So, one Thursday night in the not so distant past (specifically, 11 days ago) I was sitting around in a post-jog evening daze, contemplating shoving dark chocolate M & Ms down my throat until I could taste each individual color. I was kind of bored, see, and pretty uncertain what to do with myself. The kind, wonderful people who were beta reading Project Macaroni for me weren’t finished with it, which left me in a regrettable holding pattern that could only result in shame, misery, and self-loathing.
Sad to say, now that I’m used to having a writing project to work on constantly, if I find myself with too much free time, before long I’m acting the same way as if trapped in a airport for sixteen hours. And you don’t want to see me after 16 hours in an airport. Three hours in, I’ll have gone full “Lord of the Flies”, and will be hunting for the terminal with best coffee place so I can buy a blueberry-lemon scone to use as the conch.
In an effort to avoid having anything bad happen, then, I decided It would be good night for a movie. Sadly, I was without a little red DVD envelope at the time, which meant that if I wanted to see something new, I’d be streaming it. But that was okay because my available New Release options for streaming from the great and mysterious Cybery Beyond included This is the End, Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing, and World War Z.
Truth be told, I usually lean toward the more action-y movies on Thursday nights, which should have made WWZ the easy pick, what with its zombies, guns, and fleeing every which way. However, I’d heard some not-so-great things about it, which is putting it somewhat mildly. Truth be told, I hadn’t heard a single positive thing about it. It’s like that one disheveled, trouble-making kid at the family reunion: everyone seems disappointed with it somehow.
Joss Whedon, on the other hand, has yet to make something I haven’t gotten at least a moderate measure of enjoyment out of (which is about as understated a way as someone can cop to being an embarrassingly massive Whedonite fanboy), so I figured why not give Much Ado a go?
And so I a-did.
There are only three ways you don’t like this version of Much Ado About Nothing: 1) You don’t like Shakespeare in general, 2) you don’t like black and white movies, or 3) you don’t get why they gotta talk all funny. Basically, I’d reckon that if you don’t like Much Ado About Nothing, you don’t like much about anything. Light, smart, and witty, yet still carrying plenty of emotional depth, it’s vintage Shakespeare buffed to a shiny gleam with a modern presentation. If you can manage the language, I heartily beseech thee, fair neighbor, not to miss it.
To my (not quite, for once) 100-word review, I have two quick comments to add. First, this movie made me realize that in a way, Whedon himself is a bit of a modern day Shakespeare. With his gift for snappy, cutting dialogue that often seems to make at joke at the same time it hints of something deeper, the man often manages to play to both the boxes and the penny seats simultaneously. That’s not something most writers manage these days.
Second, it never ceases to amaze me how the human brain works when it comes to language. The first five minutes of watching anything with Shakespearean dialog usually has me making a face of concentration as if I’m trying to do my taxes while sky-diving, strapped to a bicycle and in dire need of a bathroom break. But whenever I hear Shakespeare’s words, something magical happens between the five and ten minute marks. After that, all the words just start to make sense to me, as if I’ve hearing English that way for as long as I’ve been listening.
All in all, it appears I’ve made much ado about Much Ado About Nothing. If you ask me, there are definitely worse ways to spend a Thursday evening.