So, if you follow me on twitter, you saw me squee around 6:30 or so this evening, as I got out of the theatre with @hopelessjen after seeing Whedon’s adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing.
I have loved Shakespeare since I was precociously small. I used to watch PBS broadcasts of productions with the family copy of the Complete Works in my lap, trying to follow along and read at the same time, because at the start, that was how I learned to follow the language (until I both got older and learned to relax and just listen). The only class I ever walked out of in progress throughout my entire education was junior year high school, a Shakespeare class, after arguing with my instructor about an interpretation of some character’s motivation (and no, I don’t remember who, nor do I remember which play; I just remember he told me, point blank, “No, you’re wrong,” and I flew off my handle saying that he could absolutely disagree with my interpretation, but he could under no circumstances tell me that I was wrong in it. At which point he told me, again, I was wrong, and that I should shut up. So I walked out. Thinking back on it, I still think walking out was the right thing to do. Right or wrong I may have been, but he was being an asshole.)
I love Shakespeare.
I have tremendous faith in Joss Whedon, as well. I admire him tremendously. I think he is incredibly talented. I am not a Whedonista; he can, and has, done wrong in my opinion. I know his feet are clay. I cannot think of an artist whose feet aren’t (and mine are more so than most, I hasten to add).
But I’m kinda a conservative when it comes to two facets of literature. I’m a Holmes purist, and I’m a Bard purist.
So I get nervous when I go to see “adaptations.” I can’t help it. My expectations are high.
There’s a further complication. I don’t get out to the movies much these days, really haven’t since my son was born back in 2000. That’s part of parenting for some folks; some parents make a point to find a sitter and get out every so often, but @hopelessjen and I, that’s not our life. We’d rather stay in, we’d rather read, and sometimes - to our detriment - we stay with that inertia instead of taking the pains to overcome it. This means that most of the movies I actually do see these days, they’re films I’m going to because my son or my daughter or both want to see them. The few films I’ve managed to get to see by my own design in recent years have been… disappointing. Sometimes, bitterly disappointing. Sometimes, they’re so fucking disappointing, I find myself wanting my two-plus hours back, never mind the fucking money.
This has led to me forgetting the joy of the cinema. This has led to me entering the darkened theatre with a certain measure of trepidation, if not to say antipathy. Most of all, it’s led to me forgetting that it really can be magical.
Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing is magical. It is terrific. There is something so passionate and raw about the performances, top to bottom, that speaks to what I can only describe as an amateur’s love for the material, executed by experts, enacted by professionals. I could single out Amy Acker’s performance as Beatrice, or Alexis Denisof’s as Benedick, or Clark Gregg as Leonato, or… or… or… but the fact is, there’s not a weak link in the bunch. It is an energetic, joyful, insightful interpretation of the play.
I loved it. I positively loved it. I walked out remembering how great it can be to go to the movies. I walked out remembering everything I love about Shakespeare. I walked out with genuine delight.
This isn’t a review, obviously. This isn’t even me saying you, over there, yes you, go see it.
What this really is?
I guess this is me saying thank you. To Joss Whedon, to Amy Acker (oh dear LORD she was AMAZING) and Alexis Denisof and Reed Diamond and Jillian Morgese (who is pretty much making her screen debut in the film as Hero) and Clark Gregg who I think I am in love with even more than I was before and and and and and because I could just give a whole damn laundry list of cast and crew. The music? AWESOME! Hey nonny-nonny, and it fucking WORKED. Amazing.
OK, yes, I’m apparently still in squee-mode.
So, yeah. Like that.
Thank you, Mr. Whedon. Now please do another?