XenForo Template Child's Play Chucky's 20th Birthday Edition Release Date: September 9, 2008 Studio: MGM Studios Packaging/Materials: Single-disc DVD case Year: 1988 Rating: R Running Time: 1h27m Video: 1.85:1 anamorphic Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1: English; Dolby Digital Surround: English, Spanish and French Subtitles: English, Spanish Closed Captioned: English MSRP: $14.98 The Feature: 4/5 Before the law and his own mortality catches up with serial killer Charles Lee Ray (Brad Dourif), he pulls a bit of that old black magic and transfers his soul into a doll made for young boys. Thus Charles is reborn as Chucky, the meanest and ugliest homicidal toy to ever scamper across the silver screen. At first Chucky's all about revenge, tracking down the partner who sold him out and then going after Detective Norris (Chris Sarandon), the cop who killed him. But when Chucky learns he may be stuck in the toy body forever, he goes after Andy (Alex Vincent), the unlucky youngster who got him as a birthday present, to make more human arrangements. Only Andy's resourceful mother (Catherine Hicks) stands in the way, but it's going to take everything she has to stop him, and she may have to do it several times! Now celebrating its 20th anniversary, "Child's Play" keys in on the inherent creepiness of dolls and puppets, but never takes itself too seriously, because...well, they're dolls and puppets! For the more pediophobic (and I admit to a mild case of it) I'm sure the film plays like the sum of all fears, but I found myself laughing at most of the action scenes and the campy, Chuky POV camera work. Which of course made the movie fun - more than I ever expected. I've never been much of a horror fan, but I'm finding the campier they are the better and "Child's Play" manages to have a nice balance between the schlocky and the suspenseful. The franchise may have worn out its welcome with its sequels (though I'm curious now about "Bride of Chucky"), but it's worth spending a little time with the film that began it all, especially as Halloween approaches. Video Quality: 3.5/5 Accurately framed at 1.85:1, the image is mostly free of physical blemishes, with white specks showing up every so often throughout the film. Black levels are solid and deep, though shadow detail and delineation suffer a bit in the most shadowy of scenes. There's no signs of edge enhancement, but there is visible, minor noise and an occasional softness to the image. Colors are decent, with flesh tones tending towards the pale, but brighter colors like Chucky's rainbow outfit and orange hair show good depth and stability. Audio Quality: 3.5/5 The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix shows a surprising amount of surround activity, particularly when Chucky is stalking his victims, the pitter-patter of his little feet skipping across the rear channels. The surround channels also provide soundtrack support and environmental effects and are nicely balanced with the rest of the speaker array. LFE is generally lacking, even when the scenes demand it, and center channel dialogue, while a bit low in spots, is generally clear and intelligible. Special Features: 4/5 The special features package is a solid effort, offering two new commentaries and nicely produced retrospective featurettes. The only thing that seems remiss is an original theatrical trailer. Audio commentary with Alex Vincent, Catherine Hicks and "Chucky" designer Kevin Yagher: Vincent, Hicks and Yagher provide a great commentary filled with anecdotes and trivia. While Vincent was recorded in a separate session, the trio represent different experiences and roles and offer a good balance covering major aspects of the production, from acting (as a child and as an adult) to special effects. The fact that Hicks and Yagher are married (and met each other during filming) adds another interesting dynamic. Audio commentary with Producer David Kirschner and Screenwriter Don Mancini: Kirschner and Mancini provide another thorough track, covering broader production subjects like casting, location shoots and cinematography. Scene specific Chucky commentary: Dourif, in character as Chucky, provides commentary on four scenes totaling around 25 minutes. It's a promising idea, but Dourif doesn't seem to have enough material to go on and what he does have isn't very funny. The final scene is a little better because Mancini joins him and Dourif finally has someone to play off of. I'm sure if he had joined one of the other commentaries the in-character idea would have worked better. "Evil Comes In Small Packages" (25m20s): Three featurettes cover the original concept and subsequent script revisions, casting and production, and distribution and public reaction. The documentaries, while brief, cover all the bases and are professionally done. "Chucky: Building A Nightmare" (10m04s): An in-depth look at the special effects used to bring Chucky to life. "A Monster Convention" (5m26s): Cast reunion panel from the Monster Mania 2007 convention includes Vincent, Hicks and Sarandon, who answer a handful of questions from the audience. "Introducing Chucky: The Making of Child's Play" (6m11s): Vintage featurette covers some familiar territory in the special effects department, but it makes for an interesting time capsule. Still Photo Gallery: Around 75 stills from production and the promotional campaign. Trailers: Mr. Brooks, Pathology Recap The Feature: 4/5 Video Quality: 3.5/5 Audio Quality: 3.5/5 Special Features: 4/5 Overall Score (not an average): 4/5 Homicidal doll horror flick that never takes itself too seriously gets decent treatment all around. Now if only Chucky were so nice.