Bard on the Blogs: Guest Post by Candice From The Grown-Up YA


Today we have Candice from The Grown-Up YA chatting about different adaptations of Much Ado About Nothing! As I told you guys before, this play has the best adaptations! Enjoy her reviews and clips below and then head over to a Rafflecopter giveaway to enter our giveaway for a chance to win a Shakespeare retelling of your choice!

One of my favorite Shakespeare plays is Much Ado About Nothing. I’ve loved this one since I was young and feel like I get more out of it every time I watch it! My favorite thing about this particular play is the two main characters, Benedick and Beatrice. I’ve always been a fan of witty characters who banter with each other, although wouldn’t surprise me if the reason I loved these types of characters was because of these two!

Today I’m talking about 3 different adaptions of this play, all of which I encourage you to go watch! I’ve focused on the two main characters, Benedick and Beatrice, and about how great I found these performances to be!

Much Ado About Nothing (2012) – Joss Whedon version

When I heard my favorite director was going to be adapting my favorite play starring my favorite TV couple I swear I squealed for DAYS. I literally became the ultimate fan girl. What made this one even better is that it is chock full of Whedon-esque actors.

With a modern day setting and only minimal changes, I was very glad to see that this adaptation stuck to the original play. At first I might have had a teensy bit of trouble separating Benedick and Beatrice from Wesley and Fred, but after a little while that went away. The film definitely has that indie, college film student, foreign film vibe going on but I thought that just added oh so much to the story.

One thing I did notice about the portrayals in this adaptation was that it was very somber at times. While in other adaptations the interactions between these two characters are active and almost border-line comedic, I felt this one took on a darker tone and certain lines felt like a punch in the gut. There was a little back story created between Benedick and Beatrice, so hearing some of their dialogue changed the meaning from light banter to pain-tinged arguments.

Much Ado About Nothing (2011) – Wyndham Theatre/ Version (aka Doctor Who edition)

Now for some more fangirling! Did you know that there is a Doctor Who edition of Much Ado About Nothing? Did you? DID YOU?! I didn’t either.

But there is!!!

So maybe it’s not ACTUALLY a Doctor Who edition, but it does star some of my favorite Doctor Who actors! David Tenant and Catherine Tate star as Benedick and Beatrice and honestly these two can do no wrong! This is actually a stage version but you can watch it at (I know I will be!)

I watched a few clips from it and man oh man David Tenant really knows how to stretch his acting legs. While I love how he acts anyway, there is nothing better than when he really gets going. His whole body expresses what he is saying, his facial expressions are top notch, and throw in that Scottish accent and it’s like something magical happens! And Catherine Tate is just phenomenal period. I love her humor and the way she can deliver a line. While I can’t see her as anything but Donna Noble, the little I’ve seen of her as Beatrice was perfectly endearing!

One thing that I think is oh so important to these roles is the chemistry between the two actors. Benedick and Beatrice, while disliking each other, have this perfect chemistry that allows them to banter and bicker flawlessly. It’s a battle of wits, to the death! Tenant and Tate have great chemistry already which I think makes them both perfect for this bantering couple.

And then there’s this scene…

David Tenant never ceases to entertain me!

Much Ado About Nothing (1993) – Kenneth Brannaugh version

I would be absolutely remiss if I didn’t talk about the performance that made me absolutely fall in love with this play, the 1993 film with Kenneth Brannaugh, Emma Thompson and every other popular 90s actor.

Let’s be honest: Kenneth Brannaugh is phenomenal. I have yet to see a role he has played that I have hated. Ditto times a million for Emma Thompson. These two are like the Hollywood dream team in my opinion and their performances as Benedick and Beatrice were spot on.

I love this particular scene. Even though they’re both being pretty scathing to each other, you don’t feel like you’re watching something completely awkward and horrible. It’s like either of them could say something absolutely horrible to you but with the way they said it you would probably laugh and go have a beer with them afterwards.

What strikes most about these two characters is their range as actors. They can both express a myriad of emotions and feelings and thoughts seamlessly. These two characters certainly have a way with words and their tongues are extremely quick; while I’ve never played either role (obviously) I imagine with all those words their meaning can easily be missed. I never felt that Brannaugh nor Thompson let me miss a single thing thanks to their spot on delivery.

This play truly has it all: deception, love, mystery, romance, deception (so much that I listed it twice!), comedy, wit, pain, passion… Out of all Shakepeare’s plays, this one really captured my attention and my heart.

