Sunday, August 18, 2013

3 Short Paragraphs (We Agree): Much Ado About Nothing

2013, Joss Whedon (The Avengers) -- cinema

When I first heard the rumours that Joss was working on a Shakespeare adaptation, it just sounded right. Why was a modern representation of Shakespeare's popular comic play just so right in the Whedon-verse? I am not sure completely but it may be connected to Whedon's love of language and a good ability to mix pathos and comedy. But dispensing with the analyses, it just felt right. Strangely enough, Shakespeare is also a rather geeky concept, having just as many frothing fanboys as superheroes and Firefly.

Alas, I am not one of the Shakespeare geeks. I have never seen a play live, never been to Stratford and it always takes me at least ten minutes to catch the cadence. Yes, in the movies. I am a rather big fan of the Kenneth Branagh adaptation, it emerging right at the height of my Branagh fascination and my Kate Beckinsale crush. That one was set in period so I was really interested in seeing how they would place a story about a Prince and his soldiers returning from war, in contemporary times.  We are not given many details, but the two Dons, Pedro and John, are likely crime bosses and have come to friend Leonato's house to escape some drama in Los Angeles. And it is in this great house party that Claudio falls for Leonato's daughter Hero and Beatrice & Benedick are setup for a hookup.

We have much of the motley crew of the Whedon-verse, some from Buffy, some from Doll House and some from Firefly as well as a few fresh faces to round out the crew as they drink through the night and next day in the house that is actually Joss's. Almost everybody is spot-on with their characters but some are downright outstanding!!  Reed Diamond just falls into the role as if this was the way he speaks everyday... he just was his character. Franz Kranz dispenses with his usual dotty act and is splendid as the besotted Claudio. I wasn't as enamoured with Nathan Fillion as Dogberry, as the rest of the world seems to be and I was as equally cool with Alexis Denisof as Benedick -- he just didn't seem invested. But I must admit, if I don't hear with him with a soft british accent, he just seems off, even though I know that is not his background.  All in all, its a great little movie but a part of me wonders why I didn't find it astoundingly wonderful. I think I might have to ask a Shakespeare guru if there was something flat about the production.