Horror

Don’t F*** with the Chuck [4K Review]



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Child’s Play 3

childs play 3 4k 1024x1285 - 'Child's Play 3': Don't F*** with the Chuck  [4K Review]

The minute Universal knew they had a hit on their hands with Child’s Play 2 (1990) another sequel was greenlit. And the release date was nine months later. Rushed production schedule aside, Child’s Play 3 (1991) is both better and worse than the previous entry. Better because it manages to properly realize Andy’s expected trauma after the events of the first two films. Plus it almost drops the old hat routine of “Chucky needs Andy for his human body”. Worse because there is a greater reliance on humor, and most of the characters play more like caricatures.

Also, I have never liked the military school setting although I’ll award some points for it being a bit novel. The best memory I have of Child’s Play 3 comes from sometime around its release when 10-year-old me was driving with my mother and I saw a promotional bumper sticker that is not only forever etched in my memory but also a fitting slogan for the series overall: Don’t Fuck with the Chuck.

Eight years have passed since the events of Child’s Play 2, with the Good Guys factory having been long since abandoned. Play Pals, however, wants to bring back their previously popular doll. So the machines are turned on and the plastic begins to flow. As Chucky’s (Brad Dourif) exploded mess of a “corpse” is being removed some of his blood mixes with the fresh plastic, bringing the squat serial killer back to life in a new body. After killing the Play Pals CEO he uses Movie Computer Technology to instantly find out Andy Barclay’s new whereabouts: Kent Military School. Now 16 years old, Andy (Justin Whalin) has been sent there after failing to find a suitable foster home. Chucky mails himself to the academy and gets right back to being a pint-sized terror for everyone on campus.

If all it takes for Chucky to inhabit a new body is having some of his blood splash into a vat of plastic then what if that blood had been used to make multiple dolls? Furthermore, if Chucky only can possess the body of the first person he reveals himself to why not take over the Play Pals CEO he kills in the opening? Chucky doesn’t realize this until he’s already at the military school, which seems out of character considering his cunning. The reasons, of course, are the story feels it is dependent on Andy’s presence – and Chucky’s. So letting Charles Lee Ray possess someone else, or removing Andy from the equation, were unlikely moves. It’s a shame, really, since this is the most stale entry in the series because it takes no risks.

The only change to the formula in Child’s Play 3 is minor: Chucky first reveals himself to Tyler (Jeremy Sylvers), a precocious eight-year-old boy who is convinced, as Andy once was, Chucky is his best friend. Thus begins a long, drawn-out game of Chucky trying to find a way to put his soul in this kid’s body while also fucking with Andy and murdering military students and teachers alike along the way. We’ve seen this before, although there is a good chuckle to be had at Chucky enthusiastically stating, “Just think… Chucky is gonna be a bro!

There is exactly one decent character in Child’s Play 3. That’s Sgt. Botnick, the school’s barber, played by Andrew Robinson of Hellraiser (1987) fame. Botnick is ostensibly there simply to chop locks off new recruits and trim up current students. But there’s a glint of sadistic glee in his eyes when performing his duties. He teases, he insults, he demands. In one peculiarly amusing scene he traipses through the mess hall, inspecting students’ haircuts and barking out which day of the week they’ll need to see him for a trim. His role is small and he’s ultimately just another future corpse but it’s a bright spot in a dull cast.

The 1.85:1 2160p image comes from a fresh 4K scan of the original camera negative. With the added benefit of Dolby Vision, this picture is a clear improvement over the old Universal Blu-ray. Colors have greater depth. Black levels are closer to true darkness. Definition is tighter across the board. Film grain, though heavy at night, takes on a more naturally filmic appearance. This doesn’t look as good as the previous film but it does look better than the first. The Blu-ray included in this set also includes the remastered 4K transfer, though obviously in 1080p.

As per usual, Scream Factory has added an English Dolby Atmos track, though the only other option is DTS-HD MA 2.0. There is no 5.1 track. In terms of clarity and reproduction the Atmos track offers great fidelity and a balanced listening experience. I can’t say the addition of Atmos significantly expands the already-limited soundfield, nor are there any specific moments where the audio stands out enough to be mentioned. But dialogue never gets lost in the mix and the film’s few bombastic moments supply the right amount of depth. Subtitles are available in English SDH.

The only special feature on the 4K disc is an audio commentary with director Jack Bender and producer Robert Latham Brown.

On the Blu-ray is where all the good stuff can be found. The audio commentary track is included there, too.  

“Ride the Frightening – Interview with writer Don Mancini” (“HD”, 13 min and 18 seconds) is another web video chat with the series shepherd, who doesn’t mince words when it comes to this third entry.

“War Games – Interview with actress Perrey Reeves” (HD, 5 min and 48 seconds), talking about her character, working on set, etc.

“Chucky Goes East – Interview with producer David Kirschner” (HD, 6 min and 34 seconds), discussing the franchise’s history, creating the third film, hiring of the actors, and so forth.

“Carnivals and Campouts – Interview with producer Robert Latham Brown” (HD, 4 min and 21 seconds), his comments are similar to Kirschner’s, offering an overview of bringing the film’s elements together.

“Midway Centurions – Interview with actor Michael Chieffo” (“HD”, 4 min and 15 seconds) is a web chat with the actor who played a security guard in the film.

“Shear Terror – Interview with makeup artist Craig Reardon” (HD, 7 min and 36 seconds), covering the technical side of making Chucky come to life – and his victims come to death.

“Unholy Mountain – Interview with production designer Richard Sawyer” (HD, 6 min and 58 seconds), talking about the look of the film.

“Extra Scenes from Broadcast TV Version” (SD, 5 min and 38 seconds) include mostly character additions.

A theatrical trailer and TV spot are also included.

Special Features:

DISC ONE – 4K BLU-RAY:

  • NEW 4K RESTORATION FROM THE ORIGINAL CAMERA NEGATIVE
  • DOLBY VISION/HDR PRESENTATION OF THE FILM
  • NEW DOLBY ATMOS TRACK
  • NEW Audio Commentary by director Jack Bender
  • Audio Commentary by producer Robert Latham Brown

DISC TWO – BLU-RAY:

  • NEW 4K RESTORATION FROM THE ORIGINAL CAMERA NEGATIVE
  • DOLBY VISION/HDR PRESENTATION OF THE FILM
  • NEW Audio Commentary by director Jack Bender
  • NEW Ride the Frightening – an interview with writer Don Mancini
  • NEW War Games – an interview with actress Perrey Reeves
  • NEW Chucky Goes East – an interview with executive producer David Kirschner
  • NEW Carnivals and Campouts – an interview with producer Robert Latham Brown
  • NEW Midway Centurions – an interview with actor Michael Chieffo
  • NEW Shear Terror – an interview with makeup artist Craig Reardon
  • NEW Unholy Mountain – an interview with production designer Richard Sawyer
  • Audio Commentary by producer Robert Latham Brown
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • TV Spot
  • Additional scenes from the broadcast version

  • Child’s Play 3

  • Special Features

Summary

This is maybe the weakest film in the series (or Seed) but I’ll admit there is some fun to be had if all you care about is seeing Chucky murder people while spouting off witty retorts. Scream Factory provides a great a/v presentation and a number of bonus features fans may find appealing.


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