Child’s Play (Review)
I was admittedly skeptical, they were finally remaking not just a movie but a franchise that is near and dear to my heart.
I saw how they were doing away with the Charles Lee Ray portion of Child's Play and how it'll now be about Artificial Intelligence, I saw how the new look of Chucky was going to take a bit of getting used to and I very clearly saw that Don Mancini and Brad Douriff were still working on Child's Play heavily but….
Yet and still, the idea grew on me and about 5 months out from it's release the idea continued to grow on me more and more all culminating into that fateful night (last night) where I finally got to sit down in a theater with a good friend and watch it come to life on the big screen.
A feeling washed over me immediately as the opening credits started, realizing I hadn't had this kind of experience since I was in Middle School watching Seed! Here we were and it was happening like it or not and I'm pleased to say…..
I didn't like it…..I loved it!
First thing that really took me back was the cinematography in this movie was surprisingly outstanding. I expected it to be ok but it is shot very competently with the vibrance of the colors and the way that they popped and the way things sit so dark in the shadows yet somehow seemed so clear to the eye.
Something I could use a heavier dose of was the soundtrack. It was present obviously but it could have flowed a bit better amongst the movie in my opinion. I know that due to listening to it the week of the movie in anticipation. As far as how it was utilized in the actual movie however left little to be desired. I guess part of it could be how I was picturing it with imaginary scenes in my head but regardless of your opinion on how it fit with the movie it's a solid soundtrack, especially the new theme! I guess I just wanted that new Child's Play theme playing loud and proud around every corner cause I can't get enough of it or get it out of my head!
As far as Characters go I actually found them to all, for the most part be really enjoyable. Aubrey Plaza nails the role of a young inner city mom. She's not exactly perfect but you can tell she has great trepidation when she's not and you can legitimately see how much she cares for Andy and his well being. Plaza in general just steals the show and locks you to the screen with her unique personality. I suspected she would be a good casting choice being a fan of alot of her previous work and my suspicions were thankfully proven to be correct.
Andy was the main human character I was worried about cause younger kids can be really hit and miss in these kinds of movies. I was also expecting him to carry a more difficult acting burden than Alex Vincent's portrayal because he was a bit older and I was right but, I was WRONG to doubt this kid cause he was phenomenal in his portrayal of Andy. Just a overall likeability as a character, very believable in his actions and a strong ability to emote and really allow you as the viewer to feel/believe his pain in the moment. Can't say enough about this casting choice.
Detective Mike was a bit less on the serious side than Chris Sarandon's character in the original Child's Play but he was enjoyable in his own way. Although he delivered on a solid addition to the movie there is a part of me that wonders if the movie wouldn't have been better off with a more hard edged kind of cop but this is what we got and he offers up a serviceable counterpart to Andy and his mom, and you can see his good nature in the back and forth he has with his own mom who was also a solid character.
As far as Andy's friends go, they're not great by any means and are pretty cliche the more I dwell on it but are serviceable and fill their roles. Nothing terrible, nothing great, nothing more and nothing less.
And then there's the big one...how was Chucky? Well it's a bit of a complicated one, he's great but you almost want to put an asterisk next to that greatness.
The change to Artificial Intelligence should have braced me for the fall but it honestly didn't. Don't get me wrong THIS version of Chucky is damn good and even deeper even though he's not a person this time around which is great but for selfish reasons I couldn't help but miss Douriff's portrayal.
As great as Hammil's portrayal is I just couldn't stop thinking about the old Chucky we all know and love so much! I think I finally pieced together why I felt that way Midway through the movie though, even though I was digging the hell out of Hammil's performance. It's the lack of that extra gear. With Douriff's performance you got the good guy doll and then BOOM! He'd come to life right before our very eyes.
Since this is Artificial Intelligence you get the Buddi Doll and when the killing starts welllll….you get more of the Buddi Doll and that's the thing, that's perfectly fine! Even great cause the Buddi Doll is awesome but like I said those SELFISH reasons made me at least harp on the Douriff version a bit too much. I found myself wanting that switch to flip but it never came.
Now since this is a new spin on the Child's Play story it also in turn has things play out a bit differently with Chucky and Andy as you might have guessed. Chucky and Andy due to the swap from Serial Killer to A.I. actually find time to form a strong bond before the bloodshed inevitably takes place.
And dare I say….that, that was oddly my favorite dynamic of the whole movie!
I loved the way we felt for Chucky and the ups and downs of him and Andy's relationship. I mean they really delivered on that aspect of it!
If it would have felt forced, brushed aside as non-consequential or not believable it would have been terrible but they found that perfect balance to make us care for Chucky and Andy's relationship.
It was surprising as a member of the audience feeling that way for Chucky as a character and you truly felt like he might just be lost and you could help him which made it all the more sad.
If that happened with the old Charles Lee Ray portrayal of Chucky it would have been the biggest "you gotta be kidding me" moment ever but since this is a clean slate and a new spin on the character it felt authentic and earned in the movie.
I really feel like this direction could have been a big mistake. I literally even turned to my buddy I saw the movie with and audibly said this could legit be a great Disney movie if you took out all the bad language and didn't know the carnage that will inevitably ensue in the later acts of the film.
This on paper sounds like the last thing you'd want to be thinking during a Child's Play film but it oddly wasn't because they nailed the execution and that's really what it came down to. I not only bought Chucky and Andy's relationship, I also FELT it and loved every second of it.
As far as kills go there isn't a whole lot but there's definitely enough to keep you satisfied. (aside for one scene that would be too deep into spoiler territory to discuss) This franchise has never particularly offered up a huge death toll anyways but the kills they do have are creative, bloody and quite effective. It definitely earned it's R rating and thank god for that. I also think that's why the softer beginnings of the film work so well because you get these death scenes that quickly remind you what kind of movie you're actually watching.
The 3rd act left me a little unsatisfied but not completely and it was one of those 3rd acts that just kind of snuck up on you which is a double edged sword in terms of positives and negatives. It moves at a steady nice clip that never puts you to sleep but you kind of feel like you get to the finish line too soon. I'd love some more Chucky carnage please and thank you!
It did kind of leave the door cracked for maybe a potential sequel and I gotta tell you I'm completely down for it. Chucky became a bit more sinister as time went on in the movie so maybe in a sequel we can get a even darker toned Chucky in terms of him being maniacal much like he was in the original and maybe we can dive more into a certain something Chucky noticed that Andy was looking at in the movie that it never explained.
Either way guys with this same crew on board so am I cause this movie although not perfect was a perfect Remake to me honestly.
It did exactly what Remakes are supposed to do. It gave you just enough of a taste of the original franchise to let you know you're right at home and it did that all while making it's own lane in the slahser genre and I'm definitely pleased with the reimagining we got in this film.
This definitely has my stamp of approval as a lifelong Chucky fan. Check it out and wash away your ties to what the originals were and look at it like a fresh spin on everyone's favorite killer doll in some kind of alternate reality and who knows? You might just ask yourself am I having fun now?