Film Review: Joss Whedon’s ‘Much Ado About Nothing’


At the weekend I went to see the much-anticipated Joss Whedon take on William Shakespeare’s ‘Much Ado About Nothing’, which was shot over the course of only 12 days in the director’s Santa Monica home, and if you are a fan of Whedon’s past TV shows and films you will spot a few familiar faces in the incredible cast.

I saw a number of interviews with the guy who brought me Buffy, Angel, Firefly and of course last year’s Avenger’s Assemble, and nearly everyone seemed surprised that he would do something different, unexpected, and that it would be incredible. I wasn’t surprised by how good it was, but I wasn’t expecting the film which is filmed in black and white and uses the original text that it is written largely in prose, to be so modern, fresh and charming.

The comedy is one of my favourite Shakespeare plays, I love how it portrays romance, politics, family and most of all the love-hate relationship between Benedick and Beatrice, played by Alexis Denisof and Amy Acker, who really were the standout stars of this production, especially with their screwball comedy performances. Amy Acker, best known as Fred in Angel, really did shine in this film and for me had a touch of Katharine Hepburn about her.

As well as great performances from Denisof and Acker, another highlight had to be Nathan Fillion aka the evil creepy priest Caleb from Buffy and of course Kate Beckett’s sidekick in Castle, as Dogberry and Tom Lenk, also from Buffy, as his sidekick Verges – both were hilarious as the bumbling clownish night watchmen.

Unlike other adaptations of classics that have been given the glossy treatment, with over done staging, costumes, and music, Whedon kept his version contemporary and in keeping with Shakespeare’s story, and even though on paper it maybe shouldn’t work it so does and I am sure it will be used by many an English teacher to make Shakespeare look cool!!!

I love that Whedon kept the original words, that he didn’t make the cast put on fake English accents, and that he had them wearing modern dress, and I thought the constantly drinking throughout really helped understand why the characters make the choices they do.

I went to see this with a friend and we both agreed that the only thing missing was Sarah Michelle Gellar aka Buffy and Summer Glau from Firefly, but really that is just us both being uber geeky Whedon fans and dreamers!!!

I am going to have to say this has to be the must-see film of the summer and I can’t recommend it enough, I just hope that more cinemas put on screenings as so far it looks like it is going to have a limited run. Check out the film’s website to see if it is on at a cinema near you, trust me you will love it.

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Still undecided? Why not check out the trailer:

[Pics: Much Ado About Nothing]