Friday, May 5, 2017

Much Ado About Nothing (on DVD)

Much Ado About Nothing
directed by Joss Whedon, from the play by William Shakespeare [DVD Much] 

Director Joss Whedon is perhaps best known for his scifi/fantasy-genre works, such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer (and its spinoff Angel), Firefly, Dollhouse, and the first two Avengers films teaming up the various Marvel Comics superheroes.

For this 2012 version of the Shakespearean classic romantic comedy, Much Ado About Nothing, Whedon takes a break from his action-adventure roots, but pulls in all of his actor friends from his various genre productions for major roles in this marvelous romp. Alexis Denisof (who played Wesley on Buffy and Angel) is Benedick, while Amy Acker (who starred as Winifred/Illyria on Angel, and Dr. Saunders on Dollhouse, not to mention as Root on the entire run of the non-Whedon series Person of Interest) is Beatrice. Other family faces in the cast are Nathan Fillion (Firefly, Castle), Clark Gregg (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Reed Diamond (Designated Survivor), Sean Maher (Firefly), and feature-film newcomer Jillian Morgese as Hero.

Filmed on location at Whedon’s own home, in Santa Monica, CA, this version of Much Ado About Nothing is an updated take on love and relationships, told in the form of two different romantic pairs — one a pair of young and desperate lovers, the other a pair of seemingly bitter opponents, constantly at odds, who have trouble seeing the attraction between themselves. Whedon highlights the fun in Shakespeare’s story, without sacrificing the flowing language of the original. This is a fast-paced romp of a movie, set in a gorgeous home and featuring terrific performances. This feels very fluid, unlike some staged versions of the play, as the actors are given the freedom to move throughout the many rooms of the estate which is the setting. I enjoyed this tremendously…although being a fan of Whedon’s stable of many past actors may have had a part in that! (As a side note — I LOVED the soundtrack to this film and bought it off iTunes right after seeing the movie!).

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Henry V, directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh, Hamlet with Branagh, or Branagh’s own film version of Much Ado About Nothing] [Also available in traditional print format.]

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ official Much Ado About Nothing web site ]

Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

Have you seen this one? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

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