Review – Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

Introduction

This is a post that is a repurposing of an old-school Mini-Review Round-Up post. As stated here I am essentially done with running multi-film review posts. Each film deserves its own review. Therefore I will repost, and at times add to, old reviews periodically. Enjoy!

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

Anchorman 2 has been perhaps one of the more unrealistically anticipated sequels in recent years. What I mean by that, and I don’t claim to be not among them; is that over the years the reputation of Anchorman grew such that perhaps the bar started being raised a bit much.

My own experience with the first Anchorman was not love-at-first-sight. Sure, I laughed. I laughed a lot. However, I felt that the feminist theme while appreciated was handled clumsily and overtly. Yes, it’s a silly movie but the rest of it felt far more assured. My appreciation of it grew over time.

Fast-forward to this Anchorman and one thing that stood out before I saw it was the extra running time. Then you see Judd Apatow’s name attached and you wonder if it might be tremendously bloated. At nearly two hours as opposed to just scraping past 90 minutes last time. I don’t think it did feel extraneous, just a touch too much perhaps. I also think the commentary on corporate synergy and news media, while very on the head is more neatly folded in. Thankfully, there were also many new gags, and a lot more weirdness, as the riffs on the old jokes that worked because they were new didn’t really hit it.

To be brief, I didn’t expect a second coming of Ron Burgundy, he’s a character so perfectly buffoonish you can’t manufacture the surprise of first meeting him all over again; but I did think I’d be glad to see him again in a new story. I was and the fact that this story had point to make loudly that had more do with the modern day than the era it was set in is fine by me too.

8/10

Advertisements

Review – Antboy 2: The Revenge of the Red Fury

It’s interesting in age when superhero cinema, and one of the latest critical buzzwords “superhero fatigue” being bandied about with nearly mindless abandon, to take a look at films who have a more modest approach to the trope and different aims than the world’s most gargantuan cinematic franchise. As has previously been mentioned here at The Movie Rat, the world of foreign genre cinema offers different takes which is typically like a breath of fresh air compared to the American formulaic traits. Whether or not they are always successful is almost not even the point as there is great value in seeing a different way to broach familiar topics.

However, Antboy and Antboy 2: The Revenge of the Red Fury are most definitely successful. One of the ways in which this sequel succeeds is in walking the tightrope between a continuous narrative that would lose the uninitiated and a film overly-slavish to its prior installment. Where reminders become necessary they are there but do not waste excessive amounts of screen time or come off as ham-handed.

The film jumps into the action almost immediately and moves at a steady clip from thereon out making its brisk running time not feel conversely overly-expansive. It’s also great to see a tale of super characters where the stakes are high, and matter to those concerned, but they are also focused and contained to their small, suburban hometown. It’d be relief enough just to have character time in a standard superhero film, but when you add the fact that this is a story with young antagonists and protagonists; you have something doubly rare wherein a film is treating both kids and superheroes/super-villains as people.

Antboy 2: Revenge of the Red Fury (2014, Attraction Distribution)

As opposed to the first film, I watched this one with original audio not dubbed. The dubbing in the prior installment was passable, and clearly more accessible to the younger viewers who are the target audience. Therefore, it’s fairly safe to assume that there must not be much degradation in quality offered in English dialogue. If the option of viewing the original audio version is available to you, it is clearly a better approach.

When discussing films designed for kids the potential pitfalls are many: pedantic story treatment and characters, too much escapism with little pedagogical value, or the opposite issue; too bluntly moralistic to be enjoyable. Antboy 2 does not suffer on any of these accounts, in fact, excels in folding in its lesson with the entertainment value. It turns out to have a statement about not taking out one’s anger over slights against others, self-assurance and confidence in a highly enjoyable, entertaining and funny package. The only way in which it lacks in this regard is that the atonement is a bit easily earned and the reason behind the offense not adequately explained to the offended. Ultimately, the forgiveness Pelle earns ends up being a bit like the Blue Fairy’s granting Pinocchio’s wish because despite his mistakes she knows he’s good at heart.

The visual effects while not of the highest order are used sparingly and executed well enough such that the do not detract from the story in anyway. What truly augments the story is the sound mixing and editing, which take it a step above where most would believe it to be, and the suspension of disbelief is most aided by the work of the costume department who has all characters looking the part.

Antboy 2: Revenge of the Red Fury (2014, Attraction Distribution)

The heart of the film lies in the young cast who are extremely capable and aptly pull off the double-task of being relatable and super-human. In many ways those who are returning are given more opportunity to shine. Oscar Dietz, as Pelle a.k.a. Antboy, aside from having stuntwork, and his physically weak moments when faced with his character’s version of Kryptonite; has to show a emotional vulnerability and insecurity throughout, as he’s struggling with normal adolescent angsts and insecurity balancing that with the dichotomy of having an alter ego who seems to have it all together. He is a perfect every-kid and delivers when scenes get emotional. Samuel Ting Graf (Wilhelm) and Amalie Kruse Jensen (Ida) return to the fold more assured and layered as Antboy’s sidekicks and best friends. While Wilhelm keeps him motivated and in check Ida’s fascination with one of the new kids Christian (Hector Brøgger Andersen) is understandable and very believably played by both. The new, titular villain played by Astrid Jucher-Benzon perhaps has the best arc, and achieves the highly difficult task of being a villain that can engender empathy.

