Review: Much Ado About Nothing / Cert: 12 / Director: Joss Whedon / Screenplay: Joss Whedon / Starring: Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Sean Maher, Clark Gregg, Fran Kranz / Release Date: October 7th
Filming in his very own house, Joss Whedon puts an accessible and contemporary twist on Shakespeare’s classic tale starring a whole host of familiar faces from the Whedonverse. Amongst the many are Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Nathan Fillion, Tom Lenk, Sean Maher, Reed Diamond, Clark Gregg and Fran Kranz. Phew. That’s a lot of Whedon personnel and that’s exactly why this film is so on point and has proved to be a hit with fans and critics alike.
Whedon’s version differs from the original Shakespeare classic in that Beatrice and Benedick have a romantic past together before the events of the film begin. The film opens with Benedick leaving Beatrice alone in bed. For those that are unfamiliar with the story, Much Ado tells the story of Beatrice and Benedick (Acker and Denisof) who are both resistant towards love and even more resistant to each other but as the narrative progresses they realise there may be some passion under all that fire. Along with other incidents such as Hero and Claudio’s impending marriage and Don Jon’s villainously scheming ways (played perfectly by Mayer), Much Ado proves to be entertaining from start to finish.
Alexis Denisof and Amy Acker, best known for playing lovers Fred and Wesley on Whedon’s Buffy spin-off series Angel, resurrect their chemistry as they reunite in a newer version of this much beloved tale. Acker, in particular, has a charming presence within the film and let's hope her career continues to prosper after this charismatic portrayal.
In terms of aesthetic, Much Ado About Nothing probably has to be the most visually pleasing of all of Whedon’s work. The use of different angles, the shooting in black and white combined with a classic soundtrack turns the film into something truly beautiful to look at. The thing about Whedon is that he has this wonderful ability to bring wit and humour to anything he touches. The framing of Benedick and Claudio in a child’s room, play-fighting on a child’s bed is just one of many examples of this. With Whedon as the director of the moment working on mega-budget, SFX-filled projects such as Avengers Assemble and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, it is remarkable to see him offering up this simple, low-budget masterpiece.