Clue and Coriolanus

Still easing my way back into writing these things, so excuse another micro-review. However, we do have a first for MHMR: a movie I could not get beyond the thirty-minute mark! Was it just so awful I couldn’t sit through it? Surprisingly, no. So what happened? That’s for later, but first, a Clue.

A group of strangers—or are they?—are summoned to an ominous house for a dinner party. Upon arrival, each guest is given a fake name and kept in the dark about the upcoming events for the evening. With the help of the trusty butler, Wadsworth (Tim Curry), the oddball crew discovers that the same person has blackmailed each player. A murder ensues, along with a mockery of the whodunit genre worthy of praise.


Where Battleship failed to bring a board game to the big screen, Clue succeeded in every respect. It brings humor, intrigue, wordplay (a butler who buttles? Who knew?) and we get Christopher Lloyd, Martin Mull and Curry in their primes (really, Tim Curry is amazing in this movie). What more could you ask for? Personally, I’d ask for a little less Mrs. Peacock (Eileen Brennan), but that’s simply because the character is annoying.

Clue is essentially the comedy you can watch a hundred times and still find a new joke every time. There is so much going on in the background and dialog that you really can’t catch it all in one go. Not to mention the plethora of great characters. The bubbling anger of Mrs. White (Madeline Kahn), the neurosis of Mr. Green (Michael McKean) and the in your face attitude of Miss Scarlet (Lesley Ann Warren)—or Yvette, but in a different way—keep you laughing and guessing who could be the murderer.

The way in which they include the weapons is truly ingenious as each character is given a corresponding weapon to enact their revenge on Mr. Boddy, the blackmailer. Honestly, if it weren’t for the incessant shrieking and moaning of Mrs. Peacock, Clue would be in my A category. If you haven’t seen it, watch it. If you have, watch it again.

Trailer: here


Now for the film I couldn’t finish: Coriolanus. Before you chastise me, read all the way through. Since I didn’t get to the meat of the plot, here’s the IMDB summary: A banished hero of Rome allies with a sworn enemy to take revenge on the city.

Grade: N/A

Ralph Fiennes stars and debuts as director for this modern-day take on a Shakespearean play. With modern technologies, warfare, media, politics and more, everything was set up for this film to be great. Ralph Fiennes is intense as ever and ready to show his alpha-male persona as Caius Martius Coriolanus.

The one thing that really stuck out as being excellent about the portion of the film I saw was the sound. Everything is crystal clear: the gravel crunching under the feet of an angry mod; Gerard Butler, as Tullus Aufidius, grinding sand between his fingers; the pop of distant bullets in a wartorn city as Ralph Fiennes shouts orders to his men. It really brings you into the movie and allows you to engage in the events on screen…until they talk.

They adapted everything to modern times…except the language. Everyone speaks in Shakespearean English. Maybe I am simply an uncultured buffoon, but I had enough trouble slowly reading Shakespeare in high school, so listening to Ralph Fiennes scream it at me while firing bullets or bleeding profusely does not make this interpretation of script any easier. Beyond the trouble understanding what is happening, the language simply doesn’t fit and it undermines all the progress the sound editing and visuals had done in the first place.

The English language is constantly evolving for a reason. We have to adapt to new situations and styles every day, which results in an ever-expanding and ever-changing dictionary. Thus, rehashing centuries old language and throwing it into modern usage—especially in a political context where most language is already not of English origin—doesn’t make sense.

If the writers for this Coriolanus had decided to translate the Shakespearean play into modern English, the film could really have garnered some positive press, in my opinion. Instead, we are stuck with a visually striking and emotive film that is made incomprehensible by the dialog. Mixing genres has always been a troubling task, and Coriolanus is simply stuck between two conflicting worlds…or times.

Trailer: here

If you did finish this, please sound off in the comments. I am curious how it was received in its entirety.

  1. September 27th, 2012

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