Child's Play - 4K Blu-ray Review

Michael Scott

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Child's Play


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Movie: :2.5stars:
4K Video: :4.5stars:
Video: :4.5stars:
Audio: :4.5stars:
Extras: :3.5stars:
Final Score: :3.5stars:




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Movie

As a horror/slasher fan I grew up watching all of the Chucky movies from beginning to end, and no matter how horrible the movie was, I ended up enjoying the snot out of 7 films with Brad Dourif. It was one of my childhood guilty pleasures to stay up late at night and watch an HBO special of the first 3 films, and when have owned the series no less than 3 different times, especially the first film. While I’m not big on modern remakes these days (seriously, they’re even trying to remake Ferris Bueller’s Day off), but I have a massive amount of respect for Mark Hamill’s voice acting ability ever since he iconicized the Joker back in the 90s, and with his involvement as the voice of Chucky I was willing to give it a shot. I mean, I’ve chocked down The Bride of Chucky, and The Seed of Chucky, so I should at least be able to enjoy the remake. Well, my first trip to the theater I ended up HATING the film’s direction, and swore I’d never get one ounce of enjoyment out of it. But as these things go, after sitting down with the Blu-ray and letting go of some of my preconceptions, I actually ended up kind of liking parts of the film (as awful as the movie itself is as a whole).

In this film franchise, the Buddi doll isn’t just a doll. It’s a whole AI system, like a moving Alexa system on steroids, made by the Kaslan corporation. Said doll watches you while it sleeps, acts as a nanny cam, and is a sort of “buddy” to your children. The film opens up with a sweat shop worker in Vietnam getting fired from the Kaslan plant, and before he throws himself out of the window with nothing left to live for, he takes the operating system for this one Buddi doll and deletes all of the safety subroutines, with the doll unsuspectingly getting shipped off to the united states.

Back here in the good old US of A, Andy Barclay (Gabriel Bateman) and his mother Karen (Aubrey Plaza) have just moved to a new apartment, and are trying to make do the best they can. Karen being a single mother is struggling to make ends meet at the local big box store, and when she sees a returned Buddi doll going to be trashed, she swipes it and brings it home in hopes of Cheering up Andy for Christmas. Andy isn’t too thrilled about having a child’s doll at his age, but reluctantly agrees to start up the doll and see how it works. All’s good at first, but when Andy notices that his doll is making some semi intelligent decisions he gets a bit scared and excited. He’s now got a little buddy that he can be friends with, but it’s not until Chucky (what Andy named the Buddi doll) starts to learn and adapt in a surprisingly savage way that Andy realizes that he may be in over his head.

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Chucky’s simple desire to please Andy turns violent when the young teen inadvertently lets loose a sobbing desire to see his jerk of a cat and jackass of a boyfriend to his mother vanish. Suddenly Chucky’s little quirks are no longer so harmless, as the doll, in his effort to please his master, decides to take some rather lethal methods in cheering Andy up. Now Andy can’t get rid of the doll, as every where he turns Chucky is showing back up in his life, and it’s not going to be long before the doll gets tired of being thrown away and makes Andy’s closest loved ones his next targets.

I was kind of torn with the direction that they took the movie. Brad Dourif was such an iconic voice actor for Chucky that it’s hard to see the doll without thinking of the raspy serial killer’s voice. However, Hamill does a great job with making Chucky sort of innocent and evil at the same time. The tones and inflections work magic and he’s easily the best part of the whole production. Sadly, they also changed up Chucky’s back story in order to modernize it. Instead of having this evil serial killer’s soul inside of a doll’s body via voodoo magic, it’s an artificial intelligence that is just learning. Without this safety subroutine Chucky is able to grow and adapt in his desire to be Andy’s friend. It’s just that without a soul his methods of gaining Andy’s friendship is decidedly twisted and dark, leading up to some grisly kill scenes (which are actually pretty mediocre for the most part).

As I said, Hamill is KING with Child’s Play 2019. He dominates the screen, although Bateman does a good job as Andy. He’s a better actor, and he’s got better motivations in this movie than the old Andy. Aubrey Plaza does really well as Karen, although it’s shocking to me to see Aubrey as an older mother figure. But at the same time, I shouldn’t be surprised as she’s in her mid to late 30s, putting her right at that age bracket. It’s just that I’m so used to her being the mid 20s goofball from Parks and Rec that it was a bit of a shock at first. I would have liked some gorier kills, and the social commentary got a bit old. The film laid it on pretty thick and heavy about the pitfalls of letting technology rule your life, and it was pretty blatant from the get go. Personally I like the evil serial killer routine rather than the AI, as Chucky was almost sympathetic at times, and it didn’t always play well with the latter half of the movie where Chucky goes full evil in his quest.




