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James Foley
Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Eric Johnson
Writing Credits:
Niall Leonard

Anastasia and Christian get married, but Jack Hyde continues to threaten their relationship.

Box Office:
$55 million.
Opening Weekend
$38,560,195 on 3768 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated R/Unrated

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS X
Spanish DTS 7.1
French DTS 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 105 min. (Theatrical Version)
110 min. (Unrated Cut)
Price: $37.98
Release Date: 5/8/2018

• Both Theatrical and Unrated Cuts
• Deleted Scene
• “The Final Climax Featurettes
• “Christian and Ana by Jamie and Dakota” Featurette
• “An Intimate Conversation” Featurette
• Music Videos
• Blu--ray Copy


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Sony UBP-X800 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Fifty Shades Freed [4K UHD] (2018)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 2, 2018)

With 2018’s Fifty Shades Freed, the trilogy that started in 2015 and continued in 2017 came to an end. After a long, rocky relationship, Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) and Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) finally wed.

Though this starts in a blissful manner, the pair can’t escape their past, and various concerns challenge their matrimonial happiness. In particular, Jack Hyde (Eric Johnson) – Ana’s former boss and stalker – threatens to rain on their parade.

As the saying goes, one can define insanity as doing the same thing over and over with the expectation of different results. I guess I’m 50 shades of nuts, because I continue to watch these movies with the hope that I’ll find something that improves on its predecessors.

In the case of 2017’s Fifty Shades Darker, that wasn’t a completely unrealistic dream, as the first sequel brought new creative talent. While 2016’s Fifty Shades of Grey came from director Sam Taylor-Johnson and screenwriter Kelly Marcel, James Foley and Niall Leonard took over those roles for Darker.

The director of Glengarry Glen Ross and other “men’s movies”, I hoped Foley would bring a bit more added toughness to the franchise. In the case of Darker, I encountered disappointment, but hey, maybe Freed would rebound, right?

Not so much. A virtual duplicate of the first two, Freed follows the same patterns with the same tiresome results.

For a series famed for its “kinky” sexual proclivities, the Shades films seem awfully tame. As I’ve noted in earlier reviews, some of this is inevitable, as a movie made for the multiplex crowd can’t go to erotic extremes.

That said, Freed seems just as bland as its predecessors. It barely teases us with its sex sequences, and these come across as uniformly tedious. Maybe someone gets a charge from the mopey meanderings between Christian and Ana, but I can’t find anything stimulating here.

Freed barely attempts a story. Sure, it tosses out the “threat” from Hyde, but the majority of the tale concentrates on the growing pains between Christian and Ana as they cope with married life.

This side of the movie never feels interesting, and these scenes can be borderline appalling, mainly due to the nature of Christian’s character. Has he always been a jerk and I forgot?

I’m not sure, but I do know that the Christian of Freed seems like a psychopath, as the movie offers one scene after another in which he feels ominous. He constantly calls Ana “Mrs. Grey” – with the implication that she now acts as his property – and he bosses her around almost nonstop.

All of this makes Christian feel more like a psycho stalker than a loving husband. He goes nuts when Ana gets a drink with an old friend and grouses because she wants to use her maiden name at work.

Christian orders her around constantly, as he tells her how to dress and how to behave. When Ana doesn’t follow his demands, he whines about how she “defies” him.

And on and on. Ana occasionally offers meek resistance to his demands, but these moments seem feeble and gratuitous.

Maybe Christian always offered a controlling, domineering figure – and maybe some people like it. In the “MeToo” environment, though, a character like Christian who smothers his wife and demands fealty feels awfully problematic, and the movie never provides the balance to overcome these issues.

That’s because Christian fails to display any real positive attributes – beyond his wealth and his looks. Of course, the fact he’s hot and rich will subdue a lot of sins for many people, but since the film wants us to bond with and care for Christian, his massive flaws harm the movie.

Not that I think a likable Christian would redeem this muck, as Freed suffers from drawbacks that damage the entire enterprise. Slow and boring, Freed remains more silly than sexy.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B-/ Bonus C

Fifty Shades Freed appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. Like its predecessors, this became an appealing presentation.

From start to finish, sharpness looked good. Only a little softness affected wide shots, and those examples occurred too infrequently to cause problems. Instead, the film looked concise and well-defined.

