Anthony's Film Review

Clue (1985)

The suspense comedy here will keep you guessing and laughing...

To me, there is no such thing as stupid source for a film adaptation. Just because a movie is based on something other than a book, play, television show, or other common source of entertainment doesn't automatically mean it will be bad. If anything, it presents a unique challenge that can be worthwhile if done right. The important thing is that the movie works well. So I could care less if a movie were based on a children's toy brand, video game, cartoon cereal mascot, a series of TV commercials, a circus troupe, or pretty much anything else I have not mentioned here, no matter how silly it sounds. Just give me an entertaining movie and I'm a happy guy.

The 1985 mystery-comedy film Clue, based on the Parker Brothers board game of the same name, is no exception to this. And I'm proud to say that this movie is not bad. In fact, it's a good one. Imagine if legendary mystery author Agatha Christie were also a comedy film screenwriter, and she writes a story that is equally brilliant as a murder mystery and as a comedy. That's what this movie is: a fun, fast-paced one-and-a-half-hour romp that will have you guessing and laughing. I should warn you, though, that you may do a lot more laughing than guessing, so murder mystery enthusiasts who like to try solving a case themselves while following a mystery story might struggle to keep up with this one.

As you can imagine, the cast of characters in this movie is primarily based on the fictional characters of the board game: Wadsworth (Tim Curry), Mrs. Peacock (Eileen Brennan), Professor Plum (Christopher Lloyd), Mrs. White (Madeline Kahn), Colonel Mustard (Martin Mull), Mr. Green (Michael McKean), Miss Scarlet (Lesley Ann Warren), Yvette (Colleen Camp), and Mr. Boddy (Lee Ving). They all convene at a mansion, because most of the characters received a mysterious letter inviting them to this place, with a purpose not yet revealed. The beginning of this movie provides the character introduction as well as the setup. Right after that, a character is murdered. And the fun begins.

Part of the humor comes from the fact that the main characters do not appear to have the sleuth mindset. At least not anywhere close to the mind of Sherlock Holmes. So the characters spend plenty of time acting scared, accusing each other, and running around rather than stopping to really think the problems through. I say "problems" because there is more than one. That's right. Over the course of the movie, a few more people get killed unexpectedly, so ultimately, there are multiple whodunits to figure out. (In the game Clue, players are also required to identify the murder location and weapon, in order to officially declare, "It was (the murderer) in the (location) with the (weapon)." But those two elements are immediately obvious as the murder victims are discovered, so there aren't really any wheredunits or howdunits to worry about.)

The movie gets increasingly more amusing and energetic as time goes on. There is one very funny scene where certain characters find clever ways to conceal the corpses and all signs of murder and death, and I don't mean hiding them entirely from the view of unexpected visitors. Eventually, after more mayhem, the movie arrives at the climax where one character explains the detailed deductive reasoning to reveal the murderer. But this isn't done as traditional mystery stories do, with everyone sitting in a room on a dark and stormy night as the sleuth delivers the revelations in a serious manner. In Clue, the characters are running around as the explanation is delivered at a frantic pace. Oh, and there are three endings for this movie. When this movie originally hit theaters, viewers saw only one of the three endings depending on which theater they went to. But now you can see all three endings in a row, which are all great, though the third ending is still the best one.

Clue is definitely a delightful fun movie. The writers certainly live up to the title, demonstrating that they know what they're doing when crafting an engaging story, not being clueless about it. And the cast members... wow, they are great in this movie, especially Tim Curry who is quite funny showing a range of emotions, from nervousness and seriousness to surprise and excitement. After seeing this movie, I think I would have a lot more fun playing the board game. If anyone asks why I seem so excited about the game, I would answer, "It was the cast in the movie Clue with the memorable performances."

Anthony's Rating:

For more information about Clue, visit the Internet Movie Database.


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