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The Cinematic Katzenjammer: Sept 1: Clue


Sept 1: Clue

"Six guests are invited to a strange house and must cooperate with the staff to solve a murder mystery."
Directed by: Jonathan Lynn, Rated: PG, 94 minutes

As a kid, I never played any board games and thought, "Damn! This would make a great movie!". I knew they were just slabs of cardboard with stickers on them, where you'd draw cards or roll dice and then lose the pieces, never to be seen again. Now, as an "informed" movie lover, watcher, and talk-about-er, the idea of adapting a board game into a film just pisses me off. With the recent DVD release of Battleship, an absolutely disaster of a movie, let alone an adaptation, I decided to watch Clue, a flick based off the murder mystery "whodunit" board game. And believe it or not, it's a damn good movie. 

It's hell of a lot more fun than the board game. 

The film borrows the weapons and characters from the game, from Professor Plum and the candlestick to Miss Peacock and the lead pipe. To bring them all together, a mysterious man, known as Mr. Body invites them all to his mansion for a big dinner. As each arrive, (Plum, Scarlet, Peacock, Mustard, White, Green are all pseudonyms) they all begin to question the reason behind their invitations. Wadsworth (Tim Curry) is Mr. Body's butler and begins to explain the unusual circumstance. Unfortunately, before he can finish, bodies begin piling up and the household is thrown into a panic. Someone in the dinner party is a murderer and the group of people begin questioning each other and any possible motives. 

*dramatic music*

This movie is as fun as you can get without getting fancy with special effects or sprawling landscapes. It's a self-contained little comedy-mystery that leaves you wondering what's going to happen next and who's next on the chopping block. Clue also features an incredible cast, with Christopher Lloyd, Michael McKean, Martin Mull, Madeline Kahn, Eileen Brennan, and Lesley Ann Warren, all legends in their own right. Throw in the previously mentioned Tim Curry and you have a cast packed full of comedy awesome. Each actor is given their own chance to shine and each fill their respective roles with humor and 'class', fitting their game counterpart's beautifully. As you being to learn more about each character, you learn that none of them are the most likable or even nicest people, so you don't really care if any of them are the murderer or the next victim, but it's still fun seeing them argue about who did it. 

And Colleen Camp plays Yvette, the maid. Enough said. 

I would definitely recommend Clue. They actually filmed multiple endings to the movie and you can watch all of them on the DVD. When it was released, a different ending was picked for each screening so you'd never know who the killer really was until then. While this can be seen as a gimmicky idea, it's more honest to it's source where each game ends differently. Tim Curry certainly steals the show as Wadsworth and his fast talking, wise-cracking characters provides the most laughs as well as a very aware "let's poke fun at ourselves because this is ridiculous" narration. Watch it on a day off or just looking for a laugh, Clue is worth the time. 

The Good:
a stellar cast that feed off each other incredibly well, with an even smarter script to aid them
The Bad:
fast-talking actions jumping from room to room don't necessarily provide the strongest story
The Ugly:
in the end, realizing it's still an adaptation of a board game, something that should never even been considered

Overall: 7.6/10


Seeing how Hollywood is trying to adapt everything they can into a movie, from toys to board games to even self-help books, it's inevitable that more stuff like Battleship is on the way. So, for all of you readers I pose the question, what's one toy or board game you think could actually be adapted well? 

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At September 1, 2012 at 8:14 PM , Blogger Bubbawheat said...

I love this movie too, but I do think that the entire first half is way too slow. But once things get moving, it's quite fun.

As for a board game that could be adapted well? Perfection! It's a tense bomb diffusing thriller where the protagonist has to get all the pieces into the correct position or else the bomb will explode! Not only that, but there's an attractive woman with a grave injury in the room with him and he has to keep her awake or she'll die! And they fall in love.

At September 1, 2012 at 8:20 PM , Blogger Nick said...

Perfect did (and still does) scare the living shit out of me. Whoever thought that game should exist needs to be locked away forever.

But brilliant idea! The Hurt Locker meets Saw lol.

At September 1, 2012 at 11:03 PM , Blogger TheVern said...

Clue works because we like these characters. We are interested in what happens to them in this story. Unlike other board or video game adaptations where all we get is just the premise and nothing else.

Great review. I myself prefer the theatrical version with the random ending rather than the VHS version with all 3. What do you prefer?

At September 1, 2012 at 11:17 PM , Blogger Nick said...

I like the random but then I always end up watching the others anyway lol.

At September 2, 2012 at 6:42 PM , Blogger Sati. said...

I used to love the game when I was younger, didn't even know they made a movie. Great review!

At September 2, 2012 at 8:25 PM , Blogger Nick said...

You'd love the movie!


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