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article imageReview: ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ is a big deal Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Jun 15, 2013 in Entertainment
‘Much Ado About Nothing’ is a modern retelling of Shakespeare's classic comedy of comic and tragic events involving two pairs of lovers with different takes on romance and a way with words.
It's time for everyone to admit that Joss Whedon is a genius who can do no wrong in any genre he chooses to direct his immeasurable talent. Not only has he created some of the best female protagonists (and recently spoken out about the lack of quality female superheroes on the screen), successfully assembled Marvel's flagship characters into a single epic picture and been credited with his own universe (Whedon-verse), but he has now taken on the bard and emerged triumphant. Much Ado About Nothing is fun, accessible and doesn't require an English degree to follow.
Don Pedro (Reed Diamond) is returned from the war with his most trusted soldiers, Benedick (Alexis Denisof) and Claudio (Fran Kranz). They are welcomed into the home of his good friend Leonato (Clark Gregg). Claudio immediately falls in love with Leonato's daughter Hero (Jillian Morgese), while his niece Beatrice (Amy Acker) and Benedick continue the verbal sparring that define their relationship. Determined to see his friend as happy in marriage as himself, Claudio, Leonato, Don Pedro and Hero conspire to make Benedick and Beatrice fall in love. In the meantime, Don Pedro's dastardly brother Don John (Sean Maher) and his companions scheme to ruin their happiness.
Even though the actors perform Shakespeare's dialogue with little alteration, it is easy to understand their meaning. Moreover, they invigorate the words with a life and enthusiasm that makes this adaptation one of the best of the playwright's works. The players are so comfortable with the writing that it flows easily off their tongues and doesn't give the slightest hint that they're not speaking modern English. The most significant change is casting Riki Lindhome in the role of Conrade and making her Don John's lover as well as his co-conspirator.
The setting is contemporary, but simplistic. Most of the action occurs in and around Leonato's luxurious house, which is classically decorated. The costumes consist mainly of suits for the men and frilly dresses for the women. The black and white picture lends the narrative an extra layer of style.
Gathering many of the actors with which Whedon has worked before gives this film a pleasant familiarity that fans will love, particularly the reunion between former on-screen couple Denisof and Acker. Nathan Fillion’s portrayal of the ever-present fool is also very entertaining. In addition the likeable soundtrack is written by Whedon and produced by his brother Jed Whedon.
This is an incredibly amusing version of Shakespeare’s most memorable comedy – even for those who found studying Shakespeare a torturous experience.
Director: Joss Whedon
Starring: Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof and Fran Kranz
More about much ado about nothing, Joss Whedon, Shakespeare, Alexis Denisof, Amy Acker
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