Story analysis time (ft spoilers for the 1985 Clue movie)! Woo! The story I chose to work with for this week was the 1985 Clue movie. I was scrolling through Showtime’s (pretty pitiful, if I do say so myself) collection of 1980’s movies, and, having just watched Knives Out, was in a murder mystery mood (say that three times fast!). Clue was a comedy, and looking at it from a digital storytelling perspective is super interesting.
For example, one of the biggest and most interesting about the 1985 Clue movie was that there are three different endings. Streaming it in the present day, the movie shows the viewers all three endings, but in theatres, audiences at specific showings were only shown one of the three, so the film’s ending depended on where and when you saw the movie. This is such a cool idea, and I’m kind of shocked it didn’t catch on. It’s such an interesting take on digital storytelling and frankly I’m upset that I don’t get to experience that. Especially in this more modern age, I feel like it would be even easier to create multiple endings; although I suppose the news cycle and social media and whatnot would make keeping the secrecy alive a little bit harder. Alas yorick I just think that would be so cool. But in regards to digital storytelling, that truly is such a hot take on films and how films could be, like a choose your own adventure except you don’t choose and also don’t know that its a choose your own adventure. Am I the only one who thinks that’s cool as hell? I’ve gotta know!
The movie kind of flopped as far as reviews go, but from what I can tell it wasn’t because of the secret endings thing, it was mostly issues with the plot in general being a little slow moving and pointless. I think, unfortunately, that’s likely the reason that sort of thing isn’t done more, because the movie flopped and now directors and producers and writers are too scared to try out that technique.
One thing that I liked less about the film was some of the characters, which is kind of an integral part of storytelling (as explained in this reading). A lot of the characters, especially the ladies, were quite flat, and none of them really had any sort of character arc. Maybe I’m expecting too much from a 1985 comedy, but there was just one too many camera pans to Yvette’s (the Very Sexy maid in a Skimpy Outfit that I’m uncomfortable actually embedding a photo of on this blog so if you care, Here’s a pic and Here’s a gif). Like I suppose it isn’t That Bad, but that plus her characterization as a ditz who never knew what was going on, plus the men of the group obviously ogling her and angling to be alone with her just wasn’t it for me. The rest of the characters were fine, but not really anything special. Wadsworth was kind of fun, but only really at the end.
As far as plot goes, it was definitely an Interesting shape. Here’s my interpretation:
which is certainly not one of the popular shapes that Kurt Vonnegut covered in the video. Its novel and new, but that obviously didn’t work out in its favor. Regarding the origins of comedy and tragedy, this low key follows the tragic order more. Simplified, in ye old ancient times, tragedies went order to chaos and comedies went from chaos to order. And this certainly went from okay to bad to just so much worse.
Overall, I think the funky plot structure plus the poor characters kind of set this movie up for failure, which is super unfortunate because the triple ending thing is SO COOL and now we’ll probably never get one of those of our own because Clue didn’t do too hot. Also, I really might be harshing on Clue too much or expecting more out of it than I should. On my part probably not the best movie choice because I’m kind of predisposed to Not Comedies, and this definitely wasn’t my kind of film. Not horrific though. Will not watch again, but am not upset that I did watch it.
à toute à l’heure! -liz