[adrotate banner=”1″] One of the most anticipated film trailers in recent memory has hit the internet, and it’s a decisive “meh.” Which is a shame, but what are you gonna do? 50 Shades of Grey was destined to get all sorts of shade tossed its way no matter how the trailer looked, because it’s already complete with a pack of haters. From the S&M enthusiasts angry that things don’t match reality to fanfic writers angry because this Twilight fanfic made millions while their S&M ponies story didn’t to people who are immature about the subject of sexuality to teenage boys who sit confused at a movie targeted for 30-something housewives, there is no shortage of people who will be making a fuss.
The trailer even failed to impress the toughest critic of all, my wife! Maybe later trailers will do more, but for now, things look strangely vanilla, Ana Steele comes off as boring, and Christian Grey just seemed creepily attracted for no reason at all. But, then, it isTwilight… I’m just sad my fantasy casting of Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson will never happen, because that would have blown everyone’s minds! We’ll just have to see how Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan do once all the moaning and groaning begins.
Despite all this, and despite the trailer failing to impress too much, 50 Shades of Grey is still a film that we’re going to go see opening weekend, because that’s how we do. Also, do you really want to sit in the chairs at the theater after a couple showings of this film? They might be a bit…..sticky!
[adrotate banner=”1″]Let’s put aside all the cool boner jokes you can make with the title of a film called Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, and instead focus on an issue that has less to do with the film and more to do with the book series and author Cassandra Clare. Be warned that I will be referencing some stuff that happened in the Harry Potter FanFic community, something that if you are not familiar with will sound very craZy with a random capital letter in the middle of the word.
Before we start, let me say I love this fanfic drama stuff. The fanfic itself..not so much. I simply don’t have time to read thousands of stories online in addition to all the other reading I do and the watching movies and writing about movies and having a wife and a job. But when things go controversial or weird, that’s when I pay attention, as I’m attracted to drama. It’s my honeypot!
Cassandra Clare got her online fame start as Cassandra Claire (neither are her real name, btw), writer of famed FanFic The Very Secret Diaries (a spoof of The Lord of the Rings) and The Draco Trilogy, an influential Harry Potter FanFic. The Draco Trilogy is where we are going to focus.
The Draco Trilogy features Draco Malfoy being redeemed and joining with Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny on a series of adventures. It begins with Draco Dormiens, where polyjuice potion causes Harry and Draco to be permanently switched, and hijinks ensue. Needless to say, Draco becomes good, Sirius Black declares he will marry Draco’s mom (thus making Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy brothers!), and Harry confesses his love to Hermione (who rejects him!) In Draco Sinister, Harry, Ron, Hermione, Draco, and Ginny battle Salazar Slytherin, who has returned to be evil and kidnap Hermione, because that’s what evil people do. The final chapter is Draco Veritas, which clocks in at over 500,000 words!! Needless to say, a bajillion things happen, including love dodecahedrons, people getting drunk all the time, fake coming out of the closet, and wizard strip clubs.
The Draco Trilogy was influential, producing numerous pieces of fan art and becoming the definitive story for the Draco/Ginny shippers. But it wasn’t without controversy, as it was discovered that portions of the stories were taken wholesale from sources without attribution. Buffy the Vampire Slayer quotes were the most easily spotted, as well as Babylon 5 lines. But there were a lot of passages from fantasy authors that were reworded slightly and inserted. If these sources had been identified in the beginning, no one would have cared, but it was the fact they were used freely and without disclosure that caused everyone to freak out. Her stories were removed from FanFiction.Net, though the ensuing controversy led to the creation of FictionAlley, where The Draco Trilogy reappeared (until it was deleted again right when Cassandra Clare got a book contract!)
Readers of Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series got their own eerie sense of deja vu when they realized that some of the characters were basically Claire’s versions of the Harry Potter characters from The Draco Trilogy. Most specifically, series bad boy Jace is her version of Draco Malfoy, right down to directly quoting some of the same lines her Malfoy said in The Draco Trilogy. Heroine Clary is her Ginny. Alec=Harry, Isabelle=Blaise, Valentine=Lucius. This is problematic because even though they are her interpretations of characters, the characters are essentially the JK Rowling characters. It’s the same deal with the whole 50 Shades of Grey thing, where the characters are Edward and Bella because it was a fanfic first.
