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Ultra HD : Recommended
Ranking:
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Release Date: December 12th, 2023 Movie Release Year: 1985

Clue - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

Overview -

Before video game adaptations were even an idea, there were board game adaptations with Clue: The Movie! Taking a stab at the ever-popular whodunit mystery genre, writer/director Jonathan Lynn captured the essence of the classic Parker Bros (or Waddingtons in the UK) game while spinning the genre on its heels for a hilarious satire. With an incredible ensemble cast the film is comedy gold and now fans can enjoy it in 4K! With a new Dolby Vision transfer, great audio, and finally some brand new bonus features, Shout gives fans a murderously delightful treat this holiday season. Recommended

Six blackmail victims are invited to an isolated mansion by a man who knows a dark secret from each of their pasts. On arrival, each is given a pseudonym drawn from Cluedo before being introduced to the blackmailer. Each is handed a weapon, at which point the lights are switched off and the blackmailer is killed. Can the guests uncover the murderer before they all become victims?

OVERALL:
Recommended
Rating Breakdown
STORY
VIDEO
AUDIO
SPECIAL FEATURES
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
4K Ultra HD Blu-ray + Blu-ray
Video Resolution/Codec:
Dolby Vision HDR / HDR10
Length:
97
Aspect Ratio(s):
1.85:1
Audio Formats:
English: DTS-HD MA 2.0
Subtitles/Captions:
English SDH
Release Date:
December 12th, 2023

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take

Ranking:

“Oh, whoever it is, they gotta go away or they'll be killed!”

Film fans have long been plagued by one particular hypothetical scenario - if you’re trapped on a deserted island and can only bring ten movies with you, what would you bring? If you have a collection that numbers in the thousands of titles, that’s a hard one to answer. I mean, how does one distill their collection down to less than one-one-hundredth of a percent? Right off the bat, I’d have to bring favorite Westerns like For a Few Dollars More and Rio Bravo. For Horror, I would need Night of the Living Dead. But for comedy, of all the films that make me laugh, I know I have to have the cult classic box office flop Clue: The Movie. Sure there are better comedies out there, and I would probably bring one or two of them too, but this one would make the trip because it has always made me laugh hysterically. 

If you’ve played the game, there’s no real need for a plot introduction. Given the three alternate endings of the film, there’s no clean way to even explain the plot beyond some basics. But here goes: Dutiful butler Wadsworth (Tim Curry) is charged with preparing a dinner party at Hill House by his employer Mr. Body (A dubbed-over Lee Ving). Invited are a whose who of elites guarded only by their aliases Colonel Mustard (Martin Mull), Mrs. Peacock (Eileen Brennen), Mrs. White (Madeline Khan), Professor Plum (Christopher Lloyd), Mr. Green (Michael McKean), and Miss Scarlet (Lesley Ann Warren). Serving the guests this evening are the maid Yvette (Colleen Camp) and the cook Mrs. Ho (Kelly Nakahara). Before the main course is even fully consumed, a dastardly murder will take place forcing these guests to figure out when, where, and with what instrument of death the crime was committed. 

Now, this isn’t the first time the classic “whodunit” mystery genre was satirized. Robert Moore and Neil Simon joined forces for the also intensely hilarious Murder By Death in 1976. Rather than using a board game for inspiration, that film turned its attention towards the famous detectives and hard-boiled gumshoes in books and classic noir films. It also starred Eileen Brennen in an equally funny performance. It’s a great film, and I’d be hard-pressed not to bring it along on my extended stay in beachfront isolation, but I do have to cop to Clue being the nostalgic favorite.

Like any great 80s comedy, it’s the cast that makes this ridiculous film work. While Tim Curry is often the one working overtime delivering most of the deadpan comedy, everyone in the film gets at minimum one moment to shine. Or if it’s Eileen Brennen, any time she screams in horror. It’s a true ensemble film where every actor cast played their role perfectly and would probably be a very different film without them. From one setup to the next, every joke lands. Even running gags like various people sniffing the air around Tim Curry's soiled shoes still makes me laugh and I’ve seen this film countless times since I was a kid. 

Making this film even more unique was the three alternate endings. I’ve never had the opportunity to see this in the theater, but I loved the idea that if you went multiple times you could see a uniquely different conclusion. That all changed on home video with the more common version that runs all three endings since it fits the game's standard for multiple possible outcomes. That’s usually the version I opt for these days, but every now and again it’s fun to let the disc choose an ending at random. Each is funny and each gives a wildly different conclusion. If it’s a dark and stormy night, or if you’ve had a bad day and need a laugh, or if you just don’t know what else to turn on - Clue will always entertain. And if I am going to be stuck on a deserted island, I’m going to need the laugh after failing to speer a fish, source clean water, make a fire, or build a sustainable shelter. 



Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
I suspect it was Clue on 4K UHD with a two-disc release from Shout Select. The 4K version is pressed on a BD-100 disc with a BD-50 severing up the 1080p edition and the bonus features. Both discs are housed in a standard black case with an identical slipcover. The discs load to static image main menus with basic navigation options.

Video Review

Ranking:

While Clue may not have been a financial success at the box office, the cult following ensured that at the very least it looked pretty good on home video. From DVD to Blu-ray and now to 4K, each release looks great with each format offering up modest but appreciable improvements. This edition was reportedly sourced from a brand new 4K scan of the negative now with Dolby Vision HDR with a slight reframing to the proper aspect ratio. While the film may not be the most complicated visually, the added resolution yields some welcome new details. For starters, I was most impressed with how much clearer and cleaner fine details and textures are. Mrs. Peacock’s outfit is a particular standout with all of the frills, fluff, and feathers. Facial features look cleaner and clearer than ever and film grain maintains a fine appealingly cinematic appearance. Some soft shots persist, but they’ve always been there. Likewise any optical effects or the occasional reaction shot that looks to have been an optical zoom can see some fluctuations in clarity and graininess, but nothing too severe or distracting. 

Dolby Vision HDR maintains primaries offering extra refinements while also maintaining the film’s more warm brown and darker appeal. Skin tones look more healthy and naturally human than before without looking peached or pinked. I always thought the last Paramount Blu-ray the cast could look too ashy or sickly. Black levels are greatly improved here largely helping Madeline Kahn’s Mrs. White and her pitch-black dress. Past discs would lose her in the dark shadows so she’d end up looking like a floating head, that’s not an issue here. The image also has a more notable feel for three-dimensional depth, especially when the cast squeezes into a tight frame to answer or a door or view a crime scene. Perhaps not the most visually stunning example of what 4K can offer, but this is easily the best presentation I’ve ever seen for the film.

Audio Review

Ranking:

On the audio side, this release stays true to what’s always worked - the same DTS-HD MA 2.0 mono track. While a full-bore 5.1 track might be an interesting listen, this mono track has always sounded great. The dialog is clean and clear. Key sound effects get plenty of attention - especially if it’s for a good laugh. John Morris’ score still sounds great mixing in traditional horror/suspense and comedic motifs with an interesting range of instrumentation.

Special Features

Ranking:

In a first for any release of this film (that I'm aware of at least) - there are actual bonus features for Clue! Since the old days of Laserdisc and DVD, there haven’t been any extra features cultivated for this cult classic comedy. Granted it was a flop so usually when that happens the studio does the barest minimum squeaking the film on disc. Thankfully Shout fixed that problem with a trio of interesting retrospective interviews. Hearing from director Jonathan Lynn and producer Jeffrey Chernov are real treats. They may be Zoom-styled interviews juxtaposed with clips and stills from the film, but they’re welcome additions just for the insights into making the film. Film music historian Daniel Schweiger’s discussion about John Morris’ score and his career is also a nice companion piece as well. At about an hour of content, this is pretty great, but I still highly recommend Clue fans get out there and pick up ETR Media’s Blu-ray of Who Done It? - it’s a very fun fan-made documentary that really is the first true bonus feature ever made for this film. 

Blu-ray Disc

  • The Perfect Motive: Directing Clue - Interview with Jonathan Lynn (HD 27:47)
  • Scene of the Crime: Producing Clue - Interview with Jeffrey Chernov (HD 22:04)
  • Not Just a Game: Scoring Clue - Interview with Historian Daniel Schweiger (HD 9:07)
  • Original Trailer 

If you’ve made it this far and haven’t inferred that I love Clue, I don’t know what more to say here. If you're not a fan, I mean, that's fine, but we might not be able to be friends (just kidding, but seriously what's wrong with you?). I played the board game relentlessly as a kid and ever since a fateful turn of the television dial, I’ve been a huge fan of the film. I’ve owned this film many times over now in a variety of formats. Even with that constant accessibility, any time I saw Clue was on TV or cable I’d gleefully tune in like it was some kind of unique novelty. Now on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, I happily threw more bucks at owning the film again. With a fresh new transfer and Dolby Vision HDR, this is the best I’ve seen it. it's not the flashiest of 4K films out there, but a welcome addition to the collection nonetheless. The audio might not have changed, but there’s never really been a need to do that. Best of all for this release, we actually see some bonus features come to life! The new interviews are great and worth the time, but make sure you grab a copy of Who Done It? so your Clue The Movie collection is truly complete. Recommended