Reviews & Ratings for
"ShakespeaRe-Told" Much Ado About Nothing (2005)

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25 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

Much Ado About Nothing

Author: ihatethegrizzlies from United Kingdom
7 November 2005

A fan of Kenneth Branagh's version, I tuned into this accidentally, not expecting very much. Boy, was I wrong. Usually when some fool tries to do a modern remake of Shakespeare it's awful to the point of cringing, but I loved this! Not only was it clever, Beatice and Benedict worked in a newsroom and their biting comments were laugh-out-loud-hilarious, but there was more sexual tension than that in Branagh's version - where he was actually married to Emma Thompson playing Beatrice to his Benedict! The actor playing Benedict was emulating Branagh slightly, but came off rather better and to be honest, hotter. Beatrice was a 21st century independent woman with some edgy one liners that she delivered amazingly - her personality coming through perfectly, and there is this amazing scene where Ben had me in stitches, crawling across the floor...oh man, was that funny! Definitely worth a watch!

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13 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

an excellent adaption with many laughs

Author: boybarts from Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
7 November 2005

I've just watched this aired on BBC1 as part of a series called Shakespeare-Told. I was only mildly interested in watching, but it gripped me from the start and held my attention to the end. You don't need to know the original text to enjoy the quick comedic dialogue and the story lines of deceit and love are relevant in any period of history. This adaption puts the characters in a television studio of Wessex Tonight with Beatrice and Benedick as the presenters, Hero as a weather girl and Claudio as a reporter. The relationship of B & B was explored and explained well with both actors giving excellent performances. Looking forward to sitting in next Monday evening for the next helping of Will's tales.

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12 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

I never thought I would like Shakespeare!

Author: milkmeister from United Kingdom
8 November 2005

I remember the days at school having to read Julius Caesar and Romeo and Juliet, and to be honest the lure of a good Stephen King book was always greater! So basically Shakespeare, or the idea of Shakespeare has never rocked my boat. However, I decided at the last minute to watch the programme, and boy was I glad I did. Very entertaining storyline, and I thought Billie Piper was a real star. Damian Lewis played his character Benedick to perfection, a perfect rendition of a very cringeworthy character, before his reform! I highly recommend it to anyone who has always had Shakespearaphobia as a place to start. I am even contemplating buying the original book to see how I get on with it!

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8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Beatrice enjoys her job, but when her colleague falls ill, a replacement is needed. The problem is the replacement is the last person Beatrice wants to see.... her ex!

Author: cgodfrey-1 from France
4 December 2005

From then on, its a battle for the two to get on together on-screen, they may think they have a break from each other off-screen but what they don't know is that their scheming colleagues are determined to be match-makers and bring them together.

I absolutely loved Much ado about nothing,the plot couldn't have been better. Sarah and Damien were excellent and played their characters really well, I really felt that they had a history. can't wait for it to come out on DVD. The actors were very well chosen and I loved the way it was adapted, for me it was, without a doubt, the best Shakespeare re-told drama I have ever seen.

Well done BBC, one again, another great drama success!

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

An interpretation does not need to have the words from the original play to retain its spirit

Author: (Finches_Wings) from PL
3 June 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

As with other Shakespeare retold episodes, this one captures the essence of the story really well. Benedick and Beatrice are just awesome, there is such a strong chemistry between the two main leads, they are perfect on screen and their performance is subtle, underplayed but so very powerful that it gives you goosebumps. They have a history-or rather Beatrice has a history of being hurt by men and Benedick proves a great guy. Such chemistry is rarely to be found on screen. A great pairing! The story is there, the wit is excellent, the ending: really nice. The only weak side is Hero/Claudio storyline..BUT what I did like about Heeo was that she was made stand for herself not merely faint. She is shown as a woman who can respect herself. Claude is an idiot. But then again he was;t much wiser in the play itself.

Overall, details may be changed but the spirit is there, and I think Shakespeare might have liked it.

