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.
Written June 08, 2013
As a long-time Shakespeare fan, I was curious to see what Joss Whedon and this talented cast would make of Much Ado. The answer: a treat! Whedon brings his signature irony and wit to a classic script. He turns archaic references into wry, self-aware puns, puts polish on some scenes that are hard to sell to a modern audience, and tells a classic story with respect, understanding and humor. The cast is excellent, and has chemistry that feels more like a stage troupe than a big-screen movie. This film is fun to watch for fans of Shakespeare and people who've never seen the play, and feels like it was fun to make.
Written June 13, 2013
A review of this movie seems almost beside the point. It's a bunch of fantastic actors getting together to put on one of history's greatest romantic comedies. The cinematography is beautiful, and the performances are delightful. If you're into Shakespeare at all, you really need to see it.
Written June 22, 2014
This isn't the first time someone has taken a Shakespearean play, preserved the iambic pentameter, and set it in modern day. This is a decidedly American rendition with American actors using American accents to deliver Shakespeare's words without alteration. The effect is not altogether lame, as these are fine actors and the love story and drama come through intact. However, it doesn't work all that well, in my opinion. I was left wanting to see it redone with modernized dialogue or the proper setting.