Kenneth Branagh's "Much Ado About Nothing" Essay

1588 Words 7 Pages
The scene opens in the beautiful hills of Tuscany, Italy. Lying about on the slopes of grass are the humble townsfolk basking in the sunshine as a soft voice introduces; “Sigh no more ladies, sigh no more.” This dreamlike setting is the opening scene of the major motion picture Much Ado About Nothing as envisioned by film director Kenneth Branagh. A far cry from its Shakespearean origins, Branagh’s Much Ado has a look and feel all of its own. This film seeks to capture its audience with visual majesty as the characters and setting are transformed to reveal Branagh’s joyful rendition of Shakespeare’s romantic comedy. However, though Branagh’s vision is nothing short of cinematic genius, it neglects some of the deeper meaning that is …show more content…
Shakespeare doesn’t stop there as the battle of wits continues with Benedick and Beatrice front and center. This “merry war” sets the tone for things to come as the audience is shown firsthand the action that precedes them. Likewise, Kenneth Branagh understood the sheer importance of language within Much Ado and because of that, he kept majority of the lines in his movie. However, the similarities stop there as Branagh’s film focuses on visual imagery to gain the audience’s attention and shape the tone of the story. Whether it be Branagh’s clever usage of props, or the inclusion of beautiful men and women dressed in white satin and lace, the visual imagery of the film cannot be denied. The beginning of the film does not focus on Beatrice as some of her opening lines were left out of the movie; rather, the film begins with Beatrice reciting a song that can be found towards the middle of the play which describes the deceitfulness of men. Clearly, Branagh’s objective in doing this is to create an instant romance with the audience and to introduce a softer side of Beatrice. This change in the opening scenes gives the movie a visually charming prelude to a much softer rendition of the Shakespearean play. While Shakespeare relies exclusively on his language for effect, Branagh emphasizes the visual elements in creating an attractive film.

The cast of characters in Much Ado are both unforgettable and vitally important to the successful flow of the play’s many…