Oh, and the music, as in other of the four (especially Macbeth!!) enhances the mood really well.

This was just great.

Oh and some reviewers noticed the similarities between This Benedick and Kenneth Brannagh- I agree-I think it might have been a tribute of some sort.

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3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

A very enjoyable though slightly flawed retell of this Shakespeare comedy

Author: Ross from United Kingdom
1 August 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

----spoilers----- If this story had only been about Beatrice and Benedict I'd have given it 10 stars, but the Hero-Claude plot is rather weak. I think it was a mistake to turn spiteful Uncle Don John into Hero's obsessive and clinging friend with whom she'd had an unwise flung through being sorry for him. Nasty Don John scheming to cause trouble is I think better than drippy Don miserying over Hero. But I can see the attraction of this different theme and it does work well at first, but from the wedding onward the plot goes awry. It's obviously impossible for any modern girl to want to marry this berk Claude who's so easily deceived by pathetic Don's silly plot, whilst in the original naive Claude can get away with his very bad behaviour as Don John then is far too clever for him and moral attitudes were different then. So this relationship is left unresolved and I can't see how it could ever work.

But Beatrice and Benedict - oh yes, brilliantly done! Sarah Parish and Damian Lewis (is he meant to look like Kenneth Branagh or is it chance?) are marvellous and the whole script concerning them is excellent and very funny.

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3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Not bad at all...

Author: sarastro7
17 May 2006

The new 2005 BBC series of updated modern-language Shakespeare TV movies is currently being shown Wednesday nights on Danish television. I missed one or two, but I caught Macbeth, which didn't impress me terribly, and last night they showed Much Abo About Nothing. This was a lot better than the Macbeth installment. It managed to maintain most of the structure of the original play, while changing some things (including significant parts of the ending) to keep it simpler and fresh. It was nowhere near the quality of a genuine Shakespeare play, although the acting certainly wasn't bad. Billie Piper's Hero impressed particularly, whereas I was not too taken with the actress portraying Beatrice. Benedick and Claude were played by types who reminded a lot - almost too much - of the Branagh movie's equivalents, but as I am a huge fan of Branagh's movie, this is not something that annoys me.

This version did have some shortcomings, such as a much too small role for Peter (Don Pedro), and, of course, the lack of the original Bard text, and I also felt it was more interested in being entertaining than in being any kind of complex literary comedy. But while the Macbeth episode of this series seemed contrived and simplified to the point of massive dilution, the Much Ado episode worked far better,despite being a very straight (and, again, simplified) version of the original. It seemed to me like it had been immensely easy to write; nothing much more than rephrasing parts of the Shakespeare dialog into modern language and changing the setting. Still, it was done with remarkable flair. Certainly Shakespeare Lite at the end of the day, but not bad at all.

7 out of 10.

Next Wednesday it's A Midsummer Night's Dream.

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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Loves' Labors' Won

Author: tedg ( from Virginia Beach
29 April 2010

After seeing some bad adaptations of my revered "Alice's Adventures Underground," I decided to try this. Though the comedies aren't generally the stuff around which to build lives, a few from the middle period do matter.

During this period, Shakespeare seems to have found one of his three balances among the structure of poetical phrases, the structure of poetic introspection and the long form shape of the story. Of the three, adapters must toss the language, so the measure of success is how well the small concepts weave into the larger. Supposedly, if this is done well enough some of the subtle magic of why the original is so hypnotic will be conveyed. In other words, we should get joy from the sheer difficulty of the conceptual gymnastics as well as the pleasure from a good experience from the play itself.

This wins in my book.

The key trick is that the domain has been shifted to folks in the business of TeeVee broadcasting. So there is a built in fold in the very lives of everyone involved. We naturally accept the two conspiratorial theaters that are woven, one to create a wedding and another to foil one.

The production is good, earnest, unconstrained.

Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.

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