Shakespeare – like another language

The other night I discovered a movie I hadn’t watched by Joss Whedon. I’m a huge fan of Buffy, Angel and Firefly, plus his Marvel work and I’d heard that some of the actors who had been in those series, were also in the movie – Much Ado About Nothing.

Much Ado About Nothing Poster

Now, I know Much Ado About Nothing is a Shakespeare play, but I wasn’t sure whether this version would be a traditional version or a modern version, so I thought I’d give it a shot. You see I’m not a huge fan of Shakespeare plays – possibly due to some bad experiences reading Othello at high school.
This movie was black and white, which gave it an old school feel, while still being in a contemporary setting, but all of the dialogue was the traditional haths and doths.

As I was watching it, it reminded me of watching a German language film. I studied German at university and spent a year living there, so at one stage (about 20 years ago), I was reasonably fluent in the language. These days though, when I hear German in a film, I have to concentrate and while I can get the gist of what they’re saying, I can’t translate every word.
For me, Shakespeare is like that. I have to concentrate hard on what I’m hearing and only get the basic gist of what’s going on. I think it would be different if I was reading it, because I can take the time over the words, but in a movie, you have to keep up. I did understand enough to chuckle in a few places and to understand what was going on, but it wasn’t a relaxing movie session.
Having said that, I did love seeing some of the actors from the shows I loved back on the screen, and I particularly loved seeing Wesley and Fred finally get their happily ever after!
So what do you think about Shakespeare? Do you love it or hate it? Are there any plays you recommend I check out?

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