... and it was awesome! A really solid adaptation, beautifully shot (spoilers: Joss Whedon looooooves tilt angles. All of them.), and bursting to the brim with fantastic actors.
A few thoughts:
- Man, how big is Joss Whedon's house!?
- I thought Amy Acker was the show stealer. The problem with some Shakespearian productions is that people tend to speak the words, but not necessarily emote them all that well (I think this was something Alexis Denisof did a few times unfortunately - like he was reading out the words, rather than acting them out) - but her Beatrice was wonderfully emotional, be it through playful wit or in grief at Hero's slight.
- Joss Whedon's house is really big.
- The Sigh No More/Masquerade scene was beautiful. Like, holy cow, stunningly shot. The direction in all of it was great, but this scene in particular stood out to me.
- I thought Whedon's decision to add the implication of Beatrice and Benedick as lovers before the events of the play added a really interesting layer to their relationship. Honestly, in the original text the contrivance that Beatrice and Benedick fall madly in love with each other merely... because they kind of overheard other people talking about them fancying each other, was a bit silly (hey, it's a comedy, so no one cares!). But here, we have the idea that they were previously lovers that split, and it is shown that it's a rekindling of an old love, arguably the truest love of the play (let's not get into it, but man, Claudio is so dumb. SO DUMB.), and it works well. And there's actually a precedent to it in the original text too: in 2.1, Beatrice comments to Leonato: Indeed my lord, he lent it me awhile and I gave him use for it—a double heart for his single one. I thought it worked really well in the more grounded Messina that Whedon established in the film.
- YOU GUYS, JOSS WHEDON'S HOUSE IS REALLY BIG.
So yeah, in conclusion, if you can see this in the cinema as it's a limited release, go and do so. If you love Joss, if you love Shakespeare, hell, if you just love beautiful films with actors acting their pants off in them, I heartily recommend it.