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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Much Ado About Nothing (2012)

Joss Whedon, a director best known for films with broad cult appeal, like 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer', has produced a wonderfully textured film of one of Shakespeare's great romantic comedies.

The story goes like this.  He was on a 12-day hiatus during the filming of 'The Avengers', and Plan A was to take a trip with his wife to celebrate their 20th anniversary.  She suggested that perhaps they should consider Plan B, which would be for him to film this movie, which is rumored to be a long time dream of his.  They used their gorgeous but not overly pretentious Santa Monica home and gardens as the stage, and the filming is in black and white, which helps to keep it modern and timeless at the same time.  Shakespeare's language is kept largely in tact (it was shortened and some objectionable language was altered, but otherwise it was recognizable as the Bard's work).

The result is a wonderful version of the play--it starts off a bit slow, and it took me a little bit of effort to get used to the old language mixed with smart phones and limos, but once I settled in, the movie was quite enjoyable.  For those who haven't seen it in a while, it is the tale of two sets of lovers, one traditional and romantic, the other surprising and prickly.  They both encounter significant barriers to tying the knot--one because of outside agitators and one because they shoot themselves in the feet, but in the end, it all ends well, with the bad guys taken off by the remarkably humorous police officers, and the good couples are well wed.

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