Following the success of The Avengers at the box office, director Joss Whedon had the clout to get any film he wanted made. While many Firefly fans were no doubt wishing for Serenity 2, Joss Whedon surprised everyone when he announced that his follow-up to the Avengers would be a black and white re-envisioning of the Shakespeare play, Much Ado About Nothing, it seemed like an odd choice.
However, as Joss Whedon explains it, "I wanted to drag Shakespeare from obscurity. I've been a fan my whole life, and it's time other people started noticing him!" To Whedon's credit, the film looks pretty damn good. It clearly isn't similar to anything the Titan of Geekiness has made before and that's exciting. Take a look.
The updated Much Ado About Nothing clearly has charm and razzmatazz, however there are two issues with this re-imagining of a Shakespearean classic that could sabotage the success of the film. Firstly, this film was filmed in only twelve days at Joss Whedon's Santa Monica home while the director was still filming The Avengers.
Secondly, while the setting and wardrobe has been updated, the speech has not. While the original text of Shakespeare's plays are entertaining and insightful by themselves, this would not mark the first time a Shakespeare play was updated and kept the original text ... and we all remember how that turned out.
If you can remember that pile of human effluence you can understand the trepidation following this film's release. However, Joss "The Boss" Whedon's retelling has more than just Elizabethan text behind it, and stands to make people forget all about the travesty of Romeo + Juliet.
Firstly, Much Ado About Nothing has a very distinguished and talented director at it's helm, his name is a stamp of quality and is guaranteed to draw people into the movie. Joss Whedon also understands the original play, so that he can remain true to the intent of the original text, while changing enough to make it his own story. The cast of Much Ado About Nothing should not be discounted either. Joss Whedon once again reunites (Firefly alumni) Nathan Fillion and Sean Maher. Also in the cast are: Clark Gregg (Agent Phil Coulson), Fran Kranz (Cabin in the Woods), Amy Acker (Angel), and Riki Lindhome of Garfunkel and Oates. While it may seem as though Joss Whedon is simply casting his friends, it is also worth noting that all of these actors and actresses are vetted performers, who have time and time again given strong performances.
These strong performances, particularly of Amy Acker as Beatrice and Alexis Denisof as Benedict, have already been praised by multiple reviewers, and as of Thursday, the film stands at a 79% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is pretty good. Many critics praise the chemistry between Beatrice and Benedict as the two interact and the cast as a whole for truly bringing Shakespeare's vision and his comedic tropes to life.
While this is not the first time that Much Ado About Nothing has been released on the silver screen, it appears to be the best and the only one which does not in any way feature Keanu Reeves, which is a good sign (sorry, Keanu, you peaked at Bill and Ted). Much Ado About Nothing is the second time this year that a classic story has been rebooted, however since Baz Luhrmann's (the Romeo + Juliet guy) The Great Gatsby set the bar pretty ridiculously low, it shouldn't be hard for Much Ado About Nothing to become the best adaption of the year.
Much Ado About Nothing will be released on June 7 in the States and June 14 most other places.