New Model (Child’s Play, 2019)

Childs_Play_2019_PosterThe Child’s Play franchise is seven films in and has a TV series in the making, so when a remake of the 1988 original, it was met with…skepticism. Especially as the film has no real ties to the original film via writer or director.

Here we get the basic story idea.  Andy gets a doll that turns out to be dangerous and homicidal.

Here, Andy is a bit older.  His mother gets a Buddi Doll that has AI and can connect to your Smart Home devices.  It was returned as defective, and Andy’s mom takes it to give her son, as Andy is becoming more and more withdrawn. At first, the quirks do not seem to be to big a deal…until Chucky tries to kill the family cat after it hurts Andy.  Andy forbids Chucky from killing.  And for awhile, they become close friends.

But after some other kids discover that Chucky can swear and be generally rude, they want to hang with Andy.  It is only after Chucky murders someone that they all realize how dangerous Chucky actually is.

And a lot of the film is pretty effective.  I like Andy and his mom. And I think the AI take actually works in some interesting ways. Chucky is not inherently homicidal.  He becomes increasingly so, desensitized by his environment and working as a stalker.   He is not killing people out of a love for murder…but rather a warped ideal of his relationship to Andy.  And while this comes at the sacrifice of Dourif’s memorable characterization, I really appreciate the new approach.

Andy’s friends are a bit obnoxious, and honestly, it seems like much of the film they made sure to give Chucky victims who were pretty morally reprehensible.  I mean, there is only one character he kills that I genuinely liked.  I appreciated the attempt they made with Brian Tyree Henry’s Detective Norris, making him a friendly face in story…but the character is kind of dull (which is definitely not Henry’s fault, we saw him be pretty wonderful in Into the Spiderverse in a similar role.

And…well…Chucky’s design should have gone through a few more revisions.  He looks genuinely goofy sometimes.

But I found myself largely entertained by the film and felt it has far more positives than negatives.  I walked out feeling pretty satisfied with a film that I confess to having not had a lot of hope for.

Tripping Further

Welcome to March! I have been contemplating this feature for awhile. Since I see a lot of films on Blu-Ray, streaming and 4k Ultra HD Blu-Ray, I plan to review some releases covering not just the film itself, but the full release. I plan to focus this a bit on older films hitting 4k for the first time.


I will explore the special features, the picture and audio quality.  Is it worth it? What is included? Does the film benefit from the higher resolution?  I hope anyone reading will enjoy and appreciate these reviews and will find them helpful if they are unsure about buying a certain film. Especially in a case where they might be double (or quadruple) dipping.

The first review will be dropping in the next few days.

Rebooting the Spoiler Egg

I have now seen two articles that talk about how movies either had spoilers or Easter Eggs that reveal the end of the movie.  I feel like we are getting dumber and dumber.

The claim of movies with spoilers was quickly derided by pointing out that providing hints and clues in a film about itself is a story technique called foreshadowing.  A spoiler is, actually, information given about the story before you have seen it.  For example, my telling you that Captain America dies towards the end of Captain America: Civil War is a spoiler if you did not already know it was going to happen.  The movie hinting that he will die is foreshadowing, not a spoiler.

An Easter Egg is a non-plot specific item thrown into a movie for fan service.  It is very common in franchises.  It is very common that a movie based on a book might have a prop that hints of things otherwise left out of the film.  But it is usually something a casual viewer would not notice.  Easter Eggs reward fans, but do not stand out so much that they confuse the viewer who has no prior “connection” to the film they are watching.  In the X-Men movies, it was often away to say “Yes, these characters you love from the comics exist in this world”.  In the second X-Men movie, eagle eyed comics fans noticed a young man in glasses being interviewed on television named Hank McCoy.  McCoy is the X-Man/Defender known as the Beast.  You did not need to see Stephen Strange or know who Doctor Strange is while watching Captain America: the Winter Soldier.  But his name appeared in the Hydra/S.H.I.E.L.D. database.  Theses are Easter Eggs.

This reminds me of the other heavily abused movie term…the Reboot.

The term “Reboot” gets thrown around way to much and often in ways totally inapplicable.  To put it simply, a reboot starts over.  It erases prior continuity, so to speak, with the aim of a new franchise.  Films that were never a franchise getting remade is exactly that…a Remake.  Labyrinth was a one off film.  It was one film.  If you are retelling that tale?  It is a remake.  If you make a new film within that continuity, then you are making a sequel.

A sequel to a film that carries on the previous films’ story is not a reboot, even if it is released thirty years after the original film.  Mad Max: Fury Road is an awesome sequel that is not a reboot.

You can only reboot a franchise.  X-Men first Class was not a reboot, it took place within the franchise continuity.  It had conflicts with X-Men Origins Wolverine…but this was not addressed until X-Men: Days of Future Past.  That totally rebooted the franchise, totally altering the course of characters and story completely.

The Amazing Spider-Man jettisoned the Sam Raimi based continuity and started from scratch.  While the new Spider-Man films will not re-hash the origin, it has still opted to reboot, having an entirely new continuity in place.

The Josh Trank Fantastic Four takes place in a totally new origin.  It ignores the previous two films.

2009’s Friday the 13th tried to restart the franchise by basically starting over.  They gave a compressed version of the original film, but ignored the first eleven entries (if you include Freddy Vs Jason).  There were no ties to the original films beyond the most basic “origin” story at the beginning.

These are reboots. They are not tethered to the previous continuity, they are their own new take.  They are also meant to kick off a rebirth of that franchise.  Remaking Steel Magnolias is not “Rebooting Steel Magnolias”.

So, in closing… Foreshadowing is not a spoiler or Easter Egg.  And a Remake of a one off film is not a reboot.

Because this is the stuff that matters, folks.


The Search For Masculinity

I really have no idea what this means.  I mean, first…the reverse sexism?  I am pretty sure men dominate movies still.  Most films are still about men.  Not really seeing reverse sexism.

And since when was “flashy” a typically “masculine” term?  And what exactly are they saying when they talk about how all the roles going to Aussies and Brits?  I really feel like this is one of those silly controversies we see every few years where old guys get their undies in a bundle about the death of masculinity.

If the “death of masculinity” means the death of whining about “dying masculinity”… I welcome it.

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