I see, lady, the gentleman is not in your books.
No; an he were, I would burn my study. I.I
Contemporary adaptation of the Shakespeare play. Set in what would be thought of as modern Italy with beautiful, lush scenery, and constant flow of wine; the play stars Don Pedro, Claudio, Don John, Signior Benedick, Leonato, Hero and Beatrice.
Claudio courts Hero, Hero falls for him and the two decide to get married. But Don John, the villain, want to sabotage the marriage and so he recruits Borachio for his evil masterplan. Borachio is to have sex with Margaret, Hero’s maiden, while wearing Hero’s cloths and in her chamber, but they have to be in front of the window. Don John would then call Don Pedro and Claudio to see this act.
When Borachio leaves, he goes out with his own mistress, Conrade, and loudly boasts of the scheme. At that moment he is taken in in by two inspectors to the chief inspector Dogberry, played brilliantly by Nathan Fillion.
Claudio is set to marry hero the next day, at the altar he rejects her and shames her in from of everyone, she faints.
Leonato is grieved and almost believes that his daughter has cheated on her would be husband; but the friar devices a plan. The friar declare Hero dead, that would make Claudio think about what he’s done which leads him to suspects Don John. Meanwhile Leonato blames Claudio for his daughters death and guilt trips him. Claudio is sorrowful so Leonato makes him swear that he (Claudio) will write an epithet about her innocence and declare it and the next day marry her cousin. He agrees.
In the meantime Dogberry has Borachio and Conrade in front of the judge and records their confession and later on takes them to Leonato where they confess Don John’s villainy. In that scene Conrade calls Dogberry (Fillion) an ass and he makes a point of repeating that over again, it’s a hilarious scene.
On the other hand, have Benedick and Beatrice, the two witty “I’d challenge you to a battle of wits but I see that you are unarmed.” They both despise marriage and they both make fun of each other constantly. They outwit each other and it’s constantly witty, sharp, hilarious banter back and forth. But beneath that façade, they are attracted to one another and are probably be the only ones suitable for each other but both are too proud to admit it so they display hate. The men and ladies of the household (Leonates, Hero, Don Pedro, Claudio) device a plan to make each one of them (Benedick and Beatrice) think that the other is madly in love with the other and set forth the romance. It works and you can see them slyly courting each other and playing a hard to get back and forth game. Eventually they do get married and its one of the best love stories every.
Claudio also marries Hero and asks for forgiveness.
Much Ado About Nothing is another one of my favorite plays: its light, fun, witty, fantastically brilliant, and in all ways it is a beautiful play.
I’m usually not a fan of modern adaptations but Joss Whedon does an excellent job and the actors were able to bring the characters to part in an artful way. The humor, the wit, the puns, it’s just hilarious especially when it’s the blurring between Elizabethan and modern times.
The cinematography is fantastic. The camera angles give you a sense that it is indeed a stage and not just a movie. The setting and props were messy and almost realistic. It was so good. The movie is in black and white, which at the beginning was a bit annoying but you can see why Whedon made such a choice, it goes well with a dark yet funny play.
The acting was fantastic, Benedick and Beatrice were brilliant, absolutely brilliant, i loved the Kenneth Branagh adaptation but I think i can confidently say that this was better in terms of the acting. They were all great save for Claudio who didn’t seem to know how to act. Nathan Fillion as dogberry is phenomenal Dogberry was always my favorite and with this it just gets better and better. He really nails the role because he has that serious look yet there’s that quirky thing about him that makes casting him a perfect choice. I mean, I love Michael Keaton and he was a good Dogberry but they had to dress him up in a certain way to make him the fool because Keaton has a Batman or “Get off my lawn” old man and serious look about him; Fillion is plain dorky weird. Sean Maher as Don John, good god he has the face for it. I loved maher in Firefly and I think he was able to transform from doctor innocent to crazy scheming villainous brother. Clark Gregg was as awesome as always. The cast of this movie is mainly Whedon’s crew, they’re the actors he worked with in Firefly, Buffy, Serenity, MCU, it’s awesome seeing them get together in different roles.
If you want to get into Shakespeare but don’t know how and don’t want to watch something as serious as Hamlet, this is for. Much Ado is is a gateway Shakespeare drug, its simple and light enough to understand but yet still sophisticated and complex. It’s also very funny and witty so even if the play doesn’t get you into Shakespeare, at least you’ll get a few laughs.
And if you’re not a fan of Joss Whedon or prefer a more classic adaptation of the play watch Kenneth Branagh’s 1993 version of the play, it’s amazing.
A solid 5 stars.