No matter what you thought about the first filmic adaptation of E.L. James somehow popular Fifty Shades trilogy - Fifty Shades of Grey - you may have to admit that its saving grace was the soundtrack.
Fifty Shades of Grey swept the board last month at the satirical 36th Golden Raspberry Awards (better known as the Razzies). The Razzies each year "honors" the worst of the worst cinematic achievements. Fifty Shades of Grey scooped six nominations and won five awards, making it the biggest winner (or biggest loser) overall.
Here's what it won:
Worst Film: tied with Fox's Fantastic Four
Worst Actor: Jamie Dornan
Worst Actress: Dakota Johnson
Worst Screen Combo: Jamie Dornan & Dakota Johnson
Worst Screenplay: Kelly Marcel
To be fair both Dornan and Johnson are good, even great actors when they're performing in their prime; have you seen The Fall? Though Dornan admits that has a creepy psychopathic niche, he plays it to great effect in the critically acclaimed Irish series. But it's hard to make diamonds from coal this dense, coal mined by the polarising E.L. James.
Screenwriter Kelly Marcel is no slouch either, she wrote the critically adored and award winning Saving Mr. Banks and had planned for a "crazy and artistic" take on Fifty Shades of Grey. Sounds interesting right? But it never happened. Disputes with E.L. James left her unwilling to even view the finished film, calling it "too painful" to watch. We feel you Marcel, we feel you.
Marcel has been replaced for Fifty Shades Darker after leaving the franchise by James' husband Niall Leonard, and Sam Taylor-Johnson (who also declined to return for the sequel) has been replaced by James Foley, best known for House of Cards and Glengarry Glen Ross. This choice was criticised by Forbes for replacing two major female crew members with males, so make of that what you will.
But it's not all bad. Whilst James may have run roughshod over not only Marcel but director Taylor-Johnson, forcing the films to align too closely with her original "novel" the soundtrack remained the one bright spot in the movie, like an inadequate life raft thrown to a drowning man.
Indeed the OST was the only critically positively received part of the movie. The Weeknd's Earned It received an Oscar nomination, contrasting hilariously with Fifty Shades of Grey's aformentioned Razzie nominations. Ellie Goulding's Love Me Like You Do was nominated for various awards, including a Grammy and a Golden Globe.
So can the Fifty Shades Darker soundtrack measure up? Something's gotta save this movie from itself after all. Recent rumors have been creeping out that Ellie Goulding could return off the back off the widespread success Love Me Like You Do earned her, whilst there's also been some chatter about the possibility of Ariana Grande's "seductive little number" Dangerous Woman being perfectly suited for the soundtrack.
It's all still very early in the production stages now though, with the film not set to release for nearly a year, so it's unlikely we'll get an official line on the soundtrack for a while yet. Lets see if it can slow this trainwreck down.