May 072017

It’s really no surprise that Fifty Shades Darker is a bad film but the worst sin of this entry it was awfully dull but did manage to elicit a few chuckles at least.



Fifty Shades Darker
— Unrated Edition —


Genre(s): Drama, Romance
Universal | R / Unrated – 118 min. / 132 min. – $44.98 | May 9, 2017

Date Published: 05/07/2017 | Author: The Movieman


Directed by:
James Foley
Writer(s): E.L. James (novel); Niall Leonard (screenplay)
Cast: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Eric Johnson, Rita Ora, Luke Grimes, Victor Rasuk, Kim Basinger, Marcia Gay Harden
Featurettes, Deleted Scenes
Digital Copy: Yes
Formats Included: 4K, Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 2
Audio (4K/BD): English (DTS:X), French (DTS 5.1), Spanish (DTS 5.1)
Video (4K): 2160p/Widescreen 2.40
Video (BD): 1080p/Widescreen 2.40
Subtitles (4K/BD): English SDH, French, Spanish
Disc Size: NA
Codecs: HEVC / H.265 (4K), MPEG-4 AVC (BD)
Region(s): A, B, C


THE MOVIE — 1.5/5

Sigh. Two years later and a darker shade of fifty is upon us. The first film wasn’t anything special but did look pretty with some laughable dialogue. Fifty Shades Darker doesn’t look as good, doesn’t have as good of a soundtrack, is boring beyond belief but the dialogue is just as bad if not, somehow, even worse.

The story takes place not too long after the events of the first film. Anastasia Steele (DAKOTA JOHNSON) has just started a new job as an assistant at a publishing firm. But creepy old Christian Grey (JAMIE DORNAN) is trying to win her back, first by sending a bouquet of flowers and then buying up photo portraits of Anastasia created by one of her friends. She doesn’t put up much of a resistance and after promising not to put her through the pain and a relationship on more equal footing, Anastasia does take him back.

Throughout the film, we get more background into Grey’s past, specifically a drug-addict mother, now deceased, and her male partners, one of whom physically abused him and made him the creep sadist he is today. It’s also revealed that his mother bears a striking resemblance to his partners and a why he enjoyed enlisting pain onto them. There are also some more S&M aspects and the toys of the trade, not to mention some awkwardly shot numerous generic sex scenes.

The plot is basic and boils down to the above. There are some ragged threads from a former sub named Leila (BELLA HEATHCOTE) who has gone insane and is stalking Anastasia; a chopper Christian was piloting crashes (off screen) but he and his passenger manage to escape and he turns up at his apartment literally seconds after the news proclaimed him alive; Anastasia’s boss (ERIC JOHNSON) going from nice guy to sexual assaulter; and his “Mrs. Robinson”, Elena (KIM BASINGER) who had taken advantage him at a young age. Other than the boss one, which I guess is fleshed out in Fifty Shades Freed, none of these go anywhere and are resolved rather quickly.

Sitting in the director’s chair is James Foley and like Sam Taylor-Johnson before him, I’m not sure how much blame I should place on him for making such a boring, poorly written screenplay based on an even worse novel written as Twilight fan-fiction. Foley has a respectable enough resume that includes Glengarry Glen Ross, Fear and several House of Cards episodes.

One big difference between the two isn’t with the directors but the director of photographers. The previous movie featured beautiful cinematography by Seamus McGarvey who went off to work on more respectable projects like Nocturnal Animals and The Accountant while this go around, those duties are taken over by John Schwartzman who has a nice filmography of his own (Seabiscuit, Jurassic World, The Founder and the upcoming Star Wars 9 project). But it is strange that at times Darker looked downright like a TV movie.

I looked over my review for Fifty Shades of Grey as a reminder of what I thought of it and noted praise for Dakota Johnson. Well, although she’s not terrible, it doesn’t seem like she, nor Jamie Dornan for that matter (who looks creepier than ever), seem to give two shits and honestly, why should they. The screenplay is terrible and a “plot” that was all over the place. Coming back is Marcia Gay Harden as Grey’s doting mother and new to the shit show is Kim Basinger, not sure why she would sign on to this…

Fifty Shades Darker is just another entry that is instantly forgettable and, worse yet, outright dull. Once Freed is released next year, hopefully the novels and adaptations will be rightfully forgotten.



This release comes with a matted, title-embossed, slip cover. Inside is a redemption code for the Digital HD copy.

Unrated Version (2:11:28; HD) – The unrated cut is included and actually runs a surprising 13-minutes longer. Having watched only the theatrical version, I can’t say exactly was added, but from what I saw, there was an additional scene in Christian’s billiards room where things get “hot” and “steamy”.

A Tease to Fifty Shades Freed (0:35; HD) is merely a teaser trailer.

Deleted Scenes (1:53; HD) – There are only two scenes removed and, from what I can tell, none what was in the movie that comprised the “Unrated” cut.

Writing Darker (3:16; HD) – One of the weakest aspects of the film gets its own featurette. This includes interviews with the producer and writer, who also is author E.L. James’ husband.

A Darker Direction (4:42; HD) examines director James Foley going into the sequel (and third film).

Dark Reunion (7:58; HD) takes a look at the roster cast from Grey coming back together.

New Threats (8:54; HD) is about the latest obstacles to the vaunted Anastasia/Christian romance.

The Masquerade (6:35; HD) breaks down the mask ball from the costumes to sets.

Intimate with Darker (7:14; HD) delves into the sexual elements of the film.


4K VIDEO – 4.75/5, BD VIDEO – 4.5/5

Fifty Shades Darker ironically enough has quite a bit of color behind it and includes natural looking skin tones (and there is a lot of skin!). This 4K UHD transfer is presented in its original 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio and a 2160p resolution (HEVC / H.265). Detail is incredibly sharp throughout while black levels appear nicely stark while not showing signs of artifacts, aliasing or other flaws. The 1080p high-def Blu-ray meanwhile looks good as well, just not quite as sharp but for the numerous consumers of the format, it still looks fantastic.

AUDIO – 5.0/5

The movie comes with a DTS:X track (both 4K and BD) and like its predecessor, it’s mostly impressive for the soundtrack/score more than anything, though there are some action-y elements like a gunshot or crashing chopper does help give the track a bit of robustness. Although it’s a great track, it’s not exactly reference quality work, that is if you want to admit to even owning the movie in the first place…


OVERALL – 2.0/5

Overall, it’s really no surprise that Fifty Shades Darker is a bad film but the worst sin of this entry it was awfully dull but did manage to elicit a few chuckles at least. The acting isn’t the best but uttering terrible dialogue would make the most seasoned actor look bad. As for this 4K/BD release by Universal, the features are rather basic but the video and audio transfers are both well done.





Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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