While Chucky was never really my favourite horror villain, and I always try to go into this with a little more acceptance, the original is just plain better in every way. I'll give them credit for this idea of a new type of "Chucky" delivering a cautionary 'Black Mirror'-like tale about advanced technology going awry. But this is one of those cases where the same type of thing can be done just as well, or better, without cashing in on the 'Child's Play' title. Case in point; watch 2023's 'M3GAN'! It's much better!
The story begins, and things pretty well unfold the same way they originally did. Plot-wise we have more or less the same idea as the original. Andy Barclay (Gabriel Bateman) and his mother (Aubrey Plaza) move to a new city, and his mother gives him a new "Buddi" doll that names itself "Chucky" (Mark Hamill) after a bad Han Solo joke. As for why they went wtih "Buddi" instead of "Good Guy", I imagine, is likely to be more reflective of the popular "My Buddy" that Chucky's original design was based on.
In this version, Chucky isn't a case of supernatural voodoo possession, but an A.I. that works much like Alexa or Google Home. However, instead of it being something like a 'Star Trek' computer, it's the creepiest-looking doll you've ever seen in your life. It is unfathomable that anyone would take a look at this thing and want to bring it home. It looks evil, to begin with. Old-school Chucky was very innocent and cute, and his evil caught you completely off-guard. Here, Chucky's an AI that can sync with everything in your home and looks like the accompanying pic. It's nightmare fuel waiting to happen.
Chucky's evil ways here are due to... well, remember that 'Simpsons' take on the killer Krusty doll, where someone simply set it to evil?... Yeah, that's pretty much what happens here too. Some disgruntled employee is just picked on one too many times, and he takes out his anger by messing with Chucky's parameters and therefore putting some poor soul out there in some sort of imminent danger. As the audience may predict, Chucky ends up not quite understanding what to think. His killing is actually, at first, done out of good (or what he thinks is good). He witnesses Andy watching a slasher movie, Andy's being entertained by it, laughing, etc., so all Chucky picks up on, as an A.I., is that killing is what makes Andy happy.
Much like the original, this one also does manage to offer up the concept of a parent, or at least some sort of authority figure, wondering if Andy is okay, mentally. It's once again fairly easy to point the finger at the kid for the crimes Chucky the doll commits. With that, I once again have to give a little more credit to the original for being creepier with it. In this day and age, technology going awry and causing some sort of terrible accident isn't completely out of the realm of possibility. Old-school Chucky was far, far less suspicious, coming from an era where the best tech a doll had was probably a voice box saying "Mama".
I think my main problem with the movie lies in the fact that it doesn't really make a whole lot of sense to give your kids access to all of the electronics in your home. It further makes no sense that a kid of Andy's age (13) would prefer a "Buddi" doll over something like Google Home. It's a funny thing to be able to give a film credit for doing its own thing, but at the same time, question why they went this way, conceptually. Truth be told, every time I go through this, I keep finding more "why?" about it, thinking it would have done much better as an episode of 'Black Mirror', or just never needed to happen now that we have 'M3GAN' which is honestly entirely the same idea, but the execution is much more entertaining.
I can give the film some credit for a few things. Mark Hamill kills the innocent-yet-creepy voice of Chucky, and beyond that, I admit that what I dislike about it deserves some credit because it's not just completely rehashing an old idea as a reboot. But while clever in some areas, it fails in many others - especially when there's no question of Chucky potentially having human-equivalent strength; he's a straight-up machine here and feels like no threat at all. It's easier here to use the "just kick it" excuse. It's a solid attempt at a reboot, but it might have worked better without the 'Child's Play' title... And it did! Again - 'M3GAN'!