Written January 22, 2017
I liked it. I didn't realize the characters would be speaking in the old Shakespeare English, so it took me about 10 minutes to really figure out what was going on. But once I got into it, I really got into it.
I read one review that said that there weren't any major actors in this film, but I strongly and respectfully disagree. To me, this was an all-star cast, but I'm a Joss Whedon fan, so yeah. Seeing Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen during the party was also a nice bonus!
The black and white really helped keep me in the story. I wasn't distracted by "teal and orange" effect many movies and shows are subject to now.
Written December 09, 2016
Quite a witty and intelligent adaptation of this classic tale. Very well integrated into a setting that is totally believable. Modern people and surroundings with the timeless and magical script as written by William Shakespeare 400 years ago, and without error.
I was a bit skeptical, until I went. The time / dialog mismatch disappears within the first few minutes, and you just roll with it. It works, and works very well. Kudos to those individuals that acted, wrote, edited and scored this masterpiece. The soundtrack is very well done and integrates perfectly with this movie. I loved every minute of it. In fact, I'll buy it when it comes out!
The one comment that I must make is that this movie from the opening scene is ALL California ALL the way! If you've spent any time there, studying their odd and bewildering culture, you will see this too. As they say, "California is like a bowl of Granola! What 'aint fruits and nuts, is FLAKES! Yikes! On a trapeze, and so on...?
Written April 06, 2017
Jos Whedon's "Much Ado About Nothing, " is a brilliant contemporary version of the Shakespeare play, a 'must see' for Shakespeare aficionados. But it also seems to be a production that would work for those who don't know the play and want an introduction to it, like the friend I brought to see it. It works for today's audience because it get at darker parts of the play while maintaining the comedy in a way that works for today's culture. And it doesn't patronize spectators by over-dramatizing right from the start that Beatrice and Benedict love each other underneath their sparring. (i.e. Most other productions stage and filmic represent this right away with a twinkle in the voice or hints of smiles, or more direct expressions.) Instead, Whedon's production gives audiences who aren't familiar with most older ones a little time to figure it out. This makes the trajectory of the relationship more nuanced and realistic.
Written January 23, 2017
This is Shakespeare, edited for time but with the original dialogue and the original jokes but filmed in a modern setting. If that puts you off, this film will put you off.
As a Joss Whedon fan, the hardest part for me was to get over seeing all of these actors I recognized such "Wesley" as Benedict or "Agent Coulson" as Duke Leonato. However, this is not fault of the actors, just my preconceptions. Each played their part well, though none of them will be nominated for an Academy Award.
However, what might catch the Academy's attention is the directing, cinematography or editing. Shot in black and white the whole thing is just gorgeous. Interesting angles interspersed with thoughtful shots make it a joy to watch.
But the real question is, is it funny? The entire audience in my showing was laughing all over the place, so yes! Absolutely. Special mention goes to Denisof as Benedict who does as much pratfalls and physical comedy as Elizabethan zingers.
Written July 05, 2013
I've probably seen twenty adaptations of Shakespearean plays, and this was the best modern adaptation, and maybe the best general production of all!!! Though I think Joss Whedon tweaked the screenplay a bit, it is real Elizabethan English with all the flair, poetry, and double entendre. It is the only one that successfully integrates the play into a modern setting in a way that does not seem forced or hokey. Please – if you want to see good theater adapted to the screen, GO SEE THIS!!!!