Antboy 2: Revenge of the Red Death (2014, Attraction Distribution_

As these films are adaptations of popular children’s novels in a post-Harry Potter world, the turn around on the series will be quick and there will be more Antboy to follow. However, there is a small universe here that doesn’t connect anywhere else unless you count the connection these characters and their stories make with the audience which is surely palpable, and as such make the continuation of this series something to look forward to indeed.

9/10

61 Days of Halloween: The Curse of the Fly (1965)

Introduction

For an introduction to the concept of 61 Days of Halloween, as well as a list of previously featured titles, please go here.

The Curse of the Fly (1965)

One thing that becomes clear when your are viewing a series of films in hindsight is when the death knell rang. When you’re in the midst of things occurring extemporaneously, it can be easy to be hopeful and want a course correction that may not necessarily be better than just abandoning ship.

Now, a lay-off in a series is not always a bad thing. A contemporary example would be that the Paranormal Activity series just skipped its first year since the series debuted, and will return in the early part of 2014. However, with the prior film (still being wildly successful in my mind) being six years prior, the changing climate of the nation as the ’60s progressed; a tale like The Fly had to change and wasn’t necessarily going to work.

So in this The Curse of the Fly there is no fly so to speak, the curse is a euphemism. However, the decks are also virtually scrubbed of any connections to the prior to films only bringing in a very old Inspector Charas to fill in blanks. However, the characters who are brought in don’t contribute in a great way: the colleagues in London add a conscience, the servants in the Delambre add an unfortunate racial stereotype (as well as whitewashing) that seems extraneous even for that kind of thing; the love interest distracts from building the new Delambre generation. A generation that’s building the myth of the series by not being as far from the first incident as one may think at first. Or is it? That was murky too.

All this splits focus, however, there’s also the fact that the fly element is removed and what the threat is, is deformity as attempts of transatlantic teleportation are seriously disfiguring test subjects.

There’s less spectacle, less character, less drama, less suspense, less everything in this film such that the end, not only of this installment, but of the original series is a sweet relief. The mythology of this series is great and could easily be picked up and updated again, maybe even in a truly Quebecois version, but sadly this is an unfortunate final chapter to the original series.

61 Days of Halloween: Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013)

Introduction

For an introduction to the concept of 61 Days of Halloween, and a list of previously featured films, please go here.

Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013)

Usually with these 61 Days of Halloween posts I am usually writing about an older film. However, owing both to the fact that I want to come as close to having 61 posts in this theme as possible, and also that new horror film releases are now virtually year-round; I figured that a film being released between September 1st and October 31st in cinemas also warranted coverage.

It also warrants discussion because not only is it a sequel to one of the best horror films of 2010 (Back when I still didn’t have a genre-specific list) but also because of how it goes about being a horror sequel. It seems that, for one reason or another, many horror sequels: a) don’t take chances b) are very hesitant to stick too close to the end of the first film in terms of chronology.

However, what James Wan, Leigh Whannell and the team at Blumhouse did here is akin to a few things. First thing that came to mind was John Carpenter’s Halloween II that was very close in chronology treatment of his and Debra Hill’s story. The second, being a modern reference, is what Marvel Studios is doing. Their initial films in series be it Thor, Iron Man or Captain America have all been variations on the origin story, but as the franchises built up goodwill, and their cups runneth over after The Avengers; there’s been some risk-taking.

There’s a glorious dichotomy omnipresent throughout all of Insidious 2. After a teaser scene that takes us back in time, but is also referenced a few more times, and key to the story; the film picks up the narrative the day after events in the previous installment. For while the narrative picks up where it left off it goes down paths and alleys that are not entirely expected. It takes you there with mellifluously macabre scoring, mesmerizing edits and wondrous camerawork. It rips a few other pages out of the euroshocker (namely Argento) catalog, but it also continues to expound upon its myth building. It doesn’t do what’s expected, but none of it feels inorganic or forced. Both Wan and Whannell have very consciously crafted a story that warranted this kind of exploration. For what’s the point of a follow-up if its to be a carbon copy rather than a continuation?

I have yet to attend a double-, triple- or any other multi-film experience to mark the release of a new installment in a series, however, this is the one I most lament because I fully intended on going to but life got in the way. It’s not that I felt seeing the first film over was necessary when I walked out, it just would’ve been all the more glorious.

