Review 2013: Not The Doctor: Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing.

Film The other reason I was pleased to complete my self-imposed Shakespeare embargo was seeing this utterly charming, entirely beautiful version of one of my favourite plays (which is I know a bit like saying coffee is one of my favourite drinks but nevertheless). As if you didn't already know the story, Joss shot Much Ado About Nothing in his two week holiday during the making of The Avengers in his own house and mostly cast friends from other projects, most of whom having attended his monthly play-reading parties. A passion project in other words, like a professional YouTube video with global release dates. As the director has said, he hasn't set out to make the "definitive" film of the play, just his interpretation of it in much the same way as hundreds of theatre companies each year. But it will no doubt be used in classes alongside the "Branagh version", the "BBC version" and the "one with Sam Waterston" so what does this bring to play the other might not? For one thing, as is so often the case with Whedon, it gives minor characters like Borachio and Conrade credible motivations and back stories (in the latter case by changing "his" gender and putting "him" in a relationship with Don John). Plus he's carefully thought through how to make the unfunny in the wrong hands Dogberry scenes hilarious by placing them in the recognisable contemporary environment of a cop tv show with actual Nathan Fillion.  There's also the matter of the leads, making us fan people happy by giving Fred and Wesley from Angel an artsy black and white afterlife (something he says he didn't realise until after the film was shot).  Even as I type I wish I was enjoying Amy Acker' and Alexis Denisof's sparring and also wishing that come The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Joss might consider filling his time with a Measure for Measure featuring these two as Isabella and Angelo (with Fillion as Lucio of course) (Clark Gregg as the Duke).

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