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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"Strangely fitting in a grotesque fashion."
11976 members | you are not logged in | 29 May 2020


July 22 2013

Post Postmod Love in "Much Ado". "Joss Whedon's depiction of this most playful Shakespearean comedy is a sheer delight. It is also a rebuke, a surprise, and a challenge, in that order."

Just as I never get tired of watching Joss' 'Much Ado', I also never get tired of hearing it praised. The way Joss managed to make sure every character had a purpose and a personality, the way the story applies to the modern world, and the wonderful/delightful performances of everyone in the cast, makes this the best movie version of any Shakespeare play I've ever seen (Ian McKellen's 1995 version of 'Richard III' is awesome, but not really something you want to rewatch for fun! LOL).

I am always happiest when Joss is creating/writing his own stories, but at the same time I would love to see him direct small films of every Shakespeare play.
Not surprisingly, TNR completely misses the point in pretty much every way possible.
I haven't even seen Much Ado yet and I can tell the reviewer missed the point. Clearly he didn't do any homework beyond watching the film; pretty much any interview Joss did about the film would scuttle the points this article makes.

To give the reviewer a little credit, his comments about the rebuke to Hollywood seem accurate enough, though they're hardly original.
I'll give him props just for using "post-post-modern," which to me describes the world since 1989 or 1992.
The reviewer nails it.
One of my favorite things about Whedon is that his works (like all great works of art!) can sustain multiple, sometimes conflicting, interpretations or readings. Being one myself for the kind of wooly-headed liberal thinking that gets you eaten, Fillion's Dogberry as Bidenesque would never have occurred to me. Nor would it have occurred to me to read Fillion/Lenk as a libertarian ideal of a police force: "puny, comically inept, terrified of interfering with private citizens, yet at least occasionally capable of enforcing basic order." It's always a neat moment to realize the vastness of audience response, how we can watch the same movie but see very different films.
I don't see how the article misses the point at all - what is the point of a film if not to inspire thought and debate? I think it has a rather interesting take on Benedick and Beatrice. "Theirs is a brittle wit, a self-regarding cleverness that shields its possessors against the risks of trust and true affection." I also totally agree with the praise of the garden party. The Great Gatsby deserved similar treatment.
Although it's a rave, I smelled a rat when I saw Will Allen's review on right-wing website National Review Online, and sure enough, Allen uses the play's traditional take on romantic relationships to claim that the film is a deliberate critique on "the hookup culture that passes for young love in the urban West." Even worse, Allen drags an irrelevant political dig into his praise of Nathan Fillion's performance: "Fillion... steals his every scene as Dogberry, a Bidenesque constable who runs what some libertarians might consider the platonic ideal of a police force: puny, comically inept, terrified of interfering with private citizens, yet at least occasionally capable of enforcing basic order." (Seeing as Whedon is a proud, card-carrying, unapologetic liberal, I'd love to hear his reaction to this review.)
All reviews are that particular critic's opinion, but having seen the movie three times myself, I think he pretty much nailed it.

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