
Fifty Shades of Grey opens nationwide on Feb. 13, 2015.