Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Revised- Clue: from board game to film

You have six suspects, one body. So, who's the killer? Was it Mr. Green with the lead pipe in the lounge or could it of been Miss Scarlet with the candle stick in the kitchen? No matter who actually is the mastermind behind the death of Mr. Body, one things for sure: Clue, the movie, does a great job transferring over to film the circumstances and elements that make the board game original and riveting. 

The Characters
In the board game we have the characters Mrs. Peacock, Colonel Mustard, Mr. Green, Professor Plum, Miss Scarlet, and Mrs. White.  An attribute of each of these characters is a specific color that makes their game piece recognizable. In the film, however, each character (although in deed having an article of clothing / item of the color from their board game piece) has a deep and rich backstory.  This backstory acts the same way as the game piece color.  It makes the specific character easily distinguishable. With this additional back story, the characters become more intricate and stronger possibilities for who killed Mr. Body. 

In the film version, there is an addition of three characters: The Butler, Yvette and The Cook. They were all a delight to watch (because they were each just so darn quirky!) but additionally they all aided in the telling of the story. The Butler is a constant aspect throughout the story- almost like a reflection of us, the audience, as players. When playing the board game there is always the possibility that you are the killer (but just don't know it!) As we watch The Butler "help" the 6 guests, there is always the possibility in the back of our heads that he is indeed the killer. 

The Locations
In the board game we have the kitchen, dining room, lounge, ballroom, hall, conservatory, billiard room, library, and study. The film version contains practically all of these locations. The best representation of this board game-like feeling is exhibited in the alternate endings when the butler goes through a step-by-step break down of how all the murders played out.  He, along with the suspects, frantically run from room to room, clearly paralleling their hectic nature to that of the game.

Alternate Endings
In the board game there are many possibilities for who committed the murder, what object, and where. The masterminds behind the film version were witty enough to transfer this ambiguity over to the story version by giving us three possible endings.  These endings were screened at various theaters, therefore making the audience practically a player themselves.

I personally found 2 of the 3 possible endings to be a joke. They were just flat out uneventful and felt like a waste of my time. Part of this is probably because this film is not at all a true mystery: although they are trying to "figure out" who the killer is, they never actually find specific clues that could possibly pertain to one character- thus, the ending can easily be swapped out. Anyhow, the one ending that did work was the most absurd of the bunch: we find out that Professor Plum is an undercover spy who was sent on a mission. Wonderful ending in my opinion! 

The genre/feeling conveyed through the aesthetics of the board game is seemingly that of a mystery. However, the true nature of a board game, is that of fun which in turn is transferable to the genre of comedy.  Therefore it is not surprising when we find the genre of the film that of a comedic mystery.

All in all, the film version of Clue does a great job capturing the essence of the board game. 

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