Those that read Much Ado About Nothing in high school or college (this reviewer never bothered, more or less because there wasn’t a Kenneth Branagh or Akira Kurosawa film to match) will find that little has been changed. All of the characters—Beatrice, Benedick, Don Pedro, Dogberry, Leonato, Claudio, Don John, and so on and on—are in place, as are the plot points. Even the dialogue seems to be spot on, just as Baz Luhrmann made his for Romeo + Juliet.
And just as with Romeo + Juliet, this adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing is incredibly awkward and unnatural. (Even the choice to shoot in black and white is out of place, there for no reason but to call attention to itself.) The cast, which is comprised of a bunch of Whedon’s friends and collaborators—there’s Amy Acker (Dollhouse), Alexis Denisof (Buffy/Angel), Reed Diamond (also Dollhouse), Nathan Fillion (Firefly/Serenity), Clark Gregg (The Avengers), Fran Kranz (The Cabin in the Woods), and Sean Maher (also Firefly/Serenity), to name a handful—sound like a group of actors reciting lines in some hyperactive and misdirected school play.
As a whole, Much Ado About Nothing is a silly production that has more energy that it does purpose.
Commentary with cast & Joss Whedon: This crowded commentary includes Whedon, Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Reed Diamond, Clark Gregg, Fran Kranz, and many more. It’s a crowded track that sometimes falls out of order, but fans will enjoy it.
Much Ado About Making Nothing (22:12): This making-of featurette uses interviews (with many of those involved in the commentaries) to give a look into the movie’s production.
Bus Ado About Nothing (6:09) looks at the road trip Whedon and his cast took from Los Angeles to Austin for SXSW.
“Sigh No More” Music Video