It's certainly not impossible for Shakespeare plays to be set in modern times, at modern locations, with modern looking people but this is not really the way to do it in my opinion.

No this is not a bad movie at all but it's one that still doesn't really works out in the way that it clearly wants to. It's yet again a movie that's based on a Shakespeare play, that is being placed in our modern time. Now, I certainly do believe that a lot of Shakespeare plays could be placed in modern times, since a lot of its themes certainly still do apply to modern society. This movie really doesn't succeed though and it doesn't quite feel right. It doesn't feel right that all of the characters keep talking about Messina, while the movie is clearly set in California and they keep referring to people as princes and princesses while all of the characters wear ordinary clothes and life in ordinary houses. It tries to add some authenticity by being a black & white movie but other than that, this simply feels and looks like a modern movie with some very old fashioned dialog and storytelling in it. It didn't gel for me and it for instance could have done what "Coriolanus" did; keep the story, keep the dialog but change all of the modern surroundings and characters in order to match the story and at the same time allow things to effectively take place in modern time.

This movie, as it is, feels very dry and not all that exciting. To be honest, it was starting to wear me out after a while. About halfway through I was already ready for this movie to end but I admit, once I got over that point, the movie became better and also more enjoyable to watch. Perhaps this was also thanks to Nathan Fillion, who showed up about halfway through and with his character injected some much needed fun and comedy into the movie. Now if only all of the other actors played their characters the same way Fillion did, this would have been a far more enjoyable movie to watch but I of course understand why they didn't, or else this would have turned into too much of a comedy and one that wouldn't have been taken seriously enough.

It's still perfectly fine to watch this movie if you enjoy Shakespeare. Lovers of his work should be able to appreciate the delivery of all of the dialog and the way of storytelling by Joss Whedon. But if you are a bit more demanding or not too big on Shakespeare, than this movie really doesn't have enough to offer. It's not creative and surprising enough with its story and the delivery of it. It's not like this is a bad version of 'Much Ado About Nothing' but it's just that they are so many better movie versions of it out there already and this movie really doesn't add anything new, while it had plenty of potential and room to do so.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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