Saturday, July 6, 2013

Much Ado About Nothing: Movie Review


Merging 1598 with 2013 in comedic seamlessness.
After not reading the play, this review will be from the point of view of someone who is Shakespeare-literate but has not read nor seen any version of "Much Ado About Nothing". But I still think Joss Whedon’s modern up-do is brilliant — literally and metaphorically. Shakespeare's original dialogue in modern times with modern characters acting in antiquated situations. 2012

Directed by: Joss Whedon

Screenplay by: Joss Whedon
Based on the play by Shakespeare

Starring: Alexis Denisof and Amy Acker

Alexis Denisof and Amy Acker in Much Ado about Nothing, an eOne Films
release. Credit: Elsa Guillet Chapuis.
Let’s start with the black and white photography, glorious black and white. Almost as if everything is glowing. Absolutely beautiful cinematography which captured light glinting through the country road-lined trees. The purpose of the black and white is probably an additional element to show the old mirrored in the new. That type of merging may not have been a theme in this particular Shakespeare play but it is a major factor in this adaptation.

Amy Acker in Much Ado about Nothing, an eOne Films release.
Not knowing the plot and having only Shakespearean dialogue to introduce you to the characters and story, it can be difficult to get into or understand. But “Much Ado About Nothing” is a comedy, and the beauty of comedy is that it can transcend language and culture. And soon enough you’ll be laughing as Benedick (Alexis Denisof) stands outside a window eavesdropping and then tries to remain undetected. You’ll still be laughing, and in awe of Denisof’s ability, as he races up and down the estate stairs reciting a monologue debating the merits of being in love with Beatrice. The simple physical comedy is all it takes to get the audience back into the story.

The majority of the action - or comedic banter and situations – unfolds at Whedon's own house. It's a beautiful house for sure, but it's also built perfectly for all the eavesdropping and awkward encounters that take place in the play. Characters who are in love, want to fall in love, want to figure out who's in love with them, or just want to make sure that they're in the know. All things that people in today's world want. And that's the brilliance of the modernization. Shakespeare's characters belong in this world just as much as they belonged 400 years ago.

Later you can start admiring in wonder how perfectly suited Shakespeare’s dialogue is for modern characters. Or, more accurately, some of his dialogue which you can understand. Not everything from 1598 fits into 2013, but it’s still pretty amusing what does fit, and that’s the beauty of Joss Whedon’s 2013 “Much Ado About Nothing”.
Best of 2013