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Film / Much Ado About Nothing (1993)

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Much Ado About Nothing is a 1993 British/American romantic comedy film based on William Shakespeare's play of the same name. It was adapted for the screen and directed by Kenneth Branagh, who stars in the film. The film also stars Branagh's then-wife Emma Thompson, Robert Sean Leonard, Denzel Washington, Michael Keaton, Keanu Reeves, and Kate Beckinsale in her film debut.

This page is for tropes unique to the 1993 film. For tropes from the original play, see the work page for the play, Much Ado About Nothing.


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Tropes:

  • Adaptation Distillation: Trimming longer scenes and a bit of reorder as well as removing obsolete words.
  • Bookends: The opening of the film has Beatrice reciting the "hey nonny nonny" lines from the original play. The last scene of the film has the "hey nonny nonny" sung on the soundtrack.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Claudio during the first wedding, both figuratively and literally.
  • Color Blind Casting: Should a black man (Denzel Washington) be playing a medieval Italian prince? Well, why not?note 
  • Dynamic Entry: The male riders, collectively raising their fists and shouting in unison over the title of the movie. While spurring their horses.
  • Feet-First Introduction: The company arriving by horse is shown by the horse´s feet before the riders appear en face.
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  • Good Colors, Evil Colors: All the good male characters wear uniforms with blue lapels and blue jeans, while the evil male characters have black lapels and black leather pants.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Other than envy towards his half-brother Don Pedro and towards Claudio being in Don Pedro's favor, it seems that Don John may had or have an interest in Hero, Claudio's love interest, possibly adding another reason for Don John's attempts to break apart Claudio and Hero.
  • Happy Dance: In celebration of Beatrice's supposed "love" for him, Benedick splashes around in the pond.
  • Hollywood Genetics: Keanu Reeves and Denzel Washington as half-brothers. Given both that and the relative quality of their acting, it takes quite the Willing Suspension of Disbelief to go along with.
  • Insult Backfire: Dogberry is called an ass by one of the conspirators. He seems very pleased and flattered to be addressed so.
  • Large Ham: Michael Keaton as Dogberry. Also, the film does feature BRIAN BLESSED in a minor role.
    • Kenneth Branagh, especially his hilarious monologue about the benefits of marriage, ending with this line:
    "THE WORLD MUST BE PEOPLED!!
    • Keanu Reeves practically gnashes his teeth as the "plain-dealing" villain. He even gets a cackling getaway once his plan comes to fruition.
    • Claudio's callout of Hero at the first wedding. It has to be seen to be believed.
  • Limited Wardrobe: All the main male characters wear that same white shirt and dark pants combo. All the women wear the same simple white dress.
  • Monochrome Casting: Averted with the casting of Denzel Washington. Who is Keanu Reeves' half brother.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Don John is shown oiled up and shirtless, a nice shot for the ladies.
  • Nobody Here but Us Birds: Benedick eavesdropping on Pedro and Claudio's chat. (It doesn't fool them for a second)
  • Oh, Crap!: During the wedding disaster, while Don Pedro is hotly describing what he, Don John and Claudio witnessed at Hero's chamber window, Margaret has an expression of horrified realization that she was set up to look like Hero in flagrante at the window.
  • The Oner: The tracking shot at the end of the film doesn't add anything to the plot, but it sure is festive. Lasting a good 2 and a half minutes, the camera zooms between all of the principal characters as they sing and dance, finally ending on an aerial shot of the entire villa.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: It's pretty damn obvious in the movie that the person behind the veil is Hero. Claudio still doesn't notice.
  • People Fall Off Chairs: Benedick's reaction to hearing that Beatrice is in love with him.
  • Shout-Out: The entrance of Dogberry, doing the "coconut horse" a la Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
  • Shower Scene: The opening credits, which doubles as Ho Yay and/or Les Yay.
  • Swing Low, Sweet Harriet: Beatrice is swinging in a swing with a smile on her face in the montage where Benedict and Beatrice realize they are in love with each other.
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: Where Beatrice stuffs the love note that she is presented at the end of the film as prove of her love for Benedict.
  • Walk and Talk: Don John is perpetually on the move, forcing Borachio to hurry behind him while talking.

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