Monday, April 25, 2011

Movies You Might Have Missed Monday

Who in history has written better stories than William Shakespeare? His genius has lasted numerous generations, influenced fellow writers through the ages, and shown up in every artistic medium through the present day – including the silver screen, of course.

Though countless films have been made from Shakespeare’s plays, including adaptations and modern translations, few come across with the clarity needed for actual comprehension, especially for those not particularly fond of the Queen’s English. Worse than subtitles, needing an interpreter or Shakespearian dictionary to “get it” isn’t the best way to watch a movie.

I’ve found one film, though, of a Shakespeare play in the original language that makes sense as is, and that is my pick for this week’s Movies You Might Have Missed Monday.

Much Ado About Nothing hit the theatres in 1993, directed by Kenneth Branagh, who sports a resume packed so full he can be considered nothing less than a master in all things Shakespeare. That’s obvious as he puts forth this star-studded and witty production.

The actors claim most of the credit for making this film work for a wider audience. Besides Kenneth Branagh taking a role, Emma Thompson, Denzel Washington, Michael Keaton (the absolute best), Robert Sean Leonard, Kate Beckinsale and other recognizable faces give brilliant performances that with every eyebrow arc and smile convey the meaning behind the words. All the doublets and quips and poetic lines backed with feeling, verbal intonation, and physical context unlock the door to understanding the story, and therefore enjoying it.

Full of humor, romance, deceit, heroes, villains, tragedy and triumph, Much Ado About Nothing starts out with soldiers coming home from war. They stop off at the villa of an old friend whose daughter is the object of one of the soldier’s affections. During the days they wait before the wedding, the heroes distract themselves with stealthy match-making while the villains plot to destroy the happiness of their adversaries by wrecking the romance of the two betrothed, resulting in assumptions, misunderstandings, false accusations, and hard lessons learned. The only deviation from the normal Shakespearian story is that this one (I have to spill the beans) does not end up in tragedy.

This film is most likely an out-of-the-box experiment for many of you. And I’ll be honest, you’ll know in the first five minutes whether you can get through the whole movie or not. In fact, if you make it through the credits, you will be fine because that’s the most in sane that it gets (promise). I remember watching it the first time with my mom, and after watching the beginning credits, looking at each other and saying, “Well… yes... that was much ado about nothing.”

But don’t let the title fool you. There’s depth here, a great story, lots of fun, and lots of drama too.

Feeling adventurous? Try Much Ado About Nothing. You might find something you really like.

Happy movie watching, Dry Ground friends!

(photo by


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reminder of this really fun movie. I think it is about time for a re-view. :o)

Susanne Dietze said...

I've always wanted to see this but never have...I've really got to get netflix! Thanks, Lori.

Are you planning to see "Water for Elephants?"

Anonymous said...

I haven't see this yet. Heard about it. I'm still working up the nerve to watch Inception. LOL. I have it here from Netflix, but it scares me. I hear it's really complicated and demands undivided attention....LOL.