Chucky: The Complete Collection - Child's Play 3 Blu-ray Review
Written by James Ferguson
Blu-ray released by Universal Studios
Directed by Jack Bender
Written by Don Mancini
1991, Region A, 90 minutes, Rated R
Blu-ray released on October 8th, 2013
Justin Whalin as Andy Barclay
Perrey Reeves as De Silva
Jeremy Sylvers as Tyler
Travis Fine as Shelton
Dean Jacobson as Whitehurst
Brad Dourif as Chucky
Two controversies involving horrendous murders just weren't enough for Play Pals. It's been eight years since the first incident with young Andy Barclay. The Good Guy doll factory has been abandoned since the last incident with the boy who caused what looks like thousands of dollars of damage. The executives decide it's time to bring back the Good Guy doll. What's funny about the opening scene for Child's Play 3 is that one suit gives the CEO a doll, calling it the “Good Guy of the '90s” and it's exactly the same as the previous versions. No updates. No change in hair color or clothing. Same old creepy, soulless eyes.
Of course, that cobweb covered factory has been sitting lifeless since the events of Child's Play 2, which left the murderous doll Chucky a melted mess. When the factory is turned back on, this husk is picked up by a crane and a few drops of blood fall into the vat of rubber. Thus, Chucky is reborn. What I don't understand is how the soul of Charles Lee Ray didn't make it into every new doll that was created. We're talking about some blood tossed into a huge container of liquid, like that time KISS put some blood into the ink mixture for a series of comics. Wouldn't a piece of the murderer be in every new toy?
After making quick work of the CEO, Chucky jumps into action to track down Andy to once again steal his body. It turns out the boy (now played by Justin Whalin, who went on to play Jimmy Olsen in Lois & Clark) is now in a military academy after bouncing around foster homes for a bit. Chucky has himself delivered to Andy but is intercepted by a naïve kid named Tyler (Jeremy Sylvers) who, despite the fact that he's in a military academy and should know better, sees that it's a Good Guy doll and takes the box to a secluded space to open and play with it. It's here that Chucky finds what could be a loophole to his soul problem. New body, new rules. Tyler is the first person he revealed his secret to so now he needs to steal the kid's body instead of Andy's.
Child's Play 3 has a slight variation on the theme that flowed through the first two films, but this one feels more like a cash grab than anything. There's a reason it took seven years for another Chucky film to come out and that one was a huge change in direction and tone. I'm not saying that this is the Batman & Robin of the Chucky franchise, but it's not all that great. Instead of planning and plotting as he did before, Charles Lee Ray just starts killing people at random. The CEO and a garbage man are two of his first victims and feel completely unnecessary. They were nameless cannon fodder designed to increase the body count.
Most of the other new characters are throwaways with little emotional value. Tyler is a generic little kid who is even more sheltered and innocent than Andy was in the first film. He adds nothing to the overall story and it's hard to sympathize or care about him. As a result, the threat of Chucky stealing his body has no effect on me. Now that I think about it, none of these films show Charles Lee Ray actually succeeding in this quest. He's like Wile E. Coyote chasing the Road Runner throughout the franchise. Just once, I'd like to see him get transported into a human body, but make it a paraplegic or something.
The other cadets are just as faceless, including the bully Shelton (Travis Fine), the pseudo-love interest De Silva (Perrey Reeves), and the hapless roommate Whitehurst (Dean Jacobson). The character that takes the cake in Child's Play 3, though, is the barber, Sergeant Botnick (Andrew Robinson). This guy is obsessed with hair. He lurks through the cafeteria, caressing the heads of the children and making demands that they come see him to get a trim. This escalates when he finds Chucky hiding out in his shop and decides to give the doll a haircut because that's clearly the logical thing to do. Of course, he ends up dead because apparently Chucky is very sensitive about his appearance.
That's not to say that there aren't some cool scenes throughout the film. Towards the end, Chucky interferes with the academy's war games by replacing the red team's paint bullets with live ammo. It creates a heightened level of terror as these teenagers rush into the woods for what they think is a harmless exercise, but quickly turns into a bloodbath.
Child's Play 3 is definitely a low point in the franchise. Creator Don Mancini has said that this is his least favorite of the bunch, mostly because he ran out of ideas after the first two films. Chucky chews the scenery, playing it up to the extent that he'd rival Freddy Krueger in the later Nightmare on Elm Street sequels. The kills are unimaginative and often felt unnecessary. The cadets are unsympathetic and often act out of character, which makes any horror film feel like a stretch. If the filmmakers had stuck to what worked before, they could have expanded on Andy's fragile psyche and how he's struggling to grow up and get over the trauma of his past. Instead we get a generic slasher flick with a doll for a killer.
Video and Audio:
What are you expecting from an HD transfer of Child's Play 3? Whatever it is, you're probably on the right track. The film looks and sounds good. There's no weird distortion, but you're not getting into super fine detail with everything (and you don't have to).
As with Child's Play 2, the only feature to speak of is the trailer for the film. Bor-ring! This was all that was included on the DVD version a few years ago too.
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