The number of weapons has gone up from six to nine, although missing are the lead pipe, revolver and wrench. In their place are a pistol, dumbbell, trophy, poison, bat and axe (the candlestick, knife and rope made the cut). The nine rooms have changed as well. There is no longer a ballroom, library or conservatory. Now clues can be searched in the hall, guest house, dining room, kitchen, patio, spa, theater, living room and observatory.
But the biggest changes occurred with the characters. Their last names stayed the same, but they’ve added first names and updated their bios. Miss Scarlet, for example, is now Cassandra Scarlet, a starlet who is always appearing in the tabloids. Mr. Green is now Jacob Green, an African-American “with all the ins,” whatever that means. Professor Plum, the character I generally picked because of his obvious intelligence, scholarship and book-loving nature, is now Victor Plum, a billionaire video game designer who I now consider the anti-Plum. Each character also has a special power that can be used to influence the game. In other words, this is Clue for mutants.
It’s a sad world when armchair detectives are no longer allowed to guess Mrs. Peacock in the library with the lead pipe. Eleanor in the spa with an axe sounds more like a scene from “Scream” than Clue.
G.I. Joe, another Hasbro giant, is now starring in a big-budget Hollywood movie, “G.I.Joe: The Rise of Cobra,” although the reviews suggest he should stick to plastics. The words of Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers are typical:
I don’t know what to say about the acting, writing and directing in “G.I. Joe” because I couldn’t find any.
Pawtucket-born G.I. Joe was created in 1964 as a boy alternative to the girl Barbie doll craze. But calling G.I. Joe a military doll didn’t sit well with Joe Q. Public, so he became the first “action figure” and the icon for every moveable man sealed in cardboard to come. Standing just shy of 12 inches and known as “America’s Moveable Fighting Man,” Joe was a hit in the mid-Sixties, but suffered a slump in the late Sixties and early Seventies in part because of the increasing unpopularity of the Vietnam War. So he left the military to lead an “Adventure Team,” and during the Me Decade he evolved both Kung-Fu Grip and Eagle Eye vision. Over the years, G.I. Joe shrank to about 3 ¾ inches. He is now more popular than ever, starring in movies, graphic novels and toy stores worldwide, and in the ultimate sign of global success, finding himself in bizarre headlines across the continents. They include:
Austrian G.I. Joe Turns Into G.I. Jane
For those who aren’t going to read the link, apparently a soldier stationed in Gratkorn, Austria had a sex change operation, much to the confusion of his unit. One of the other soldiers in the barracks summed it up:
He left the building a man and returned as a woman. We find it rather strange.
Sienna Miller Burned Cleavage During G.I. Joe Film Shoot
In her words:
Luckily it wasn’t my breasts, it was the bit in-between…you know, ‘G.I. Joe,’ it’s not going to be the best acting work we’ve ever done.
Before he was a doll man, G.I. Joe earned fame as an American homing pigeon that carried a message to a European village during World War II in advance of a German attack and is credited with saving more than 1000 troops. G.I. Joe was one of 32 pigeons to receive the Dickin Medal for gallantry and bravery in saving human lives. He retired to the Detroit Zoo. After his death, he was mounted and is now on display at Fort Monmouth, N.J.
A recent British study revealed that most Barbie dolls end up dismembered. No similar study has been commissioned to determine the percentage of G.I. Joes that get blown up in firecracker explosions, but the anecdotal evidence is overwhelming.
This week’s question: What is your favorite board game or childhood toy?