“Clue” is a quintessential piece of any household’s board game cabinet. However, it’s not essential to the average homeowner’s movie library – but perhaps that’s about to change.
The classic mystery game was first introduced in the 1949, becoming an instant classic and spawning several books, games and a feature film.
Although an initial flop at the box office, the 1985 film “Clue” became a cult classic due to its multiple endings and deadpan debauchery. After 31 years, 20th Century Fox will revive the franchise in a 2016 remake.
A&E columnists Nate Nickolai and Christi Carras discuss the potential for the “Clue” remake in this week’s “Love | Hate.”
“Mrs. Peacock was a man?”
One of the most infamous lines of the 1985 film “Clue,” the exclamation made by Mr. Green marks one of the film’s three surprise endings. Although filled with largely cheesy jokes and somewhat predictable plot points, the mystery endings embodied the goofiness of the film as a whole, launching it to cult classic status despite its inital failure.
However, no fans of the movie could have predicted a fourth surprise ending, or should I say beginning, in the film’s up-and-coming 2016 remake.
“Clue” failed in the box office for a reason: Its jokes are dry and the storyline is absurd. But over the years, fans have happily discovered humor in places it wasn’t meant to be found, such as the overly sexualized character of Yvette or Mr. Green’s secret agent status.
As a huge fan of the movie and board game, I’ve found that the film’s greatest strengths lie in the viewer’s ability to laugh at the movie, not solely at its jokes or plot, but at the sheer silliness of the entire premise – multiple undercover agents, an army colonel and an escort service owner all stuck together in a house with murder.
The grainy quality and old-fashioned lines of the ’80s film only get funnier with age, meaning viewers refrain from taking the film too seriously. In the same way, short-skirted maid costumes and obviously fake storm special effects have become similar strengths of the film, pulling out laughs at what would otherwise be a nonsensical plot filled with cheesy one-liners.
A remake of the film would only eliminate the very melodramatic qualities that have made it grow in popularity since its box office flop. Without the comedic effect of age, the “Clue” remake stands to tarnish the cult legacy of the film.
Modern effects, new characters and a revamped plot will leave behind the classic corniness of the original film, while a plot that stays true to the original “Clue” storyline is sure to disappoint due to the first film’s ridiculous plot.
Either way, my friends won’t catch me in the lounge with a bowl of popcorn watching it anytime soon.
— Nate Nickolai
“Clue” practically begged to be adapted to the screen, with an intriguing murder-mystery narrative already in place. Now its 1985 film adaptation is asking for a revamp – and 20th Century Fox will answer the call with promises for a similar, lovably hokey plot, but with opportunities for modern special effects and a racially diverse cast. As a supporter of the cult classic, I look forward to viewing the age-old story with some fresh film features and faces.
I consider “Clue” as well as the hilarious acting performances of cast members like Tim Curry and Madeline Kahn classic. But this high opinion is not shared by film critics of the 1980s, who panned the murder-mystery upon its release in 1985 for its supposedly confusing storyline.
Luckily for the 2016 remake, the self-aware comedy, the alternate endings and the quirky personalities are already present. Combine these redeeming qualities with advanced special effects and a hopefully more engaging plot that will offer audiences a better chance to guess the murderer, and 2016 audiences will flock to movie theaters, especially if the director elects to film alternate whodunnit endings.
Additionally, should the film choose to deviate from the white personalities in both the board game’s player cards and the 1985 film’s characters, like Mrs. Plum and Colonel Mustard, the 2016 live-action film has the potential to both increase its revenue and diversify its audience.
The undecided new cast can better reflect America’s demographic, but the Ralph J. Bunche Center’s 2016 Hollywood Diversity Report shows that on average, films with more diverse casts bring in more revenue at the box office, which could redeem the original’s box office flop.
If the 2016 filmmakers get it right, memorable scenes from the first – like Wadsworth’s comical murder reenactment and the killer testimonials – will be more even more visually captivating. I will join the hordes of original fans in search of nostalgia, original haters in search of an improvement and all original board game enthusiasts in search of an immersive murder-mystery experience in theaters.
— Christi Carras