Whenever I bring up this movie (because I have been excited to see it for a very long time) everyone’s reaction is always, “Oh, I didn’t know Joss Whedon had done Shakespeare!” So, consider this my bit of spreading the good word.
Here’s the trailer:
Overall, I really liked this film. It was a well-done Shakespeare adaptation and an enjoyable bit of cinema with visual interest, a fantastic score and wonderful costumes. Especially the men’s suits. I kept thinking about licking the men’s necks. What is it about having that one shirt button popped? YUM.
I thought the cast was, by and large, simply amazing. Clark Gregg is so brilliant. Dry and goofy, hilarious. I actually want him to get an Oscar nod. His Leonato is so nuanced and deep. Plus, I love Clark Gregg and I want him to get more recognition.
Nathan Fillion is a comic genius. I have NEVER, in any adaptation EVER, liked the Dogberry scenes and I was laughing out loud this time. Fran Kanz is adorable and surprisingly likeable as Claudio (who is not always the most likeable character). The rest of the supporting cast were also really solid especially Reed Diamond as the Prince and Sean Maher as Don John. (The best, my absolute favorite part of the movie was when– after wrecking the wedding, destroying Hero and Leonato, arguably Claudio too, basically being the biggest son of a bitch ever–Don John swipes a cupcake on his way out. Priceless. Signature Joss Whedon.)
The only real miscasting I thought was in the leads, unfortunately. Amy Acker was a passable Beatrice and she had some good moments in her scenes, but Alexis Denisof was a really boring Benedick. How do you make Benedick boring?! Benedick/Beatrice have some of the most vibrant, hilarious, emotional, wonderful scenes in the Shakespeare canon. How do you screw that shit up? I don’t get it. He was also so hammy. Sometimes it felt like he was in an entirely different movie than the rest of the cast.
Back to the plus side of things, I have to give a shout-out to the score which was also composed by Joss Whedon (he’s so talented I HATE him). I already have two different Much Ado scores on my iPod and I still bought this one. It’s jazzy at times, soft, emotional, and the two arrangements Whedon did for the play’s famous songs “Sigh No More” and “Heavily, Heavily” were just masterful. I knew as soon as I heard them that despite having THREE versions of those songs I would still be buying these. Here’s “Sigh No More” for your listening pleasure…
So, once again, well done Joss.*
Rating: **** (I really liked it)
*I do have to say, though, my favorite Much Ado is still the David Tennant/Catherine Tate one. I’m not sure any adaptation will ever beat that. The two leads are spot-on, the production design is fantastic, the acting. Pretty much a perfect production across the board.
Anybody else seen this version yet? Or even the Tate/Tennant one? Can we squee together? ;P