When it comes to adaptations, there are many films which equal the brilliance of the original source text or manage even to slightly tip the scales in their favour. Films like 'Shawshank Redemption', 'The Godfather', 'Life of Pi' and 'The Hunger Games' all proved immensely popular in both book and film form. They understood what was brilliant about the book and kept the feel of it on the big screen. But can a book like 'Fifty Shades of Grey', which seems to be both loved and loathed in equal measure, be adapted into a film far more popular than the source text?
So far, it does look promising. After all, it is the story of 'Fifty Shades of Grey' that appealed to so many fans the world over: one of sexual awakening. In Christian Grey, author EL James created a tortured (pardon the pun!) anti-hero who is wealthy, powerful and dominating. Women worldwide found themselves drawn to him. It is a fantasy and one that people seem to have embraced. When you look at the writing, however, it is often more laughable than erotic. James seems too scared to use actual terminology for genitalia. Orgasms are likened to washing machine spin cycles and dear God will Ana ever stop biting her damn lip? In an adaptation, though, many of the things readers didn't like about the story can disappear. Audiences can see more of Christian and perhaps hear a little less of Ana's incessant inner monologue.
Now that the key players are in place, we have a far better idea of what kind of film this adaptation will be. It had the potential for farce and comedy. It could have been a laughable adaptation that was all sex and gratuity with no actual plot or character development. However, with Charlie Hunnam and Dakota Johnson cast as Christian and Ana and Sam Taylor-Wood ('Nowhere Boy') chosen as the film's director, the style looks to be on the more serious, art-house and gritty side. The film may just develop the characters into something far more interesting than the original novel.
I couldn't stand the anti-climactic end to the novel of 'Breaking Dawn' but the spectacular film ending was far more exciting. I was interested reading 'The Motorcycle Diaries' but I was blown away by the stunning scenery and heart-breaking performances of the adaptation. Perhaps, with Fifty Shades, the book I found so laughable might actually prove to be an incredible piece of cinema.
Amanda Keats is a film geek with a special interest in adaptations, foreign cinema and films that go beyond the norm. She would like to be friends with Katniss Everdeen but would probably not last long in a Hunger Games/Battle Royale scenario. Follow Amanda Keats on Twitter and Facebook.
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