Monday, July 22, 2013

Talking About Whedon's *Much Ado*!






What a wonderful conversation at the Film Talk for the new film of Much Ado About Nothing at the Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center on Sunday!  Over a hundred filmgoers stayed for the talk, which featured Union College professor and Whedon scholar Tanya Cochran, along with Flatwater Shakespeare's own Becky Key Boesen, Bob Hall, and Stephen Buhler.  (All seen in the photo above, taken by Michelle Zinke.)

And the conversation continues!  Here are excerpts from our friend Dorothy Booraem's Facebook posting about the film and from the responses it inspired. (Dorothy, by the way, is a wonderfully talented independent film maker herself!) 

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I have seen Joss Whedon's Much Ado.

Thought #1: can it be truly compared to the 1994 Much Ado movie starring Emma Thompson, Kenneth Branagh, Robert Sean Leonard, Denzel and Keanu? After some thought I've decided no, it cannot be compared. The worlds are different - despite both being the same story, shown on the big screen, 2013 MA is like peeking through a keyhole to see what happens. 1994 MA is like a blown rose. A smaller world is not a flaw, it's just a fact of how the film was shot and directed.

Thought #2: Nathan Fillion's Dogberry was superior to Michael Keaton's Dogberry. IMO, of course, but I felt NF brought more honest character to the role and his humor was more easily understood than MK's. NF's reaction on "you are an ass" was hilarious and heartbreaking.

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Thought #5: How sweet it was to see Wesley and Fred finally consummate their love. It practically broke me when Angel ended so harshly, lo those many years ago. And now, happiness!

Oh there's more, but my memory of a sold out theater in Denver . . .  hearing the crowd applaud as the soldiers rode in on their steeds while the Leonato household scrambled to get ready is fragmenting my attention for now.

Top of Form

Imagine that watching that scene from Branagh's version in an Atlanta theater packed with scholars attending a Shakespeare Association of America meeting. Great applause and (approving) laughter -- especially as the title appeared.

I haven't seen Fillion, but Keaton was horrible.

I love the intro to Branagh's film.

And somehow, for me, Whedon's version is less insular than Branagh's -- everyone attending the wedding and (deceptive) funeral in KB's film seem to be workers or retainers on Leonato's estate. In Whedon's version, they're in Leonato's circle, but also part of a larger community -- hence the importance of clearing Hero's and the family's name.

I agree about Keaton -- although lots of people love that turn. I'm not sure KB really trusts those comic roles in Shakespeare, so he doesn't direct them very well . . . even in *Henry V*, can we recognize Pistol, Bardolph, and Nym as funny?

Fillion, by the way, does a great job as Dogberry (at times, he's very like Tom Crew)!

Oh sigh. That's too much thought for me tonight. I'm simply enjoying The Buffy Marathon on tonight.


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