Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Almost spot on.
Tell you what, video games are all the rage now more than they ever have been before. It seems every day people continually forget how great a good family board game can really be. With so many choices you could be playing for hours on end. It’s a different kind of entertainment than video games, sure, but it’s still so much fun. As far as movies go based on board games, well…that was really rare in 1985, and the way they made movies back then differed greatly to our modernized vision. Just take a look at Battleship. A movie that focused on trying to appeal to a younger crowd by filling it with action sequences and beautiful CGI, but is that really what the original game was about? I guess that doesn’t really matter much now, but in 1985 it did, and you can clearly see that with Clue.
If you have ever played the board game, the rules of the game and the film more or less mirrored each other. Six people (players) are invited to a mansion by a Mr. Boddy. Their names are Mrs. Peacock, Mrs. White, Professor Plum, Mr. Green, Colonel Mustard, and Miss Scarlett (just like the game). They were invited by a man that had dirt on all of them and was willing to blackmail each one of them until they all paid a hefty fee to silence him. When the lights are cut off and Mr. Boddy suddenly dies, they must all work together to find out who did it. The where and why is obvious…or is it?
I have to admit, Clue is one of my all-time favorite board games. I’ve played it so often that I believe I’ve come up with a fool-proof way to figure out the killer the fastest…but enough about me…how does this movie do? I mean this is weird. Every time you hear about a movie being made based off of a board game you have got to shiver with worry. It takes a lot of creativity to create a story and world from a board game, but I believe they did their job here. When you play the game, you can almost envision your own story while playing and the tone of how you feel is laid out perfectly here.
This film decided to use silly humor with some of the great comedians of that time to secure some good laughs. The reason I like that, is because board games in general are made for you to have fun. Battleship was nice in its own right, but it lost the spirit of the game, and to see that in Clue automatically lands a smile upon my face. Seriously, think about how many red herrings are in the game itself. Anyone could have done it, anywhere, with anything. So that playfully toys with your paranoia, as does it here. This film is self-aware in that it knows that it’s ridiculous and it revels in that fact. They wanted to see just how many things they could pull off.
I have a really bittersweet feeling about the ending though. In terms of how it works in the game, the movie definitely strived at this point. Obviously there are some things you have to change anyway. For instance – in the game – you use the process of elimination by players showing you what cards they have. The process of elimination in the film was just…people dying left and right, so…they couldn’t have done it. That, I was fine with. It was specifically the ending.
I’ll try not to give anything away for those of you that haven’t seen it, but the Butler guy goes on and on in a really long tangent that is absolutely hysterical. Single-handedly the best part of the film. Then the film goes a little overboard with its humor and it tries to pull off multiple twists and endings so the audience had their own choice. The thing I don’t like about that is in Clue…it’s not a game of chance, it’s a game of intellect and the process of elimination. It’s smart, doing this made me feel like the ending wasn’t conclusive or concrete enough. Funny, yes, but not exactly what I would have hoped for. Maybe that’s just me.
Any fan of the classic board game should definitely check this film out. It is very funny and pays a lot of respect to the classic game while introducing backgrounds and story to everything else – making this a very enjoyable watch. There is also a lot of amazing comedic one-liners in this one.
I can’t really say a lot of how it’s “bad” per se. What I will say is that as far as modern expectations go, this film isn’t impressive visually speaking. It’s old and it feels old. The ending also has the possibility of not being satisfying…which is a major problem for Clue fans.
For people wanting a more modern approach to this game, there is a special episode of USA’s Psych that is actually very similar to this film, especially with that hilarious long tangent. Also note – Christopher Lloyd is in both Clue and that episode of Psych.
Wadsworth: [trying to find Mrs. White in the dark after hearing her scream] I’m coming! I’m just trying to find the door. Coming.
[finds what seems to be a doorknob]
Wadsworth: What’s this? Another door?
[turns “doorknob”, gets blasted with water from a shower]