No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects occurred, and edge enhancement was absent. I also failed to detect any source flaws.

In terms of colors, the movie featured a palette that favored a mix of ambers and teal, with an emphasis on the former tones. Across the board, the hues looked fine within those parameters.

Blacks were dark and deep, while shadows appeared clear and smooth. I thought the movie consistently looked positive.

As for the movie’s DTS-X soundtrack – which downconverted to DTS-HD MA 7.1 on my system – it seemed fine but it didn’t excel due to a lack of ambition. Like most character dramas, the movie featured a limited soundfield that favored the forward channels.

The mix showed nice stereo spread to the music as well as some general ambience from the sides. Panning was strong, and the surrounds usually kicked in basic reinforcement. Not much came out in an engaging way, as even a car chase felt restrained.

Audio quality appeared good, as speech was natural and distinct, with no issues related to edginess or intelligibility. Effects sounded clean and accurate, with good fidelity and no signs of distortion.

Music was perfectly fine, as the score and songs showed positive dimensionality. This track was good enough for a “B-“ but didn’t particularly impress.

How did the 4K compare to the Blu-ray version? Audio remained identical, as both discs offered the same DTS X mix. As for the visuals, the 4K looked a little tighter, and its HDR capabilities brought out more vivid colors and superior contrast.

I didn’t think the 4K offered a substantial improvement over the Blu-ray, though. Finished as a 2K release, the format’s capabilities gave the UHD disc a bit more clarity and vivacity, but I can’t claim it provided a major step up in visual quality.

This package includes two versions of Freed. In addition to the movie’s theatrical edition (1:45:18), we find a Director’s Cut (1:50:18). Because I only watched the longer rendition, I can’t directly compare the two, but I wanted to mention that both appear here.

One Deleted Scene lasts one minute, eight seconds. Called “Hickey and Apology”, it offers a silly expansion to an existing scene.

Under the banner The Final Climax, we find nine featurettes that fill 32 minutes, 39 seconds with notes from director James Foley, production designer Nelson Coates, set decorator Carolyn 'Cal' Loucks, costume designer Shay Cunliffe, director of photography John Schwartzman, producer Marcus Viscidi, author EL James, screenwriter Niall Leonard, and actors Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Eloise Mumford, Victor Rasuk, Rita Ora, and Eric Johnson.

“Climax” follows various scenes in the order presented in the movie and focuses on story/characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, and costumes and production design. These tend to feel “meat and potatoes”, so they don’t deliver a lot of depth, but they cover the production in a competent manner.

For more from the actors, we get Christian & Ana by Jamie & Dakota. It goes for six minutes, two seconds and brings notes from Johnson, Dornan, Foley and James as they discuss the lead characters. Don’t expect a lot of insight, as the show lacks much useful material.

A Conversation with EL James and Eric Johnson lasts eight minutes, 52 seconds. It gives us a chat between actor and author as they go over aspects of Johnson’s character and performance as well as general thoughts about the trilogy. The format gives the piece a little more charge than its siblings but it still fails to present much substance.

Three music videos appear. We get clips for “Capital Letters” by Hailee Steinfeld X Bloodpop, “For You” from Liam Payne and Rita Ora, and “Heaven” by Julia Michaels.

“For You” places the singers in Freed situations, a premise that sounds promising but ends up as just the usual lip-synch mediocrity most of the time. “Letters” follows a semi-similar motif, as some anonymous Christian-esque stud romances Steinfeld. It’s a little more creative but not much more interesting.

Finally, “Heaven” adopts the same concept and appears to take place in Christian’s apartment. Don’t expect much from it either, though I’m glad these videos at least avoid the usual movie clip montages.

A second disc presents a Blu-ray copy of Freed. It includes the same extras as the 4K.

For better or for worse, Fifty Shades Freed follows the same formula as the first two films – and I’ll vote “for worse”. Dull, tiresome and melodramatic, the movie fails to become anything even vaguely stimulating. The 4K UHD brings us strong picture along with decent audio and a smattering of decent supplements. Freed ends a dull trilogy on a forgettable note.

To rate this film visit the Blu-ray review of FIFTY SHADES FREED

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