Out of work actor Joe volunteers to help try and save his sister's local church for the community by putting on a Christmas production of Hamlet, somewhat against the advice of his agent ... See full summary »
Young lovers Hero and Claudio are to be married in one week. To pass the time, they conspire with Don Pedro to set a "lover's trap" for Benedick, an arrogant confirmed bachelor, and Beatrice, his favorite sparring partner. Meanwhile, the evil Don Jon conspires to break up the wedding by accusing Hero of infidelity. In the end, though, it all turns out to be "much ado about nothing." Written by
Liza Esser <email@example.com>
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Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more. Men were deceivers ever. One foot in sea and one on shore, to one thing constant never. Then sigh not so but let them go and be you blithe and bonny, converting all your sounds of woe into hey nonny nonny.
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Wonderful sparky fun which only flags in the final 10 minutes
The arrival of Don Pedro and his men at the home of Seigneur Leonato in Messina brings about much celebration. The spirit of love and happiness is alive in the party and Count Claudio and Leonato's daughter Hero make woo and engage to marry within a week. To pass the time Don Pedro makes a pledge to engage confirmed bachelor Benedick and the bickering Beatrice together in a tower of affection. However Claudio's brother, Don John, conspires to break up the wedding by making accusations against young Hero. Will it all be much ado about nothing?
If anyone has done more to bring Shakespeare to a modern audience of multiplex dwellers, I'd like to meet them. Here Branagh yet again adapts a Shakespeare play to good effect, trimming the dialogue of some important sections with the aim of creating a lighter feel worthy of the title. I make no mention of the plot suffice to say that Branagh has done well to keep the essence and feel of the work very true but without forcing the tools that Shakespeare readily used but may not work on modern audiences easily (i.e. not being able to recognise someone easily when they wear a mask, veil or moustache!).
The dialogue is very sparky as you'd expect and Branagh has done well to interpret the humour from the words on the page. I think of the dialogue around the police officer. Reading it from the page I never realised how much humour could be drawn form this characters scenes in terms of how the other characters view in. Of course the praise of lies with Shakespeare but Branagh knows the Bard well.
The cast is international and all-star (probably to a greater extent than it needed or deserved). Branagh is pure wonder in the lead and really brings out the whimsy in many of his scenes. Thompson too is wonderful and the two play off each other well. The film lost a little when the two begin to woo, but it is still enjoyable. Briers is excellent and Blessed is a bit hammy and underused (forcing big background laughs). Reeves is OK in a small role the lack of significant dialogue helped him. Washingon fits in very well, Leonard is good but straight. Of the Hollywood stars I think Keaton does the best. When he is onscreen he is a little OTT but he is simply hilarious as the fool of the piece, and Ben Elton is an interesting sidekick. Beckinsdale is good but again is not given much meat to work with outside of her perfect love for Claudio.
Overall this is a very enjoyable version of the play. Those who find Shakespeare difficult could do well to start here with something light and bubbly. Those who enjoy Shakespeare will enjoy it as another version. Only those who feel that the Bard should not be put onscreen for the masses (and there are some who think this way I have met them, they laughably call themselves purists elitists I think) will find fault here, because this clearly has mass appeal.
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