Movie Review: Return to Oz

return to oz


Dorothy, saved from a psychiatric experiment by a mysterious girl, is somehow called back to Oz when a vain witch and the Nome King destroy everything that makes the magical land beautiful.

Back again representing all things Wizard of Oz to celebrate Project Fairy Tale! If you want to learn more about this fun event head over to my intro post!

Remember how I told you that we weren’t going to mention “The Wiz?” Well, add Return to Oz to the pile of retellings that we won’t be associating with the perfection that is The Wizard of Oz. I remember watching this movie when I was younger and I always felt as if I should enjoy it because it was somehow related to WoO and I was supposed to love all things associated with my beloved story! Now, years later, I can tell you with not an ounce of guilt that if I never see Return to Oz again, things will be a-okay.

Let’s start from the beginning..

Dorothy won’t stop talking about Oz and it’s inhabitants so Aunt Em decides that the best thing for her is a good dose of shock therapy. She drops her off at a ridiculously creepy hospital (read: asylum) to get some shock therapy. Don’t worry, she promises that she will return in the morning with Toto to bring Dorothy home…instead, a storm erupts in Kansas and the hospital is struck by lightning, making the power go out right as The Nome King Doctor Worley is about to flip the switch for Dorothy’s “therapy.” A random patient helps Dorothy escape her bonds and they run away, jumping into a river to escape Mombi Nurse Wilson. Dorothy wakes up in Oz with her chicken Billina – still not sure how the chicken ended up there but let’s go with it – and they start exploring the land. Dorothy steals finds some lunch pails hanging on a tree and brings about the wrath of The Wheelers, (these are creepy men with wheels for hands and feet.) Thankfully she happens upon a robot man named Tik-Tok who uses his special moves to beat upon those Wheelers and get Dorothy to the castle of Mombi. Turns out Mombi is well, a witch. She isn’t just any witch though, she is a witch who steals the heads off of beautiful girls, keeps them on shelves and changes them much as one would change her dress for dinner. Mombi, of course, locks Dorothy away, but not before telling her that she is going to let her age into a unique beauty and then SURPRISE steal her head. Lucky for Dorothy (again) she rooms up with a…being…named Jack Pumpkinhead. He tells her that Mombi has some special powder that will bring things to life so little Dorothy decides to make a flying contraption out of a couch and a Gump Head. She then escapes the room, steals the key and potion and Jack, Tik-Tok, Dorothy and Billina escape. Unfortunately they land in the land of The Nome King and he takes them underground and tells them that he will let them go free if they can pass a test. The test is that each will walk into the next room filled with knickknacks and find an item that is actually one of their friends, enchanted. It’s no surprise that Dorothy succeeds which INFURIATES The Nome King. He then becomes a very big and very dark and scary rock man but he is defeated because Billina lays an egg (which just happen to be POISON to gnomes) in his mouth, and the crew escapes. There is a little parade and Ozma reappears, she was the random hospital patient from Kansas, and Dorothy goes home. Toto finds her laying near the river and Aunt Em tells her that when the lightning struck the hospital it went up in flames and everyone escaped except for Dr. Worley. Dorothy and Aunt Em go back home and Ozma appears to Dorothy in her mirror, letting her know that she can visit Oz whenever she wishes. Lucky gal!

This film was described as an unofficial sequel to The Wizard of Oz and it is loosely based on the second and third Wizard of Oz books, The Marvelous Land of Oz and Ozma of Oz, which was my favorite Wizard of Oz novel. I suppose it is because Ozma of Oz is my favorite that I really loathed this movie. I am not one of those judgy people, but the fact that this movie was made my Disney and rated PG FLOORED me. There is no way that a child would enjoy this movie without being scared and confused and quite frankly, bored. In the book it is not Mombi but Princess Langwidere from the Land of Ev who has her array of heads and I can admit that theme is a tad old for the intended audience but I think it is the dark setting and play on special effects and LOUD NOISES that made me think the film is inappropriate for young children.

I was worried that I was just biased because nothing can compare to the original Wizard of Oz but I really loved Tin Man (which I will be reviewing for you next week) so I feel a little better disliking this one..I do have to say that it definitely has a cult following so it clearly isn’t hated by all and therefore you may not dislike it as much as I did so maybe give it a try! On my end, I will stick to what I know and love and steer clear of this adaptation in the future!