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Much Ado About Nothing [Blu-ray]
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I teach 11th Grade Shakespeare.
Upon announcing we were watching this, my kids were fairly excited. We brought in popcorn, soda, etc.--made it a special movie day.
Besides a slew of their gasps, and laughter--they were SILENT the whole time: enthralled, and captivated.
We had such a great time, they were so appreciative of the interpretation, had so many opinions to voice, and finally understood Shakespeare.
Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof may not be as golden-throated in speaking the Bard's verse as Thompson and Branagh, but they are just as adept in portraying Beatrice and Benedick's emotions, and they are the superior physical comedians. In fact, Whedon's cast is wonderful straight down the line: Reed Diamond as Don Pedro, Clark Gregg ss Leonato, and especially Nathan Fillion as Dogberry. Fillion's masterful underplaying, taking full advantage of every malaprop, is better than Michael Keaton's heavily Beetlejuiced portrayal in Branagh's film. Also, Sean Maher is incomparably better as the treacherous Don John than Keanu Reeves, who looked perfect but sounded like he was coming out of anesthesia.
The B&W photography in Whedon's film creates its own cool, jazz-tinged magic, an enormous contrast to the occasionally forced hilarity in Branagh's version. Whedon's "Much Ado" is a perfect post-Watergate Shakespearian romp.
How could this film NOT be awesome?
For those that don't know, Whedon is not only the king of all things geeky (BUFFY, ANGEL, FIREFLY, DOLLHOUSE, SERENITY, CABIN IN THE WOODS and a little film called THE AVENGERS), but he's a tremendous Shakespeare buff. Stories have circulated for years about how he would have cast members of his various shows come to his Santa Monica home, sit around, have dinner and drinks and recite some of Shakespeare's plays. Now, he has essentially brought that idea to film in a "micro-budgeted" self-produced digitally-shot black-and-white adaptation of one of Shakespeare's most famous comedies, MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING. Whedon, not one to shy away from working with his friends, made this film with many of his former cast members of his various shows and films, and it's shot entirely in and around that same Santa Monica home.
For those that don't know the play, it is a love story of two couples: there's the love-at-first-sight coupling of Claudio (Kranz, as excellent as he was in both DOLLHOUSE and CABIN IN THE WOODS) and Hero (Jillian Morgese, a talented and beautiful newcomer), and there's the epic battle-of-the-sexes coupling of Benedick (Denisof) and Beatrice (Acker). Much romance and comedy ensues, but the jealous plotting of Don John (Maher) threatens to undo everything. But soon to the rescue comes Dogberry (Fillion), the constable of these parts, who is, as should be noted, an ass.
Kenneth Branagh, who has spent most of his directorial career adapting Shakespeare for the screen (HENRY V, HAMLET), did a film adaptation of this back in the early 1990's with something of an all-star cast.Read more ›
Watch it. You won't regret it.
A few details work in surprising ways. A woman takes the role of Conrad, and completely reworks the character in the process. Fillion's Dogberry approaches the level set by Michael Keaton in Branagh's star-studded version. And, in touchstone moments, the conversations that Benedick and especially Beatrice "overhear" have all the comic quality of any rendering I've seen, and better than many. You simply have to experience for yourself Amy Acker's physical comedy in the Beatrice scenes.
This won't convert anyone put off by the archaic language, but might be a good introduction for someone unfamiliar with Shakespeare and with how contemporary his timeless topics can be.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Worth owning and watching over and over again.Published 3 days ago by What's the difference? YOU asked me a question.
Best version of this play. With Clark Gregg in the cast you can't go wrong.Published 15 days ago by Therese Moore
Very Lux black and white version of the classic. Commentary by director and actors was very entertaining.Published 15 days ago by RebDo
I love this movie! I could never get my head into Shakespeare until I saw this. The acting is so excellent that it helped me get the feel of what was being said. Read morePublished 23 days ago by Beathas
|Topic||From this Discussion|
|Is Audio Commentary confirmed for this release.||
He recorded two commentaries, one alone and one with the cast.http://www.examiner.com/ar
Oct 2, 2013 by SkirmishofWit | See all 3 posts
|Save $5 on the AIV HD Purchase (through Sept. 10)||Be the first to reply|
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