Movie Review: Much Ado About Nothing (Roadside Attractions)

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So how does a filmmaker come off a huge successful blockbuster like the Avengers? For Joss Whedon, it’s doing a more intimate film based on one of William Shakespeare’s comedies, Much Ado About Nothing.

Now this play has been around for 400 years, so if you are ticked that it’s going to be spoiled, get over it. You’ve have more than enough time to read the dang thing.

Anyhow…

So the story is (and freely admit I’m ripping this off from the movie’s website) “Leonato (Clark Gregg), the governor of Messina, is visited by his friend Don Pedro (Reed Diamond) who is returning from a victorious campaign against his rebellious brother Don John (Sean Maher). Accompanying Don Pedro are two of his officers: Benedick (Alexis Denisof) and Claudio (Fran Kranz). While in Messina, Claudio falls for Leonato’s daughter Hero (Jillian Morgese), while Benedick verbally spars with Beatrice (Amy Acker), the governor’s niece. The budding love between Claudio and Hero prompts Don Pedro to arrange with Leonato for a marriage.

In the days leading up to the ceremony, Don Pedro, with the help of Leonato, Claudio and Hero, attempts to sport with Benedick and Beatrice in an effort to trick the two into falling in love. Meanwhile, the villainous Don John, with the help of his allies Conrade (Riki Lindhome) and Borachio (Spencer Treat Clark), plots against the happy couple, using his own form of trickery to try to destroy the marriage before it begins.”

But there are several factors that make this version extremely interesting and fun to watch. This isn’t the same boring Shakespeare you’re used to.

The film was shot entirely in Joss Whedon’s own house, in black and white, over the course of 12 days. No other sets or locations were used. And I have to comment that the house is nicely decorated.

This really gave the film a nice look to it, but I couldn’t tell if it was shot on film or video. Still, the shots are nice and well lit. The black and white truly does add to the film. It’s funny because the lighting of some of the shots really reminded me of Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon, which was shot mostly using natural light.

And it’s not just straight story. Whedon took Shakespeare’s words and added visual/slapstick humor and dramatic scenes. This really helps engage the viewers as to what’s going on. There were parts so silly, I just couldn’t help burst out laughing. It was almost like watching an episode of the Three Stooges.

This project came about from Whedon’s love of Shakespeare. For years, he’s been having his friends come over and act out these plays. This is a man who’s passionate about the Bard, and it truly comes across on screen.

And no Whedonverse film would be complete without a lot of familiar faces. Most of the actors in the film have been in many of Whedon’s other TV and film projects, and there’s nothing wrong with that. He’s not the only director that likes to use the same actors over again. Both Ingmar Bergman and Woody Allen do the same. Why not surround yourself with friends?

And the acting is great. You can really feel the passion and the words just come to life. But of course it’s Nathan Fillion as Dogberry that steals the show. What can I tell you, I’m a fan.

All in all, if you’re a fan of Joss Whedon, William Shakespeare, screwball comedies, or a just a really good film, then go see Much Ado About Nothing.

You won’t be disappointed.

Much Ado About Nothing is in theaters Friday, June 7th.

Brian Isaacs - Executive Editor / Publisher

About Brian Isaacs - Executive Editor / Publisher

An avid comic collector/reader for over 40 years and self-proclaimed professor of comicology, Brian original started up the site Pendragon's Post to share his voice. Well that voice has been shared, and evolved into The Fanboy Factor. Brian is an advocate for remembering comic roots, and that we don't forget what was created in the past, and encourage everyone to read it as well. When not swimming in geek culture, he can be seen corrupting..introducing his young son to comics, much to his wife's chagrin.