By Jason Thai
Child’s Play tells the story of a young boy named Andy who lives with his single mom, Karen. As a gift from his mother, Andy is introduced to Buddi, a doll with artificial intelligence sold by the “Kaslan” tech company, meant to assist customers by controlling their electronics and assisting them in their daily needs. However, unknown to Andy, his Buddi has had its limiters removed, allowing it to be fully self-aware. (For example, even though tries naming his new toy ‘Han-Solo’, Buddi changes it himself to Chucky.) Throughout the film, Chucky learns and adapts to how Andy feels and reacts to things, focused on his primary goal to make Andy happy. Eventually, this takes a dark turn as Chucky begins killing whoever has hurt Andy, believing that the best way to make him happy is to remove them from his life. As Andy realizes his ‘toy’ is hurting others, he tries to put Chucky away but he rebels, connecting to TVs, cars, drones, and even people’s hearing aids in order to get revenge on Andy and his loved ones.
Through its examination of technology, Child’s Play was trying to portray the dangers of artificial intelligence and the havoc it can potentially cause in people’s lives. Paralleling the Google Home and Amazon Echo, Chucky can control functions in the house and assist you in your life and daily schedule. In Child’s Play, they take it one step further where the artificial intelligence can learn and adapt to who you are. Chucky is a blank slate initially, his only objective to make Andy happy. He develops his ideas of right and wrong from what he learns from Andy based on what makes him happy or unhappy. Unfortunately, Chucky also receives information that turns him into a murderer, having been exposed to television violence and Andy’s interest in scaring people as pranks. As a result, Chucky uses that information to hurt people.
However, though Chucky is obviously the film’s villain, he also comes across as innocent. Despite his actions, Chucky doesn’t know the difference between what humans consider right and wrong, and is unable to understand the value of human life or the pain and fear he causes someone by killing them. To Chucky, he is just fulfilling his only purpose: doing whatever it takes to make Andy happy. In light of this, Child’s Play also shows the potential dangers of having our lives so interconnected with technology through his ability to perfectly control his surroundings.
Overall, Child’s Play is an interesting modern take of the classic 1988 film by using technology as a replacement for the magic used in the original film. In doing so, the film has a more realistic take than the original, focusing on the potential evils of technology that could develop if treated improperly. Plus, the gore was a nice homage to the horror movies of the 80s and 90s, featuring over-the-top and impossible death-trap situations. As Chucky, Mark Hamill does an amazing job, playing Chucky as a newly conscious being experiencing the world with child-like wonder and naïveté.
In the end, Child’s Play does a solid job showcasing the impact—and potential dangers—of technology and the impact it has on our daily lives. More specifically, the film also examines our growing interest in artificial intelligence, an issue that we as a culture have only begun to explore.
Child’s Play is killing the competition in theatres now.