August 21, 2013

Much Ado About Nothing

There are those who will see this film because of Joss Whedon's involvement. His stamp is all over this project; director, producer, script writer, musical composer and I'd say he had a big hand in casting as well. Whedon alumni make up the bulk of the actors, almost every face was recognisable. Look out for Nathan Fillion (Firefly, Castle) playing an actual police officer, a role which may have been chosen for him with his Castle experience in mind. Joss also contributed location scouting by filming the entirety at his home over 12 days. Of course Joss had the immortal words of Shakespeare to work with but somehow managed to make them sound like his own - both writers have a talent for witty banter.

Joss aside (if we dare do such a thing) the movie has merit on its own. Who doesn't love Shakespeare? Well, perhaps every English student ever. I predict English teachers will use this film to teach Shakespeare as the modern setting and way the actors talk makes it much easier to understand than traditional productions. Some actors handled the dialogue better than others. I found it difficult at first but once I stopped actively trying my mind translated the Shakespearean language. Likewise I easily acclimatised to the lack of colour, this is no old black and white movie, the differentiations in light are so crisp it is as if there were colour.

There was almost a dreamlike quality to the way the screen would fade to black at certain points and then fade back in. Were I more of a Shakespearean scholar I might be able to tell you whether these were the end of scenes from the play. I noted two changes of shot within a scene that were jarring - the camera angle didn't change at all but it was obviously a cut from one take to another. My only other gripe is that ill fitting costumes make Nathan Fillion and Sean Maher (Firefly) look larger than they are. I suppose filming being condensed into such a short period it is surprising that there are only these instances.

And most exciting (for me at least) is I figured out my two degrees to Joss Whedon. Go with someone who loves Joss's work as much as you do and enjoy trying to outdo each other picking where you recognise the actors from or take your English teacher...well, maybe just mention it to them.

I caught an early viewing of Much Ado About Nothing at the Embassy theatre thanks to the New Zealand International Film Festival. I held off on writing this review as I thought it would be more timely to post it just before the general release. Much Ado About Nothing is set for general release in New Zealand tomorrow (22 August) and will be showing at Event Cinemas.

Did you know that the Royal New Zealand Ballet's Giselle was also part of the Film Festival and is now showing in theatres throughout the country?

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