Sunday, May 25, 2014

The 2012 Santa Monica "Much Ado About Nothing" by Joss Whedon**

We just watched it, streaming on Netflix, but we will buy it just in case it disappears from Netflix. I put 5 stars on the old, old Helen Mirren CYMBELINE, and of course the Baz Luhrmann ROMEO AND JULIET gets 5 stars. David Tennant's HAMLET is so good half way through that I am holding fire until I am ready to see it all. Can you understand why I have to wait? But who would have thought that Josh Whedon in 12 days in Santa Monica Canyon (yes? and at the start, Morton Bay figs on La Mesa?) could have assembled a cast of unknowns (to us, except for the "ruggedly handsome" Fillion) in a production in which every player understood every word he or she was saying? This far surpasses the Branagh production (despite Michael Keaton) and outshines the 1984 BBC production (even in the wonderful moment when Robert Lindsay is told, "Kill Claudio"). I have never seen a stage production. Here, you can almost imagine forgiving Claudio. No, you really can imagine forgiving him, and, heaven help me, do forgive him. Three cheers for Joss Whedon.

Rotten Tomatoes 84%? Come on!
Metacritic 78%? Come on!
This was a high 90s production.

And the LA touches were, well, priceless: watch Benedick stuck as a guest in the house and grounds but nevertheless doing his elegant exercises elegantly and effortlessly.

1 comment:

  1. Mr. Parker,

    Am glad to hear you enjoyed Whedon's production of "Much Ado About Nothing." I am a big fan of his Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel TV shows. Amy Acker (Beatrice) and Alexis Denisof (Benedick) played major parts in the Angel series. Denisof was also in Buffy for one season.

    I've been wanting to see his production of this play for some time. After reading your positive remarks I plan to pick up a copy and watch it later today. I very much enjoyed Branagh's film, so it looks like I am going to be in for a real treat given that you preferred Whedon's version.

    I recently started reading your book "Melville Biography: An Inside Narrative." I think it a fantastic book. It is rare to find such expertise and down to earth commonsense in this sort of literary work. Thank you for writing it. I'd been wanting to read your two-volume biography of Melville but had been intimidated by its size. I've now ordered it from Amazon and plan on tackling it after I finish "Melville Biography."

    Take care,
    Hal Friederichs