Thursday, 27 June 2013

Much Ado About Nothing (2013)

Director: Joss Whedon
Screenplay: Joss Whedon and based on Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare
Starring: Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Reed Diamond, Nathan Fillion
Rating: 12A/ PG-13

Wit, sexiness, and deception oozed out of Shakespeare’s timeless play in this modern adaptation by geek favourite, Joss Whedon. I have to say, I am a huge fan of Whedon and Shakespeare, and was eager to see what this partnership would bring. What I saw was one of the best modern Shakespeare adaptation I have seen, even surpassing, dare I say it, Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet.
It’s very easy for Shakespeare to pass right over people’s heads if it is not performed properly. I’m happy to say, even if you are not familiar with the play, you can grasp the plot as it was executed so well. The tale goes as Benedick (Alexis Denisoff) arrives with Don Pedro (Reed Diamond) and Claudio (Fran Kranz) to the home of Leonarto (Clark Gregg). Claudio instantly falls for Leonarto’s daughter, Hero (Jillian Morgese), while Benedick and Beatrice (Amy Acker) continue their sexual tension fuelled sparring. However Don John (Sean Maher) is there to throw a spanner into the works. The rest is history. Or a 400 year old play.

Whedon fans will recognise most of the names off the cast list. Nearly every single cast member has appeared in Whedonverse. 

That’s not to say that they didn’t deserve the parts they were given. I have to say, this was an exquisitely cast film. The stars were Denisoff and Acker, playing witty partners Benedick and Beatrice, who were chock full of on-screen chemistry. I have never laughed so much at a Shakespeare adaptation then I did because of the two of them. I’m glad Whedon didn’t throw Nathan Fillion into a more central role because he was one of the biggest names there, but gave him the role of Dogberry, and him and Tom Lenk provided such a good laugh that they should consider becoming a double act.

Set in a modern day period with technology playing a part, yet shot in timeless black and white, Whedon’s direction is written all over the film. The booze and sex really glams up the play, opposed to cheapening it. There were clever and inventive background stories which played upon the Shakespearian script, such as Beatrice and Benedick’s history, and Don John’s and Conrade’s affair. Then there was the glitz and glam of the masquerade, the soliloquies with context, and the personal quality of the whole film being shot entirely in Whedon’s home. Not to mention the score. Whedon scored the film himself, and some of the songs included modernised versions of Shakespeare’s original songs for the play.

Much Ado About Nothing has the spark and chemistry of the 400 year old play, which keeps its relevance right to today. It is never overshadowed by its language and history, but instead plays with it in a quirky and dynamic way. The story is beautifully illustrated and exceptionally cast, and I am glad Whedon tossed aside high value production costs, in favour for something simpler, but no less spectacular.

Sum It Up: You like Shakespeare? Go see this. You like Whedon? Go see this. You like films? Go see this. It’s a beautiful, intelligent film, which captures the essence of Much Ado About Nothing with charm and wit.

Rating: 10/10


  1. Ooh, I really want to see that movie! It looks so good.

    1. It is amazing! I really recommend it (in case my review didn't put that forward enough :P)