I love remixes, I love when cultural properties are used by others outside of their original scope. I love that it happens even when I don’t love the end results. But it’s nice to have acknowledgement that it is what is happening. Instead, we get silence and denials and outright drama. And Cassandra Clare is no stranger to random online drama. I get annoyed when people don’t acknowledge the obvious inspirations and sources of their materials. Cassandra Clare has a history of borrowing from others without consent, and while other fanfic writers who have gone off to be published (called profic) can come up with original ideas and settings and characters, the excessive reuse is troubling.
Also the film looks ridonkulous. Seriously ridonkulous. It will be a glorious train wreck. And maybe Godfrey Gao will become the new Asian heartthrob!
(Image from so many tumblrs I don’t even know any more!)
[adrotate banner=”1″]That’s what we need, bullets, not some Mommy Porn garbage that was a Twilight fanfic and is now going to be an epic movie trilogy that will make you question everything as you slit your wrists down to the bone. And then keep slicing!
So for those of you who are lucky duckies and have no clue what I am whining about, Fifty Shades of Grey is a trilogy of books that began their lives as Twilight fan fiction. British author E L James created the BDSM-themed story featuring Edward and Bella and they were released for free, as fan fiction is. But the stories became very popular, to the point there was a convention about this fanfic (!) which raised money for charity. Then E L James took the story, changed only the names of the characters (Bella and Edward become Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey), and published the book through a company that has published similar work in the past. She then got her fans who paid for the convention to buy the book and spread reviews all over the internet, generating buzz and getting fame and money and popularizing the term “Mommy porn”. Yada yada yada, E L James has a ton of money and fame made off of the backs of Stephenie Meyer, and scored more when a company paid seven figures for the rights to reprint the books. And now E L James has even more money, because a gigantic bidding war broke out over the movie rights to her book. As many as 10 studios were fighting hand over fist for the right to bring the Mommy Porn to life on the big screen. And..ding ding…we have a winner! For an estimated $4 million or 5% of gross, Universal Pictures and Focus Features have acquired screen rights to Fifty Shades of Grey and the two sequels, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed.
Hmm…he’s soft and hard at once, like steel encased in velvet, and surprisingly tasty — salty and smooth…he’s my own Christian Grey flavor popsicle.
Anastasia on Christian’s tortured, tortured soul:
“Why don’t you like to be touched?” I whisper, staring up into soft gray eyes.
“Because I’m fifty shades of fucked up, Anastasia.”
Oh…his honestly is completely disarming. I blink up at him.
After her first spanking session:
“Oh baby,” he breathes. “Welcome to my world.”
We lie there, panting together, waiting for our breathing to slow. He gently strokes my hair. I’m on his chest again…boy…I survived. That wasn’t so bad. I’m more stoic than I thought. My inner goddess is prostrate..well at least he’s quiet. Christian nuzzles my hair again, inhaling deeply. “Well done, baby,” he whispers, quiet joy in his voice. His words curl around me like a soft fluffy towel from the Heathman Hotel, and I’m so pleased he’s happy.
This is enough to make you run screaming back to Edward, Bella, Jacob, and the baby he loves, holding them tight and never wanting to let go….
[adrotate banner=”1″]Here is some fun conservative fan fiction where Obama is dictator of America. Of course, somehow Obama is responsible for the privatization of the Armed Forces (I think someone else got that ball rolling big time…) and the selling off of various states. Oh, and all farm animals are killed, the government controls everyone by cell phones, and the evil that is solar power grows across the land. And you can’t pray, because that would totally happen as well. This was written by a woman, so it is one of the few conservative fan fiction examples that doesn’t end in violent bloodshed and “real Americans” killing 50 million liberals. But we got examples of that coming up soon if you like the killing and the death and the armchair revolutionaries. But for now, enjoy!