Shakespeare Solved ®

Shakespeare Solved ® is a forthcoming series of novels that covers the Bard's entire life and work.

These novels solve the mysteries surrounding Shakespeare by transporting us back in time, to walk in his shoes, and see his world through his eyes.

Only when we see Shakespeare in his original historical context can we understand what his plays and poems really mean.

This blog explains some of my ideas and discoveries, to prepare for this series of novels.

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The University of Oxford's Bodleian Library & The Royal Shakespeare Company

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Much Ado About Nothing Review

I just saw the new film version of Much Ado About Nothing.

In case you haven’t seen it yet, go see it as soon as you can!

It’s a lot of fun.

I’m not a professional film critic, but I wanted to share some of my thoughts with you.

I didn’t know what to expect. I am very familiar with the work of Joss Whedon, and have seen just about everything he has ever done. But I couldn’t tell what this was going to be like, since it seemed unlike anything he had ever done before.

Until I saw this film, I wouldn’t have put Joss Whedon and William Shakespeare in the same sentence.

After seeing this film, I really do hope that he makes more Shakespeare films. He obviously loves the Bard, and he has found a completely refreshing way to film his plays.

Joss Whedon with Amy Acker

I don’t want to ruin it for you, but this is like a student film, shot in black and white, and Mr. Whedon filmed it with a bunch of friends of his over the course of 12 days.

But his bunch of friends are some of Hollywood's all-stars. The actors are so talented and are such professionals, and there is a wonderful lack of pretension to the entire film. 

The film is a great ensemble work of art. It doesn’t try too hard. It just works. It’s funny, it’s romantic, and the whole audience I saw it with was laughing, and applauding the whole way through.

Amy Acker played Beatrice. I have seen her on American TV a lot, and she is one of the hardest working supporting actresses today. I didn’t know what to expect with her performance.

Amy Acker as Beatrice

After watching her play Beatrice, I really hope she gets leading actress roles. She was so good. I love screwball comedies, with Katherine Hepburn (especially in Holiday with Cary Grant) and my all time favorite Jean Arthur. There are precious few actresses today with the talent to do a screwball comedy, and Amy Acker has it down cold.

I didn’t know what to expect with Alexis Denisof as Benedick. I have seen him on TV a lot, but I just didn’t know. He is just fantastic in this, and I hope that we get to see a lot more of him. 

Alexis Denisof as Benedick

I have always thought that it’s easier for men to do screwball comedy. The best of them, like Cary Grant in Holiday for example, understand that it’s not just a matter of looking good in a suit and saying funny lines. It’s allowing the audience to see vulnerability. In that respect Mr. Denisof excels at showing us a very three-dimensional leading man.

Each member of the cast was great, and there is so much to say about all of them.

But I really want to point out two of my favorite performances.

My whole family loves Nathan Fillion, and he can do no wrong as far as we are concerned. If you are not watching him on the current TV show Castle, where he plays the mystery novelist Richard Castle, then you are missing one of the greatest cop shows ever. But having said that, he was brilliant in this film as Dogberry. Playing him as some sort of burned-out cop was just hilarious!

Tom Lenk as Verges with Nathan Fillion as Dogberry

My favorite performance however was Clark Gregg as Leonato. I’m a big fan of Mr. Gregg’s work, as Agent Phil Coulson in the Marvel films like The Avengers, his work on TV, and also his work as a writer.

I love good dramatic moments in films, and Mr. Gregg’s performance in the wedding scene, when his daughter Hero and her husband-to-be Claudio break off the marriage, is just heartbreaking. His emotional breakdown is very powerful.

Without that breakdown, and his daughter’s grief, there can be no happy ending. Mr. Gregg, and Jillian Morgese as Hero, deserve a lot of credit for making the film work, and end with a lot of happiness.

Jillian Morgese as Hero and Clark Gregg as Leonato

I really hope that Mr. Whedon continues to do some Shakespeare like this from time to time -- simple, effective, and with actors who put their performances and the dialogue before themselves.

And I for one can't wait to see the DVD/Blu-ray for all the extra behind-the-scenes stuff. That should be fun!


Related Article:

Shakespeare and Joss Whedon

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