Much Ado About Nothing
Director: Joss Whedon
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Joss Whedon is one of the most fascinating artists working the film industry (although TV is his first love). I happen to be a big fan of his, but I like to think it’s for good reason. Whether he’s tackling a behemoth superhero franchise or working on a low budget TV show, he puts his heart and soul into everything he does. There is a certain eloquence to the way he speaks, almost always translating into how his characters speak, and his unique staple of dialogue is almost Californian Shakespeare. It only makes sense for him to do a movie based on the 16th century poet’s work. It doesn’t hurt that he got his friends together to do Shakespeare reads instead of game night, proving once and for all that celebrities are a vastly different breed of people.
Like all Whedon artistry, Much Ado About Nothing is a clever and flamboyant affair. Following in the footsteps of Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet, Much Ado takes place in a modern setting with the original dialogue in place. Well, most of the original dialogue in place. There are some iffy gender and racial politics in the original play that are… unsavory. Whedon’s take on the script amplifies the satirical elements and shines a light on the absurdity of the problematic writings. Reaction shots and actor mannerisms flourish to note the nature of dialogue that falls onto the side of “not okay” while Whedon directs the tone of the movie into whimsical satire.
Whedon shot the project entirely at his house during his off time from The Avengers post-production. Much Ado has a delicate natural lighting that supports the entirely black and white imagery of the film. It’s nothing remarkable (still more interesting than flat cinematography in The Avengers) but it’s suitable for the small scale feel of the project. He’s still able to capture some captivating scenery at least.
And how about that cast? Any self-proclaimed Whedonite will recognize at least half the cast from any one of the director’s previous projects. From Amy Acker to Clark Gregg, this is a fun house smorgasbord of Whedon alums. So if you’re going into this from that angle, you won’t be disappointed. If you’re going in as a fan of good movies in general, this is almost certain to please.