Much Ado About Nothing

Reviews
by Leonard Maltin
June 7, 2013 5:44 PM
6 Comments
  • |

Photo by Elsa Guillet-Chapuis - Courtesy of Bellwether Productions
As if there weren’t enough to admire about Joss Whedon already, he’s decided to follow up the ultimate comic book superhero movie (The Avengers) with a lively, original reimagining of William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. Cast almost entirely with actors who are familiar from their other work within the Whedonverse (from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Dollhouse), it was shot in luminous black & white at Whedon’s beautiful home—designed by his architect/producer wife, Kai Cole.

This spirited rendition of the Bard’s comedy of sexual misadventures manages to reach across the centuries by using a modern setting but never commenting on it. While newcomers to Shakespearean language may require some time to acclimate, it quickly becomes apparent that the situations speak for themselves—even if you can’t absorb the precise meaning of every utterance. What’s more, the actors seem completely at ease with this dialogue.

Led by a feisty Amy Acker as Beatrice and Alexis Denisof as Benedick, the ensemble breathes life into every comedic turn in this ode to the vicissitudes of love and romance. Whedon and his cast have fun with the incongruity of enacting this ageless play in a contemporary setting, and as a result, so do we.

If even a handful of Joss Whedon’s many fans give Shakespeare a try because of this labor-of-love, the prodigious writer-director will have struck a welcome blow for civilization. Well played, sir!

           

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6 Comments

  • Scott | June 12, 2013 2:23 AMReply

    I gotta hand it to Joss Whedon, he stays loyal to his friends.

  • Mike Schlesinger | June 8, 2013 4:10 PMReply

    Well, as long as we're being pedantic, it would be more correct to say the movie was "released" in black-and-white. Since it was shot digitally, the negative (as it were) is in color. And I'll bet you dollars to donuts that the color version eventually turns up on TV, and perhaps even on DVD to coddle those all-important Wal-Mart shoppers who won't be aware that it's Shakespeare until it's too late! :-D

  • Craig Sanders | June 8, 2013 7:51 AMReply

    Leonard,
    You show how antiquated your criticism is as you applaud a film like The Avengers... A pedestrian work with no subtext, no content, no redeemable aspects whatsoever (white rich people saving the world, how novel... how radical)... you are part of the problem Leonard. When cinema is dead, we will look to you, since you were one of the ones championing its demise. Long live video game cinema.. you philistine!

  • Jack Skellington | June 9, 2013 8:42 PM

    Craig,

    You're a bore. Stop coming to our parties.

  • Brian | June 8, 2013 1:15 PM

    Hey Craig,
    Why don't you read the review. It's about MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, not The Avengers. And, I see you were finally able to use your thesaurus app your mom put on the phone she bought you... big words for such a shallow boy. How long did it take you to find "philistine?"

    No sir, you are part of the problem. Good day.

  • Craig Sanders | June 8, 2013 7:16 AMReply

    Leonard,
    You show how antiquated your criticism is as you applaud a film like The Avengers... A pedestrian work with no subtext, no content, no redeemable aspects whatsoever (white rich people saving the world, how novel... how radical)... you are part of the problem Leonard. When cinema is dead, we will look to you, since you were one of the ones championing its demise. Long live video game cinema.. you philistine!

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