Yeah, obvious title. :)
It was good. A pretty straight-up modern-dress treatment, using the Bard’s original words; the funny parts were funny (it’s a comedy after all), the suspenseful parts were suspenseful, and the lovey-dovey parts were lovey-dovey.
Spoilers in the below, skip to the last couple paragraphs, for anyone who hasn’t seen it and might!
The main twists I noticed were making Conrade female (and the beginning of Act 1 Scene 3 an almost-sex scene), and the cute touch of having a black woman wedding guest at backstage center when Claudio says that he will marry a particular woman even “were she an Ethiope”. There’s no reaction or anything, just a quick cut away, but it was definitely a wink at the audience.
Significant Whedon fanservice. The Beatrice-Benedick romance is (going by the actors) Fred and Wesley from Angel (at which there is much rejoicing in certain circles). That’s Captain Mal from Firefly as the funny bumbling Constable Dogberry (the Watch locking themselves out of their car is another cute, what, synachronism, as is the production of an iPod when Don Pedro says “Come, shall we hear this music?”). And that’s the good-guy doctor Tam, also from Firefly, as the evil Don John.
(And another synachronism is the live smartphone video accompanying “My lord, your brother John is ta’en in flight, And brought with armed men back to Messina”, wahaha.)
Amy Acker is a great Beatrice. I could not for the life of me remember where I’d seen her before for the first part of the film, because she (unlike Fred) is confident and even haughty; only at some point in there where she softens did I think “Oh, it’s Fred!”.
Jillian Morgese is a pretty and convincing Hero, the wronged ingenue. From the website, she was being an extra in ummmm The Avengers when Whedon himself suggested she try out for Hero, which is extremely cool and fairy-tale-like.
(And what the heck is a female character doing being named “Hero”? Shakespeare’s fault, and extremely confusing. Someone must explain this to me!)
So in general, it was fun. The Burns is a comfy intimate theater (three screens, of which I think they were using only two today, seating about the size of the front third of your typical cineplex theater). And there’s a locally-owned candy and chocolate store right nearby! Hee hee.
So far the fact that Whedon is a flippin’ genius (for which I offer as evidence Once more, with feeling in particular, of which I now have the Original Cast Album, among other notable notables) has not reached out and struck me from this film; maybe I will gradually realize amazing things about it, but also maybe not. In any case, it was well crafted, and a Good Time, and I am glad I went.