McGinnis: ‘Fifty Shades’ trailer: A review of the preview for the E.L. James adaptationWritten by Jeff McGinnis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The trailer for the upcoming film version of E.L. James’ stunningly successful book “Fifty Shades of Grey” was released this week and has already become the most viewed preview of the year online. What’s all the hubbub about? Jeff McGinnis takes a look.
0:02 — First shot of our heroine Anastasia, played by Dakota Johnson. “So this is just an interview for the newspaper. I just have a couple of questions.” She seems to be dozing off as she is riding in the elevator up to the aforementioned interview. So, she’s a reporter, and she doesn’t seem to get much sleep. So far, this seems wholly true to life.
0:12 — “Mr. Grey will see you now,” says the fashion-model-esque secretary. Everyone in this office dresses in monochrome, as if Mr. Grey’s company insists on using his name as the basis for all fashion choices.
0:27 — “What was he like?” Anastasia is asked in voice over. “He was … polite. Intense. Smart.” The trailer takes great pains to avoid showing us Grey’s face, with low angle shots and blurry lenses obscuring anything above the neck. Uh, dudes, we know who’s playing this guy. No need to keep him mysterious here. Unless it’s a swerve and, surprise! It’s actually Bruce Campbell! Now THERE’s a movie worth seeing.
0:35 — Anastasia to Grey: “Do you have any interests outside of work?” Hoo boy, does he.
0:40 — Anastasia: “There’s really not much to know about me. Look at me.” This is either false modesty or genuine self-loathing, I’m not sure which.
0:44 — Slam cut to a shot of Grey. “I am.” Oh my God! It’s … it’s … it’s the guy from “Once Upon a Time!” What a twist! Long, penetrating silence as they stare at each other, which I guess is supposed to be indicating the romantic tension that’s already building, but actually feels more like the opening scene of a sexual harassment training video at a fast food restaurant.
0:52 — The score rises to a crescendo as she leaves Grey’s office, pounding into the viewer as the elevator doors close between them. The music really, really cares about those doors, I guess. We’re a minute in and to the layperson, this movie is about two boring people talking in a bland office and the sheer excitement of watching an Otis entryway slam shut.
0:59 — “You must be really boring,” Anastasia says. Hoo boy, is he. Maybe if he threw on a facial expression or something once in a while, he’d be more engaging.
1:04 — “THIS FEBRUARY,” the onscreen text blares, as the music once again rises to a peak at the sight of elevator doors closing. Suddenly, the pair kiss passionately against the wall. Whatever. We know the music was REALLY excited about those doors. Don’t distract from the true issue at hand, trailer.
1:07 — “THE WORLDWIDE PHENOMENON.” Anastasia walks toward him wearing a smirk, the first appreciable expression from either of our leads.
1:15 — “COMES TO LIFE.” “Life” being a relative term here, it appears.
1:20 — Grey says, “You should steer clear of me.” Based on the available evidence, that line will be culled by critics the world over for their reviews.
1:26 — Anastasia wakes up alone in bed. What? Grey left, unconcerned about her feelings? I am shocked, SHOCKED I say. Actually, I’m more shocked that he apparently made his half of the bed while she was still asleep on the other side.
1:29 — Grey grabs Anastasia’s leg under a dinner table, and she gives him a look that’s less turned on and more, “Do you smell that? I think Mom burned the roast.”
1:33 — Grey, over a shot of him shirtless: “My tastes are very … singular.” By the way, we’re a minute and a half into a two-minute trailer for the BDSM movie and there has yet to be really any implication of what this story is actually about. Imagine a “Terminator 2″ trailer where you get the impression the story’s about a naked guy who wanders into a bar.
1:43 — Grey takes his shirt off again, and they once again stare into each other’s eyes, longingly. She looks bored. He looks like Norman Bates finding Janet Leigh in the tub. Anastasia, after a pause, “Enlighten me, then.” Oh, is THAT what they’re calling it these days?
1:50 — After a long moment of silence, a “THUMP” on the soundtrack accompanies Grey opening his magical mystery door. Again, it’s not the kinky stuff, but the entryway that excites our composer.
1:56 — Flash cuts of a bunch of accoutrement — straps, whips, a riding crop, etc. Finally the trailer admits what the audience will be coming for. Wait, that last sentence came out all wrong.
2:03 — “FIFTY SHADES OF GREY.” The title is emblazoned over what sounds like moaning on the soundtrack, which we really know is the music expressing its displeasure over there being no more doors to herald.
2:06 — “FEATURING AN EXCLUSIVE VERSION OF ‘CRAZY IN LOVE’ BY BEYONCE.” Really? Really? They got Beyoncé mixed up in this somehow?
2:13 — After the credits, the words “COMING SOON” are accompanied by a soft sigh, as if even the trailer is relieved this is over.