Joss Whedon’s ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ Movie Review – Friends Take on Shakespeare
Joss Whedon’s latest movie is certainly not one we expected from the creator of Buffy, Angel, Firefly and the director/writer of monster movie The Avengers. This time, he decided to take on Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing and we can definitely call this a passion project. In fact, the movie was shot in under 12 days at his house during his break after The Avengers wrapped production, before he had to start post-production on it. Yep, that’s passion!
Whedon cast his friends in the movie and fans of his will without a doubt recognize plenty of familiar faces, which is certainly what makes this film different and exciting. Between Angel‘s Amy Acker, Buffy/Angel‘s Alexis Denisof, Firefly‘s Nathan Fillion, Dollhouse‘s Fran Kranz, Firefly‘s Sean Maher, The Avengers‘ Clark Gregg, Buffy‘s Tom Lenk, Reed Diamon and newcomer Jillian Morgese.
I must admit that I find it a bit difficult to review the film though because it’s hard to be totally objective about it when you enjoy so many people who were involved. But before I get into it I should mention that the first Much Ado About Nothing film I saw was Kenneth Branagh’s 1993 version and when it comes to Shakespeare you can’t outdo Kenneth Branagh.
So with that in mind, let me start by telling you what I enjoyed about the movie. First, I like the play itself so that’s already a good thing. And it was fun to see it come to life with actors I’ve watched in Joss Whedon’s shows over the years.
Second, I always enjoy it when people do passion projects and have fun with it. It’s friends who decided to put on a play together and make a movie out of it. And regardless of whether I or other people enjoy it, they did it because they wanted to and I could never fault them for that.
And third, there were quite a few funny moments. I remember smiling throughout the movie and mostly enjoyed myself.
As to what didn’t work for me, mainly it was the setting. The story felt out of place in the modern world. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with putting a modern spin on Shakespeare, in fact Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo & Juliet is one of my favorite movies, but because that movie was so stylized it worked. In this case, it feels like the movie takes place today, but parts of the story feel a bit old-fashioned that it was hard to really get into it. I think that for me it would have worked better if it had been modern, but didn’t feel like it was our world.
Finally, I wasn’t too crazy about the black and white either, but that’s just personal preference.
To conclude, I’m not sure if the film would have gotten as much exposure if it wasn’t for the people involved, but at the same time that’s why we want to watch the movie in the first place. To see these people take on Shakespeare, so in that respect, I think the movie does exactly what it was supposed to do.
And if you’re a fan of Whedon & Co. and want to see them take on Shakespeare, then this is definitely the movie for you.
Much Ado About Nothing is out in theaters today.