Review: Much Ado About Nothing (Blu-ray)

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Title: Much Ado About Nothing
Format: Blu-ray / DVD
Release Date: October 8, 2013
Studio: Lions Gate
Original MSRP: $24.99 (Blu-ray) / $19.98 (DVD)
Number of Discs: 1
Language: English, Spanish
Subtitles: English, Spanish
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Much Ado About Nothing is also available on DVD.
The Blu-ray version was used for this review.

Story:
Joss Whedon’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, focuses on two relationships that are polar opposites of each other. The first one being the bitter rivalry between Beatrice (Amy Acker) and Benedick (Alexis Denisof) and the other relationship being the love at first sight romance between Claudio (Fran Kranz) and Hero (Jillian Morgese).

While the relationships are evolving, there are two groups of people trying to steer them in opposite directions. Leonato, Don Pedro, and Claudio are trying to turn Beatrice and Benedick’s hatred into a romance, while another group led by Don John is trying to destroy the new relationship and arranged marriage of Claudio and Hero. This being a pretty straightforward adaptation of a play that many people read in school I won’t go too deep into story details, but rather will focus on the actor’s performances.

One thing many people struggle with in Shakespeare is the ability to follow along with the dialogue. Some adaptations can struggle with the actor’s ability to sound natural with the words, but luckily most of the actors in this movie do a wonderful job in keeping the dialogue sounding natural and fresh. Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof do a wonderful job in their roles as the leads, Amy Acker in particular really shines in this role and shows why Joss Whedon keeps coming back to her as his go-to actress. Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof have wonderful chemistry on camera and work great together as they have proven in the past with their work on Angel.

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Overall the entire cast is wonderful and has great chemistry, which is expected since Joss Whedon pulled most of the actors from his previous television shows and movies having at least one representative from each. Just to Break it down, you have Amy Acker (Angel, Dollhouse, and Cabin in the Woods), Alexis Denisof (Buffy, Angel, Dollhouse, Avengers), Fran Kranz (Dollhouse and Cabin in the Woods), Sean Maher (Firefly and Serenity), Clark Gregg (Avengers and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Nathan Fillion (Firefly, Buffy, Serenity, Dr. Horrible), and Tom Lenk (Buffy, Angel, and Cabin in the Woods).

Video:
Much Ado About Nothing is a sharp looking film. It was shot in black and white which gives it a classic look. The blacks, greys, and whites are crisp with little noticeable noise. The film is shot with mostly handheld cameras so there aren’t any camera tricks or effects. It was shot entirely in Joss Whedon’s house so it has a play-like look to it because of the set limitations which they use wisely.

Audio:
The film’s 5.1 surround audio does its job. This is a very basic film in terms of video and audio so there are no grand effects to be found. The dialogue comes through clear and the score, which was composed by Joss Whedon, is well done. The score surrounds you but never becomes overbearing. There are two songs in the movie performed by Maurissa Tanchareon and Jed Whedon, who have worked with Joss Whedon on Dr. Horrible, Dollhouse, and are currently the showrunners for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and their two songs are nice mood setters and really add to the atmosphere.

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Bonus Features:
The bonus features are plenty for those interested in that aspect of Blu-rays. There are two commentary tracks included with the film. The first one is by Joss Whedon and like most of his commentary tracks, he strikes a good balance between information and humor that keeps you entertained throughout.

The second commentary track features almost the entire cast along with Whedon. This one has a party atmosphere as the cast cracks jokes, drops details, and even has a drinking game going. It’s a really fun commentary though it does have some points where it seems like it might be too many people and can catch people talking over each other, but overall it is definitely worth a listen after going through the first commentary track.

  • Much Ado About Making Nothing (22:12) – This behind the scenes video takes a look at how quickly the movie was made with only a couple weeks of pre-production and twelve days of shooting. It is definitely worth a watch as it gives you a real appreciation for the film.
  •  Bus Ado About Nothing (6:10) – A look at the bus trip the cast took to a film festival
  • “Sigh No More” music video

Conclusion:
Overall I really enjoyed this movie despite never really being a big fan of Shakespeare movie adaptations. I tend to prefer the writings or stage plays. As an adaptation it is well done and entertaining throughout.

As a fan of Joss Whedon’s past work (check my bio) I probably got a little more out of the film than most will. Although despite my fanboy glee over seeing Fred and Wesley reunited on-screen, I soon forgot about that aspect and became invested in the film and characters and didn’t think about the actor’s past roles. The overall package of the movie and special features warrants me to highly recommend this Blu-ray.

Score:
10

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Written by Michael Cwick

Michael Cwick

Just a nerd from the Windy City. I’m actually really bad at describing myself because I get all self-critical and self-conscious. Follow me on Twitter, @The1stMJC, to see my borderline insane rants on tv shows and other non important subjects. If I’m not tweeting I’m probably just watching Buffy or Firefly for the millionth time.

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  • Keith Dunn

    HOORAY!!!!! I rented it and watched it over Amazon streaming but I gotta OWN the BluRay for the commentary and special features! Joss and his preferred cast members, his Company- if you will, always make one feel like they’re PART of the family in any of his endeavors. In large part because you can SEE how much FUN they’re always having!
    You’re right, Michael! This IS a ten. I think it’s the best possible translation of the script!
    (And the eavesdropping scene with Benedick outside the windows is HILARIOUS!! OH MY GAWD!)

    • MJC

      I think I like Beatrice’s eavesdropping scene a little more, Benedick’s was funny due to its ridiculousness, but Beatrice’s fall down the stairs absolutely killed me when I first saw it.