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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Fifty Shades Freed (Blu-ray)
Fifty Shades Freed (Blu-ray)
Universal // R // May 8, 2018 // Region A
List Price: $22.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Ryan Keefer | posted May 25, 2018 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

I peripherally know about the Fifty Shades books and films resulting from same, and as far as I know there was a bit of kink that was mixed in with the white collar opulence that was set in the Pacific Northwest. I picture a Patrick Bateman-type, only in Seattle and with a wide variety of whips and butt plugs for use. And apparently the E.L. James books are big sellers and the movies did decent business, so…at least it's not a Marvel movie? Which brings us to Fifty Shades Freed, the third such installment in the series.

James' husband Niall Leonard and directed by James Foley (Glengarry Glen Ross) finds Anastasia (Dakota Johnson, 21 Jump Street) newly married to Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan, Marie Antoinette) and they begin their life in Christian's company. They deal with their new life as husband and wife and all the while doing what they can to sneak in some play time and safe words along the way. When a bad element is introduced who is seeking revenge on the Greys, the family struggles further.

So in my introduction I've laid out what is my knowledge of the Fifty Shades series. And in watching Freed I'm somewhat convinced that the film is so bad that it's actually on a Showgirls level of kitschy adoration, or has the potential to be. There are so many gaps of logic that you can't help but wonder if these are jokes. Then there is the larger case where most of the characters in Freed seem to be poorly constructed. Christian is a control freak who doesn't let people drive his cars (except when being chased by paparazzi) or children or making his friends feel comfortable in doing a big life event, and for a guy who has the ability to access GPS controls on a phone, he sure doesn't seem remarkably evolved.

Dornan utters his lines with a heavy dose of brooding throughout, and of the leads, Johnson carries the film or attempts to. The performance could have shown a little more depth to it, but given the source material she handles herself well. Eric Johnson (The Knick) reprises his role as Jack, a valued member of the Grey corporation who was fired in the second film, though his scant screen time is set up to be the antagonist when Ana and Christian's confrontation to maturity is arguably the more significant villain of Freed, to be honest.

For a couple of people who are worth millions onscreen, the Greys sure act like they're people of Walmart in Fifty Shades Freed. The story does them little credit to boot, with unintentional jokes, believability gaps too large to overcome and performances that are largely vapid as they seem to limp to the finish line. However, the only redeeming thing left after what I assume is the close of yet another cinematic trilogy, and perhaps we won't have to deal with these knuckleheads again.

The Blu-ray Disc:
The Video:

The 2.40:1 high-definition presentation that Freed sports is damned stunning, without a doubt. Be it the red in Ana's lipstick, or the greens of a Colorado hideaway, colors look excellent. Black levels are inky and consistent, and image detail is ample and razor sharp, whether it is fabric in clothing or closer shots of goosebumps on flesh are readily discernible and clear as can be. The image is devoid of artifacts, haloing or smoothing and looks fantastic. The product onscreen may stink but it looks fantastic.

The Sound:

DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless which also does a good job of bringing it. The newly minted Audis roar through the soundstage with a bunch of low-end fidelity to them. Dialogue is well-balanced through the film, moments of larger dynamic range like in a bar include ambient sounds in the secondary channels and moments of fighting or combat possess some channel panning as well (along with the big engine beasts in the film). Universal's technical work on the recent releases continues to impress.

Extras:

Things kick off with "The Final Climax" (32:39), a less clever than it thinks titled multipart featurette on the film and gets into wardrobe, production and location examinations and design, looking at big components of the story like the Greys and the protagonist in the film. It isn't all that revelatory but serves as an average making-of piece. "Christian and Ana by Jamie and Dakota" (6:02) includes thoughts from the actors on the characters and their changing through all three films, and the challenges of shooting all that sex in them. A deleted scene (1:08) doesn't add much to the film, and "A Conversation with E.L. James and Eric Johnson" (8:52) filmed the day of the theatrical premiere, serves as a look back at the three films with James, and the books as well. Three music videos (11:32) round them out.

Final Thoughts:

Not that I'm against some bedroom kinkiness among couples, but if the Fifty Shades movies told stories this bad outside of the bedroom, I'm wondering how we got to three movies to begin with, because Fifty Shades Freed really does border on unintentional comedy, taking itself seriously enough that a number of moments in the film are rife for parody. Technically the disc looks and sounds great, and I could go either way on the extras to be honest. If you've invested in the books and movies deeply already this should stop you, but if this film is any indication, I would stay away from any of this material, not because it's ‘dirty,' but because it is bad.

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