Rating:

Rated R for bloody horror violence, and language throughout




4K Video: :4.5stars: Video: :4.5stars:
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Advertised as a brand new 4K remaster (and also supposedly a 4K restoration, though I’m not really sure just WHY a 4.5 year old film would need a RESTORATION) Child’s Play gets a nice upgrade over the already fantastic looking Blu-ray from MGM a few years back. Everything is simply “better” thanks to the native 4K master (I’m guessing they needed to do a remaster due to MGM mastering it in 2K back around 2019), with fantastic digital clarity, some really wonderful use of colors, and really deep colors thanks to the Dolby Vision application. The cinematography lends itself towards the darker tones, with deep shadows and Chucky popping out of said shadows in a flurry of blue and red. Yeah, Child’s Play 2019 already had a great looking Blu-ray, and this 4K UHD disc simply ups the ante a bit and makes it all the more polished on big screens.








Audio: :4.5stars:
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It appears that Shout Studios/Scream Factory have chosen to simply port over the 5.1 mix from the Blu-ray release a few years back, thus my subsequent analysis will be the same as it was back in 2019.


Child’s Play’s 5.1 DTS-HD MA track is about as good as the stellar video quality is, giving us exactly what we want in a horror movie track. The mix is foreboding and chock full of bass, lighting up the low end with constant thunder strikes, slamming doors, scary score downbeats and the chaos that ensues when Chucky goes in for another kill. Surrounds are used quite actively, with the crashing and smashing coming form all angles. Little things, like the scrape of a footstep in the warehouse, or the whisper of Chucky as he patters across the floor in the rear, all add to the spooky ambiance. Dialog is crisp and clean like usual, and the mains are used to great effect. A few scenes get a bit front heavy, but other than those few scenes, this is a very dynamic and active mix that makes good use of all the channels at its disposal.













Extras: :3.5stars:
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Disc 1 - 4K UHD
• Audio Commentary With Director Lars Klevberg

Disc 2 - Blu-ray
• NEW "Beautiful Darkness" – Production Designer Dan Hermansen on Child's Play
• NEW "A New Start" – Actor Gabriel Bateman on Child's Play
• NEW "Head Of The Patch" – Actor David James Lewis on Child's Play
• Audio Commentary With Director Lars Klevberg
• The Making of Child's Play
• Bringing Child's Play's Chucky To Life
• Soundtrack Trailer
• Lee Hardcastle Claymations
• Gallery
• Theatrical Trailer














Final Score: :3.5stars:


As I said in my original Blu-ray Review back in 2019, I LOATHED the film when I saw it theatrically, but it got a bit better upon repeat viewings at home. That being said, it’s never going to be that high on the Chucky totem pole, and ranks one one of the lowest in the franchise outside of true abominations like Seed of Chucky. I do find it neat that Scream Factory got the rights from MGM to put out the 4K UHD release considering that they’ve released the original series on 4K and this completes the franchise on 4K. The new 4K release looks great, and is a nice upgrade over the Blu-ray, while the audio remains a direct port. The new extras are definitely appreciated, and if you’re a fan of the movie it’s definitely worth picking up. For most people I’d hesitate to full on recommend it, but for OCD collector’s like myself, it’s a no brainer due to the upgraded resolution.


Technical Specifications:

Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Mark Hamill, Gabriel Bateman, Tim Matheson, Brian Tyree Henry, Beatrice Kitsos, Trent Redekop, David Lewis, Ty Consiglio
Directed by: Lars Klevberg
Written by: Tyler Burton Smith (Screenplay), Don Mancini (Characters Based On)
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 HEVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, English DTS-HD MA 2.0
Sugtitles: English SDH
Studio: Scream Factory
Rated: R
Runtime: 90 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: March 19th, 2024
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Recommendation: Ok watch.

 
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Todd Anderson

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I'm totally Chucky ignorant. I think I saw the original back in the day, but, if I'm being honest, I didn't know that there were seven (now eight) follow ups. does the original hold up?
 

Michael Scott

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I'm totally Chucky ignorant. I think I saw the original back in the day, but, if I'm being honest, I didn't know that there were seven (now eight) follow ups. does the original hold up?

the original is a classic. Cheesy, but still awesome.
 

Todd Anderson

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Alright, I bought the original. I'll give it a watch!
 

Michael Scott

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no :hide:

Sounds like I need to remedy that
 

Michael Scott

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LOL… yes!

Well, actually, no…

The problem is I have too much home theater information in my brain AND I’m getting old. It’s a perfect storm of actually remembering less as I take in more!!!
 

Michael Scott

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LOL… yes!

Well, actually, no…

The problem is I have too much home theater information in my brain AND I’m getting old. It’s a perfect storm of actually remembering less as I take in more!!!

I guess we'll have to tweak your dementia meds doses... *sigh ;)
 
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