In our brave new world, you will be alright… Joss Whedon’s anachronistic ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ #review

Joss Whedon - Much Ado About Nothing - Europea...
Joss Whedon – Much Ado About Nothing – European Premiere (Photo credit: Caroline)

It’s been two years since Joss Whedon finished filming his adaptation of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.  It has thus been two years since I began looking forward to seeing it.

The play itself is a bit of a mess — more a play of subplots than a single actual story.   A prince, Don Pedro, has lead a successful battle and has returned to stay with Leonato, the Governor of Messina.  Don Pedro arrives with his entourage, which includes Claudio, Benedick, and his bastard half-brother, Don John.  Leonato has a daughter, Hero, and a niece, Beatrice.

The famous bit from the play is the prank everybody plays on Benedick and Beatrice.  Benedick is an arsehat philanderer who is very witty, very clever, but is scornful of marriage.  Beatrice, on the other hand, is clever, intelligent, witty, and insightful — thus her friends and family are determined to find her a suitable husband.  Thus — teehee! — these friends allow Benedick to overhear them (falsely) claim that Beatrice is madly in love with him but will never admit it.  Meanwhile — oh ho! — these friends also allow Beatrice to overhear them (falsely) claim that Benedick is madly in love with her but will never admit it.  Teehee and oh ho!

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