Much Ado About Something
I recently and quite unexpectedly became a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I was flipping channels one night and came upon a rerun on Chiller. Buffy was fighting bad dudes to rescue her sister on top of a precarious tower. In the end, she sacrificed herself to save the world. Whoah! Fortunately, the next episode was on right after it, and her friends brought her back from the dead. Phew!
I wanted to see the next episode and the one after that, so I got my eyes on some DVDs from the local library. I was pulled into Buffy's epic story. Even though she can slay vampires, she has to work at a burger joint, take care of her teenage sister after her mother dies, and carry on a self-destructive relationship with the Vampire Spike who can't kill people because he has a chip in his head.
Even though I am a bit taller and older and not a vampire slayer, I found myself relating to Buffy. Every week, there's a new monster, and every week, she deals with it and keeps going. If she can keep going, anyone can keep going. I can keep going. And where did she get that cool leather trench?
Sorry, just tangented on my tangent.
Joss Whedon, the creator of Buffy, has made a film of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing in his house with a lot of actors from his shows, and I went to see it on Saturday.
His version of Much Ado About Nothing is set in modern times and shot in a very nice house in Santa Monica. It begins with guys in suits arriving in limos. They have just come back from the wars. Are they corporate raiders? Are they civilian soldiers like Blackwater? Why is Don John in plastic cuffs? I was confused. Is this some statement about the one percent?
Then, the play (it has been cut, but the show pieces are all there) gets in motion with the two couples flouncing about, and I found myself just watching the actors play. When we got to the revels, we got to see a lovely party with trapeze artists in the garden. Lots of booze and wine flowing. And for the rest of the party/play, the characters drank a lot of wine and downed shots. Beatrice and Benedict had witty exchanges like fine wine. Ah yes, I got a Shakespearean wine buzz.
As the film progressed, the big house in Santa Monica became smaller and smaller. Or maybe the characters got bigger? When the night watch/clowns showed up, I think their scenes were shot in a basement.
There is very little logic in this film. In fact, I turned off my brain. I stopped asking if this is modern times, why is Hero's honor so important? Hasn't Claudio ever heard of a hen night? Why doesn't Beatrice just shoot Claudio herself?
But this lack of logic and flood of whimsy feels refreshing. When did it become important that every single little thing in a movie must make sense? We're not watching science. We're watching play, and for two hours, I didn't have to be an adult. I could get lost watching talented actors get together in some director's house, drink a lot of wine, and make a film of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing. Why the heck not.
Oh, and that guy from Buffy is in it along with that guy from Angel and that guy who was in Firefly with that other guy who was also in Firefly along with Buffy and that chick who was an extra in The Avengers and that other chick from Angel and Dollhouse and. . . . .