Michael Scott

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Child's Play


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Movie: :2.5stars:
Video: :4.5stars:
Audio: :4.5stars:
Extras: :2.5stars:
Final Score: :3stars:



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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




Video: :4.5stars:
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Shot using the typical Arri Alexa cameras and finished at (what can only be assumed) a 2K digital master, Child’s Play’s 2.39:1 framed Blu-ray encode is probably the height of the film’s good points. The digital image is crisp and clean, with strong color representation (things such as Chucky’s red/blue eyes, blood squirts, the orange of Andy’s tabby cat, and various other background objects) and great detail. Close ups are incredibly revealing, especially with the CGI for Buddi’s face, or the individual stitching on clothing. Blacks are deep and inky, showing almost no signs of crush or banding, and shadow details are sumptuous. Even in the dark warehouse at the end, you can see every toy in the background, and every gleam from a shiny light. It’s a very well done video encode, that’s for sure, and the only real flaw I could find was some mild softness on faces during some of the darker shots in the store where Andy and his friends face off against the demented doll.






Audio: :4.5stars:
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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: :2.5stars:
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• The Making of Child's Play
• Bringing Child's Play's Chucky to Life
• Soundtrack Trailer
• Lee Hardcastle Claymations:
-- Toy Massacre
-- A.I. Mayhem
• Theatrical Trailer
• Gallery









Final Score: :3stars:


I’m kind of torn on Child’s Play. I LOATHED it when I saw the movie theatrically, but the film sort of got a little bit better with a second viewing. I guess when my expectations were left at the door I saw some of the nuances that they were trying to play with this film. That still doesn’t mean that it’s top shelf Chucky though, as this rates down there with some of the worst of the long running franchise sequels. MGM’s (distributed through Fox) Blu-ray is quite stellar though, with great audio/video scores, and a decent array of extras to enjoy. Sadly, even for horror fans, this is low watch material



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 AVC
Audio: Japanese: DTS-HD MA 5.1, English DVS, Spanish DD 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Studio: MGM
Rated: R
Runtime: 90 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: September 24th, 2019
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Recommendation: Low Watch

 
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tripplej

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Thanks for the review. I also enjoyed the original Chucky movies and actually saw them in the theater where the audience typically got into it and that made it extra special. lol.

As for this one, I will skip it. Will stay with the originals. :)
 

Asere

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Thanks for the review. I had preordered this one but then changed my mind and canceled it. I will be renting it this weekend instead.
 

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Can you tell I'm a fan?
 

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Michael Scott

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Lol...welcome to the club
 

Asere

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Well I had said I canceled the preorder and I did however yesterday I was about to rent in on the Redbox but they only have the dvd available. My wife is like what's wrong with DVD at least you can watch it lol. I ended up going to Best Buy and bought it on blu-ray.
I enjoyed the film. Chucky looked different but I liked how he started to learn things. He's a modern Alexa. The one thing I missed was Chuky's old humor and this one was way too serious. I thought it was worth the purchase in my opinion.
 
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Michael Scott

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glad you liked it Ariel. Like I said, I went from 1.5/5 star rating it during my theatrical viewing to 2.5/5 rating it for the home video release, so maybe more viewing will net better results for me.

it was certainly different, though Mark Hamill was great
 
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