Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Clue

Lowdown: The board game’s movie version.
Review:
Isn’t if funny to realize the movie studios were desperate for ideas for a while now, desperate enough to base a film on a board game way back in 1985? Yes, Clue is based on the famous board game that is even more famous in Australia as Cluedo (probably because of some stupid copyright issue). As its premises might hint, Clue is a very silly film; not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Clue takes place in a secluded New England mansion during the fifties. A group of rather peculiar personalities is invited one stormy night to the mansion. They’re not allowed to identify themselves by their real names, so instead they’re allocated with the board game’s famous names (Col Mustard, Mrs Peacock, etc). Quickly enough we learn that all the invitees have something in common: they’re all being blackmailed by their host for the evening; the evening’s purpose then becomes exposing the blackmailer to the police, only that quickly enough the blackmailer is found dead. From then on the rest of the film is a quest to identify the killer as the various characters roam around the mansion making fools of themselves.
The most important thing to note about Clue as a murder mystery is that it is far from the Agatha Christie type thing. That is, this is not another case of a film where the clues where right there in front of us all the time and it takes a Poirot genius to connect the dots. Instead, Clue is just a roller coaster of characters making fools of themselves and a collection of rather silly jokes, at the end of which anyone and everyone can be your killer. Indeed, that is exactly the case in Clue, as in a flash of brilliance the film offers three consecutive alternate endings, all of which similarly plausible.
So is there a drama in the air? Well, personally, the biggest drama Clue has supplied me was the realization, upon reading the closing credits, that the Miss Scarlet character was not portrayed by Susan Sarandon the way I was thinking all along (a theory supported by the abundance of familiar names such as Christopher Lloyd and Tim Curry). Instead, Scarlett was portrayed by a rather mysterious actress called Lesley Ann Warren. Upon realizing my mistake it became pretty evident as I re-watched a couple of movie scenes, demonstrating once again that the human brain has a tendency to see what it wants to see.
Anyway, back to my original question: No, Clue does not provide its viewers with shocking dramas. There is no character development to talk about and no new grounds in the art of movie making are being broken; instead, the emphasis is on silly humor, bordering on the slapstick, with jokes familiar from old British TV series that would never make it into contemporary cinema – cleavage based jokes and gay jokes. All in all, Clue seems like a very British attempt to replicate silent movie comedies.
Picture quality: Heavily compressed, devoid of detail, with artifacts aplenty. Pretty bad, in short.
Sound quality: A compressed mono delight.
Overall: Pretty silly, but oddly enough still somewhat entertaining if an hour and a half of innocent brain relaxation is what you’re after. 2 out of 5 stars.

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