Much Ado About Nothing (2012): A Movie Review

Out of all the times I’ve read and watched different versions of Much Ado About Nothing, I do have to say that Joss Whedon’s version takes an interesting view on the Shakespeare play. Like several other directors and writers tried to do with other Shakespeare works, Whedon takes the play and places it in modern times, but keeps the Shakespeare language intact.

Now, I always have mixed feelings on this. The first time I’ve ever seen it done was in the 1996 Romeo + Juliet movie directed by Baz Luhrmann and I did not care for it at all. Which was one of the reasons why it took me over a year to see Whedon’s version of Much Ado About Nothing, despite my love for Whedon’s directing and screenwriting.

Much Ado About Nothing is one of Shakespeare’s comedies about love and how two couples see love differently. Hero and Claudio meet and fall in love at first sight, while Benedick and Beatrice mock and make fun of each other, choosing to ignore their feelings for each other until they are tricked into realizing it.

While I did enjoy Whedon’s version more than I thought I would, looking at it as if I had never heard of the play before I did think it was confusing. You really don’t know who the characters are, or why they are all gathering together at Leonato’s house. Is there a celebration of some kind or are they all just friends getting together? It was also difficult to keep up with who was who and what their titles were and how they knew each other. I guess that’s where reading the play would come in handy, although those plays are really best watched to fully understand the context.

What I did love was that it was shot in black and white. I think that helped bring some of an old time movie feel to it, keeping it from being too modernized. I also thought the acting was well done. The actors made sure to keep the production comical, even when it becomes upsetting at some points. The delivery of the lines was similar to the 1993 version starring Kenneth Branagh, which is probably my favorite version of the play.

Something I thought was a bit weird was that they changed one of the character roles from a male role to a female role. While it did work, the lines in the play were kept the same making some parts of scenes awkward and a bit confusing, but comical at the same time.

So while Joss Whedon didn’t completely change my feelings on the modernization of Shakespeare plays, he didn’t completely disappoint me.

Grade: B

Moonrise Kingdom: A Movie Review

They say that opposites attract. But has it ever occurred to you that the exact opposite is true as well? This theory is put to the test in Moonrise Kingdom, when two outsiders in the social world, Sam (Jared Gilman) and Suzy (Kara Hayward), find each other and fall in love.

With the knowledge that no one understands (or even likes) them, Sam and Suzy decide to run away together. However, their disappearance is quickly noticed, with Sam in the Khaki Scouts — a type of Boyscouts — and Suzy stealing her brother’s portable vinyl player. After a couple of days, the search party, consisting of Suzy’s parents (Bill Murray and Frances McDormand), a local police officer (Bruce Willis), and Sam’s scout master (Edward Norton), discovers their hideout and insists they never see each other again. But true love can never be kept apart and Sam and Suzy will do anything to stay together.

Dubbed a comedy, Moonrise Kingdom was more of a dark comedy than anything and some parts made me think of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (I guess because of the forbidden love aspect). It was a quirky film that made you root for the underdogs. Written and directed by Wes Anderson, this film had a subtle feeling around it. It never forced you to laugh, but told you a story of life as it is, forcing you to see the truth (in a satiric way) about how both children and adults react in certain situations they think they understand.

If you liked Moonrise Kingdom, check out The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Rushmore, The Squid and the Whale, among other films in Wes Anderson’s portfolio.

Grade: A-