How Does The Child's Play Reboot Stack Up Against Classic Chucky?
Usually the idea of a reboot of movies that have only been made in the last decade stirs up a maddening emotion in me. We don't need more Charmed TV shows or Spiderman reboots, we need authentic, new, and unique stories - like Cosmic Decay: Contamination (wink wink, nudge nudge).
But the idea of another Child's Play movie has me rethinking the whole deal.
I love Chucky, the evil red-headed Good Guy doll that is really is the murderous soul of the crazed killer Charles Lee Ray. Chucky goes on multiple killing sprees throughout seven different movies, looking for revenge on those who have thwarted him in the past. Around movie three enters Bride of Chucky, the ex-girlfriend of Charles Lee Ray and the gothic platinum blonde Tiffany who transforms her own bride doll to match her unique style. The affect is awesome, and has been one of my favourite slasher horrors ever since.
Actor Brad Dourif has been the veteran of Chucky for years, and his own daughter Fiona Dourif joined the franchise for the last two movies, Curse of Chucky and Cult of Chucky, the latter only being produced in 2017. It joined together the victims of Chucky's past, with both the character of distant relation Nica that Fiona plays, and the original actor who played the original victim Andy Barclay back in the 1988 film. It was a complete round robin, but Cult of Chucky left it open for more of everyone's favourite serial killing doll to make a further appearance.
This was why the announcement of the reboot came as an unnecessary surprise. They were making another Chucky movie - hooray! - but they were going back to their roots and remaking the 1988 original Child's Play, complete with no change of name. As another knife in the heart of the franchise, Brad Dourif would no longer be returning to voice the doll he had played for over seven movies.
No, Luke Skywalker himself was going to be the killer red-head.
That's right, Mark Hamill is the star of the remake, where a mother (played by Parks and Recreation's favourite Aubrey Plaza) gives her son a toy doll for his birthday, unaware of its more sinister nature.
Now I love Aubrey Plaza and Parks and Recreation. I love Mark Hamill and Star Wars. But I LOVE the original Chucky in all it's terrible 1980's glory, and it's ridiculously impossible sequels that came after it. The story has continued and the last movie, while not well-received or even slightly critically acclaimed, came out in 2017. With the sequels STILL GOING it seems unnecessary to reboot the movie completely now, and so going into this movie I was prepared to hate it.
And honestly, I did.
I gave it the benefit of the doubt, I really did. And granted I was having a pretty serious text-argument at the time, but the 2019 Child's Play just completely missed the mark. To begin with the new doll is just creepy looking, and not in an -it's-going-to-kill-you-way, but in an it-looks-stupid-way. Gone is the title of "Good Guy" dolls and has been replaced by calling the doll "Buddi" (which granted, will make my Halloween costume for my dog Buddy all the more appealing) and the whole thing is based on a fault in a microchip, leading to the new Buddi to start malfunctioning.
The malfunctioning doll is introduced to things like horror movies and stabbing stuffed toys by unwitting children, causing it's murderous attitude which surfaces in a way to protect the owner of the doll - Andy - from people and animals who wrong him. Yep, gone is the soul of infamous serial killers being placed into the doll, and I honestly missed it. The Buddi doll walks and talks and does its own thing anyway by design as a technologically advanced toy, so the fact the unique aspect of the whole Chucky idea of a doll coming to life and killing people gets taken away pretty much from the get go.
I liked the idea of the Buddi doll killing people in response to Andy's hormonal pre-pubescent outbursts, but that's really where the good part of the story ends. Mark Hamill's voice makes for a boring account to the doll, and honestly Aubrey Plaza doesn't lend much to her acting chops by basically re-playing her famous character of April, but less dark. It's also nearly impossible to view her as an actual mother, despite her claims of having a "very productive sweet 16".
If you're looking for a good movie, I strongly suggest ignoring this 2019 version and re-watching the original Child's Play. Anything without Brad Dourif as serial killing soul of Chucky is not really worth your time.