Written May 05, 2016
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 08, 2013
This isn't Shakespeare. The reviews are groupthink. Hey, it's okay to tell the truth about this film, it isn't intellectually dishonest to do so. I understand Shakespeare and the cadence of delivery, which, by the way, was delivered quite admirably. It isn't a good idea to transplant the Bard's depictions into the modern era and this film proves it. I actually left midway; I just couldn't be a witness to this travesty.
Written May 24, 2016
I've been looking forward to this movie since I first heard about it, maybe a year ago. That's a lot of build-up, and it did not disappoint! It's a lovely rendition of the play. Beatrice is by far my favorite Shakespeare heroine, and Amy Acker is wonderful in the role. Joss Whedon is a movie god. Go see this movie!
Written June 09, 2013
I have never, ever, laughed so loud, hard, long, nor often at Shakespeare. For we who have watched Whedon's other shows, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Dollhouse, and of course Firefly, it was like getting a gift from old friends.
The whole cast is just perfect, though. Sean Maher, Dr. Tam on Firefly, makes a deliciously wicked Don John, and Nathan Fillion's Dogberry is one of the funniest things ever. The movie is full of nice Whedony visual touches, and the set piece where Benedick "hides" to overhear his friends talking about Beatrice is hysterical.
The laughs were wonderful. What I never suspected is that I would be moved to tears - at least four times. The interrupted wedding is heartbreaking. When Beatrice and Benedick confess their love right before, you know, she asks him to kill a guy, is two-hanky stuff.
And I was just swept off my feet by Jillian Morgese as Hero. Mercy.
For my money, Joss just blew Branagh's 1993 version away.
Written June 10, 2013
What do you do after making a movie that earned more than a billion dollars?
You make a small budget movie that brings a Shakespearean romantic comedy into the 21st Century.
Lots of Whedon fans will likely try out his take on "Much Ado About Nothing" because it includes a cast of very familiar faces. But lovers of the bard should be impressed with Joss brings this tale to life.
Alexis Denisof and Amy Acker are a winning romantic couple as the bickering Benedick and Beatrice. Seeing their relationship develop from a one-night stand that didn't end well to true love is a great journey in itself.
Another discovery is Jlllian Morgese, who tries to add more life to Hero, a girl whose prospects of marriage to Claudio (Fran Kranz) are threatened by manufactured scandal thanks to Don Julio (Sean Maher). Nathan Fillion, from "Castle" almost steals the show as Dogberry, the local lawman who's about as confusing as he is determined to uphold the law.