Much Ado About Nothing
Hey, gang! Joss has got this swell house in the Santa Monica hills where we could get together on Sundays and read plays and stuff. It’s got lots of rooms, and in the garden there is an actual Greek amphitheater. Must have cost him major bucks, but he sure as heck has them from directing The Avengers. Hey, we could maybe even do Shakespeare!
If it sounds like I’m making fun, I’m really not. That is more or less how it actually happened. Various actors were invited and they would do readings, and eventually the idea of making a film came up, and they did it all in twelve shooting days, in gorgeous black and white. And for not much money, though it was done very professionally.
I am on record as liking staging Shakespeare plays in different times and places from where the Bard put them. I am also on record as not being a big fan of Joss Whedon. But I’m a big fan of this movie. It was done with loving care, and a great deal of skill. Making the archaic language and phrasing of Elizabethan plays work in the modern day is hard. Making it all sound effortless is even harder. The cast has managed to do both things. I don’t think this movie is quite as good as Kenneth Branagh’s fabulous all-star 1993 version, but it’s close.