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MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING (1993 - PG13)
Director Kenneth Branagh's "Much Ado About Nothing"
is a zesty, exuberant, fun, funny, romantic interpretation of the classic
play by William Shakespeare.
"Sharp witted dialog worth the watch, in this gorgeously animated adaptation of Shakespeare"
The basic story involves the upcoming marriage
of Count Claudio (Robert Sean Leonard) and the lovely Hero (Kate
Beckinsale), and the behind the scenes attempts, to pass the time,
to create a love match between a man and woman at odds with each
other, who are confirmed singles, Benedick and Beatrice, (played
by then real life husband & wife, Branagh & Thompson.)
To complicate all matters, the bitter Don John (Kenau Reeves),
brother of Don Pedro of Arragon (Denzel Washington), plans to
ruin the wedding plans and stop the wedding of Claudio and Hero,
by falsely accusing Hero of being unfaithful to her husband-to-be,
through a misleading scheme, that nearly works. However, at the
end of the story, everything turns out fine, making the whole
incident "much ado about nothing."
He added the hysterical bit with his character and the lawn chair, while eavesdropping what his friends are saying about Beatrice's feelings for him, which is one of my favorite sequences of scenes.
The dramatic moments are also powerful, such
as when Claudio accuses Hero of infidelity at the wedding ceremony,
causing major havoc to all concerned. Equally gripping is the
sequence of scenes where Beatrice convinces Benedick to challenge
Claudio to a duel.
Of the all star cast, Branagh, Thompson, and Washington particularly distinguish themselves. Their fluid use of Shakespeare's language renders it both poetic and comprehensible to modern ears.
Branagh & Thompson are great together as warring couple, Benedick and Beatrice, adding much to the plot line and enjoyment of the movie.
Denzel Washington plays Don Pedro of Aragon, who is the head military leader of all the soldiers, (including Claudio, & Benedick), who had all come to enjoy the hospitality of their friend, the Governor of Messina, played well by Richard Briers. The beginning of the movie has them coming back from a campaign for a visit.
Richard Briers excels as Hero's father, Seigneur
Leonato, the Governor of Messina, who is put through the ringer
by the false accusations made against his lovely daughter.
Branagh impressed audiences around the world when he performed the same tasks on Shakespeare's "Henry V" (1989). He received Oscar nominations for Best Picture and Best Director, causing some critics to proclaim him the modern heir to the late Sir Lawrence Olivier's illustrious dramatic crown.
The film's beautiful photography, which presents
the past era in an eye pleasing, gold-tinged light is a delight
for the viewer. Director of Photography Roger Lanser delivered
the ripe, sumptuous visuals.