To a newcomer, "Child's Play" might seem like the perfect candidate for a reboot. But Chucky's creator Don Mancini has been keeping the character alive all this time — the latest film debuted in 2017, and a TV show is in the works — and isn't involved with this reboot at all. This means the uninitiated and Chucky fans alike have a choice: check out this new take, or stick with the classic. Are you better off waiting for the TV show or seeing a different toy story in new Chucky's stead? Here's what the reviews have to say:
This New Take On Chucky Swaps Serial Killer Possession Out For Artificial Intelligence-Gone-Awry
A disgruntled employee of tech company Kaslan Corp. removes all normal programming and safety protocols from a Best Buddi doll, which is then shipped overseas and onto the shelves of Zed Mart. The doll finds its way into the hands of Zed Mart employee Karen Barclay (Aubrey Plaza), a struggling single mom unable to afford a birthday present for her young teen Andy (Gabriel Bateman) after moving to a new neighborhood.
Chucky (voiced with hyperbolic glee by Mark Hamill) has been designed to give Andy everything he wants, and for a lonely kid who resents his mom and her intrusive new boyfriend (David Lewis), that sort of wish-fulfillment can have deadly consequences.
For All Its #Relevance, This New Backstory Is Harder To Go Along With Than The Slasher Simplicity Of Yore
Remember the disappointment you felt that Christmas when Santa brought you an off-brand Cabbage Patch Kids counterfeit instead of the real thing? Well, if you grew up on the "Child's Play" movies, then brace yourself for more of the same, since Buddi's expression is wrong, his glimmering-LED eyes look wonky, and no child in his right mind would want this creepy robot as a toy.
The original "Good Guy" doll, which was possessed by serial killer Charles Lee Ray, was a send-up of 1980s commercialism, an era when parents would practically kill to get their hands on a Cabbage Patch Kid at Christmastime. The new Chucky, a "Buddi Doll," hews closer to modern trends, has a powerful computer operating system, and gets treated more like an exciting new iPhone than a child's plaything. (It's almost/exactly like the title doesn't make sense anymore.)
Initially it seems a bit of stretch that a goofy-looking humanoid gadget dressed in dungarees could become the latest must-have household accessory, but by alluding to the real-world gamification of consumer technology Tyler Burton Smith's script goes some way to explaining the Buddi phenomenon.
Hamill Does A Respectable Job As Chucky, But Pales In Comparison To Brad Dourif's Unhinged Original
Hamill certainly has the chops to portray a crazed killer with a humorous edge – he even sings Andy a "best buddy" song that might be the highlight of the film's weirdness.
Hamill certainly delivers his best voice acting since he played the Joker on "Batman: The Animated Series," but his icy, calculated villain has nothing on the shrieking lunatic first brought to life by Brad Dourif.
At Least This High-Tech Chucky Opens The Door To Inventive, Outrageous Slasher Antics
The ability to plug into Kaslan Corp's other smart devices means that there's no shortage of weapons at Chucky's disposal, and he'll often use several at a time for maximum blood splatter. The more he learns from his surroundings, the more gruesome it gets, culminating in a Black Friday-style nightmare.
While this reboot never shies away from giving sly winks to the original film, it certainly opts for laughs over the scares. It's a horror-comedy in the vein of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, both onscreen and in tone. And just like Tobe Hooper's divisive sequel to a heralded classic, Child's Play ups the ante on the excessive bloodshed and dark comedy alike.
The movie is suspenseful and funny enough that you almost forget you're watching a film about an evil Amazon Echo that bends over backwards, and nearly breaks, trying to look like a Child's Play remake instead.
It's Nice To See Aubrey Plaza And Brian Tyree Henry Here, But Better To See Them In Almost Anything Else
Several characters are such comic caricatures that it's hard to even take seriously as people, much less get emotionally invested in their brutal deaths. But on the other hand, you don't cast comedic actors if you don't want jokes, and Child's Play certainly has a lot of both. Plaza spices up the Karen character with some of her trademark deadpan sarcasm, while the always-dependable Brian Tyree Henry turns Detective Mike Norris into a pathetic cop who can't even get his own mother to respect him.
The new movie shunts [Plaza] to the side for no good reason, and also underutilizes a local detective played by Brian Tyree Henry whose mother lives in the same building as Karen and Andy. Henry, however, somehow manages to elevate everything in his career to date, and his grumbling about "a bunch of millennials" when passing Andy and his friends on the street is one of the movie's most satisfying moments.
Like The Tech Trends It's Parodying, Saying This 'Child's Play' Film 'Works Alright' Is Damning It With Faint Praise
Mancini has made his displeasure with this redo known. And the biggest knock against it is that the idiosyncratic qualities (up, down and in-between) of the other films in the series have been sanded and smoothed. Stem to stern, this 88-minute slasher runs like the clockwork bit of machinery it is, and that baseline competence effectively leeches it of personality.
Despite all these upgrades, Chucky seems less intimidating than before. Part of this can be blamed on the ugly new character design, although he's really hamstrung by the inevitable limits of an animatronic character's performance[…] when you get down to it, his personality isn't all that interesting anymore.
If the story made sense, or even if it was a heck of a lot weirder, Child's Play (2019) would be an excellent new addition to the killer technology genre. As a killer doll movie, and specifically as a Chucky film, it can't help but seem lacking.
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