June 25, 2013

Movie Review: Much Ado About Nothing (2013)

It was just a few weeks ago that I first learned of Joss Whedon's new film, am adaptation of William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing. I must say that it very much intrigued me. The movie was shot on black and white and featured a host of faces familiar to fans of Whedon's work, which definitely got my attention. It is also set on the present while retaining the old English dialogue. Still, I was not sure I wanted to make the trip to go see it.

Obviously, I ended up taking the drive and saw the movie. I loved it, however, upon returning home, still happy with my decision to go and see it, I was not sure I was going to write about it. I am no Shakespeare expert and probably lack the familiarity that one should have when looking to talk about a Shakespeare adaptation. It is kind of like if I went to review a country album (which will not happen). Yet, here I am.

The movie was shot in twelve days during a break in the Avengers shooting schedule and was shot at Whedon's home. It is said that this was done rather than going on vacation for his 20th wedding anniversary with the encouragement of his wife. The results are quite extraordinary. Granted, I am not familiar with the play and have not seen any other stagings, but there is something about this that just sucks you in.

Now, it took me a good ten minutes or so to get used to the Shakespearean language and get a handle on who the characters are, but after that, it looked and sounded as natural as the dialogue you are used to hearing. A lot of credit goes to the cast for their exceptional delivery of said dialogue, they go a long way to making everything fluid and natural. It is often easy to forget that there is this blending of old language with the modern setting.

Much Ado About Nothing is a light tale of romance and comedy. It concerns two would be couples, their attitudes towards love and marriage and the machinations that are used to get them together. I really have no interest in going over the specifics, but I will say it is pretty entertaining.

This movie has a certain quality that makes it so very endearing and eminently watchable. There is a certain theatricality to the staging, meaning there are some scenes where things occur that could not happen in actuality, but it works to comical effect. This includes things like scenes of eavesdropping were the eavesdropper should easily be discovered.

The performances are solid all around, with standout work from Amy Acker, Fran Kranz, and Alexos Denisof, with other entertaining turns from Clark Gregg and Nathan Fillion. They all bring personality to the screen in their own unique way, delivering the dialogue and using their physicality and presence to elicit a lot with what often seems like very little. The work ranges from subtle to the broad, always feeling natural and always working for the scene.

Seriously, I am not exactly sure what to say about the movie tat couldn't be said better by someone else. I really liked the film, the performances are effective, the blend of old and new feels unique, fresh. The black and white photography is very nice and looks great on the big screen. This turned out to be a very pleasant surprise and I am very glad to have taken the chance to go and see it. This is well worth your time and effort.

Highly Recommended.

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