Movie Review: Clue (1985)

September 4, 2012

If it isn’t obvious, today’s review is a bit of a departure from the bad horror movies which usually grace this blog. The decision to watch and subsequently review Clue happened on Twitter, of all places, after it was made clear to me on Sunday that my not having seen this film was a gross injustice. So is that true? Is not watching Clue a gross injustice of the tallest order? Read on to find out!

Set in a New England mansion in 1954, Clue surrounds eight guests at a dinner party who band together to solve the murder of their host. There’s just one big problem; each guest has a motive to murder, and no one can be trusted. Co-written by John Landis and Jonathan Lynn (whom also directed), Clue is a movie based on the board game of the same name — stop me if you’ve heard that one before! Actually, this is the first ever board game-based movie, so the concept was new to anyone alive when it was released in 1985.

The casting decisions are nothing short of perfect, as every actor honed their character. Tim Curry as the sneaky butler Wadsworth and Christopher Lloyd as the curious Professor Plum… Lesley Ann Warren as the seducing Miss Scarlet and Martin Mull as the oddly wealthy Colonel Mustard… Eileen Brennan as Mrs. Peacock the senator’s wife and Madeline Kahn as the stone cold Mrs. White… with Michael McKean as the gay Mr. Green and Colleen Camp as Yvette, the French maid who wasn’t in the room.

All perfect.

It’s hard to say enough about Curry inparticular, however. The guy is the most entertaining thing about every movie he stars in, but he’s outright wild in Clue. I won’t give anything away, but the final scenes of this film are hilarious, explicitly thanks to Curry.

The story itself isn’t bad either. It certainly isn’t Oscar-worthy — it’s based off of a board game, c’mon. But I’d wager that if you had no knowledge of Clue originating as a board game (and if the opening credits didn’t read “Based on the Parker Brother’s board game”), you’d assume this is an outright original, entertaining film. The source material is taken and ran with, and doesn’t need aliens or anything of the sort to work as a movie.

Frankly, Clue is the most enjoyable movie I’ve seen in a long time. Credit to Landis and Lynn, this film is an almost passionate recreation of the board game it’s based on. If you’re at all familiar with Clue the game (Cluedo to the world outside of USA), you will be entertained. It’s almost hard to describe, but to me, watching this movie evoked the same feelings playing the board game did. It’s like watching the events which I oversaw so many times as a kid, unfold with real people.

I can’t guess how you’ll approach Clue the movie if you haven’t played the board game, but what I do know is that it probably won’t be nostalgic if you haven’t. Nevertheless, Clue is very entertaining and I don’t think you need to have played the board game to get a kick out of the movie — Tim Curry makes sure of that. It’s available to stream on Netflix as of this writing and, as always, I’m sure that you can find it elsewhere. See this one.

By the way, if you’re on Twitter, follow me and tell me whether you have or haven’t seen Clue, and I’ll add you to one of my two Clue lists. The goal is to unite the people who like the movie, and make people who haven’t seen it interested in seeing it.

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