While a chapter of the tale closes at the end of this film (the syntax of the title is very apropos) there can still be more to tell as the film branches out. This marvelous bookend of a story also leaves one wanting more and can easily deliver it. To date Insidious: Chapter 2 is the best horror film I’ve seen this year not only for its bravado, but, also because of how it follows through on its characters searches and arcs, which gives the actors room to stretch and also expand or contrast to the prior film.

Once Upon a Time In The 80s: Sequels (Part 4 of 17)

“Leaves the door wide open for a sequel,” is a phrase that was not part of the cinematic vernacular even in the 1950s. It really does sound like something you’d say after watching a slasher movie. These films, of course, were very popular in the 1980s, but just because you didn’t see a horror movie didn’t mean you were safe from someday hearing of a sequel.
 

In the 1970s the ‘pre-sold’ product became a big thing with studios there were many literary adaptations so logically sequels would soon follow. In 1981 there were 42 sequels produced worldwide; in 1989 there were 124. By the end of the 80s there were six Police Academys, five Halloweens, Howlings, Star Treks and Nightmare on Elm Streets; if you wanted to kill someone you could strap them to a chair and make them watch these in succession. There’s probably more but it would get redundant. As opposed to the positive legacy of special effect, the 80s left us with a trend that has only gotten worse. While there are no new series that are growing ridiculously, although Friday the 13th has reached 10 [now 11 with a 12th in development], it is much easier for a film to get a sequel now such as Legally Blond which didn’t even hit 100 million, but was made on no budget so the profitability was easier to hit. Another new trend is immediately announcing a sequel: when Spider-man opened with $115 million dollars in its first weekend the studio announced plans for a sequel. Opening weekend sequel plans have become commonplace and they can be directly blamed on the 80s who exacerbated sequel-mania in a need for guaranteed money.

While the contrived sequel can be called a spawn of the 80s on the good side there is also the series. The difference is that a series is a story that is not supposed to be in one film or book as the case may be. While there was only Indiana Jones and Star Wars these films helped develop the business concept of ‘the franchise,’ more so to me than the other films than those sequelized ad neauseum. The franchise by my estimation is a designed series of films that will also be a cash cow. To me these two series planned by Lucas and Spielberg are what set the stage for some of the better films of our times.

The studios relied on the sequel for easy money because the horror films that made them all their money were pick-ups. The Slasher Trinity of Halloween, Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street were all independent productions which cost their respective distributors practically nothing. Thus, when they each took off like rockets they didn’t want to see the profits stop. And like at anytime in film history, you never know what’s going to be a hit and what isn’t, no matter how much test research you do. So they figure they’d just repeat what worked. And people went, and will go, if only out of curiosity.

While I can justify all these sequels that seemingly have no point I in no way excuse them. Because what started as just a rash has become a plague and now any film which shows and inkling of profit potential is a candidate to be butchered and repackaged in a sequel. For the most part I very much enjoy these films of the 80s, but a tendency towards needless repetition is something I can live without.
 

Work Cited:  http://us.imdb.com/List?year=1989&&tv=on&&keywords=sequel&&nav=/Sections/Years/1989/include-commongenres&&heading=8;sequel;1989

Note:  This is a recapitulation of a paper I wrote in film school. It will be published here in installments. This is part four you can read part one, two and three here.

61 Days of Halloween- Children of the Damned

Most holidays worth their while encompass entire seasons, such as Christmas, for example. However, as you may have noticed there is a corporate push every year for us to think about the next holiday even sooner. While this has many negative side effects I figure I may as well embrace it.

Since Labor Day is really only good for college football and movie marathons cinematically it is as significant as Arbor Day, which means the next big day on the calendar is Halloween and we can start looking toward it starting now.

Daily I will be viewing films in the horror genre between now and then and sharing the wealth. Many, as is usually the case, will not be worth it so for every disappointment, I will try and suggest something worth while as well.

Children of the Damned

One thing I must admit is that I will not slam on a sequel as a rule. One needs only look at some previous posts I did in this serious such as those on latter-day Halloween, Friday the 13th or Children of the Corn series to know that I at times will be taken aback by a later follow-up. I also do appreciate a thoroughly examined through-line, a sequel which either adds to the myth-building or tries against all odds to reconcile disparate elements that seemed hastily added in a prior installment.

What this sequel does is that it cuts straight for incident. However, there’s a lack of moral compass in this film as compared to the last one. While there is only a thematic tie to the original, since it is government agents devoid of attachments to these kids the impetus is eradication makes sense but is reached far too quickly.

That’s fine in a vacuum, since in this series we know that these children aren’t innocents. However, the issue then becomes extrapolating more information about their other-worldly abilities, which this film also fails to do. There are great scenes between David (Martin Stephens) and Gordon (George Sanders) prior where there is a prodding back and forth: Gordon is seeing how much the children know and the children are deciphering how much Gordon knows. In this film, the children hardly speak and for the most part are devoid of personality. The best part of them in this version is that they are more diverse. This film picks up on the notion that similar occurrences and births took place all over the world such that there is a British, Indian, Chinese, Nigerian and American child with the ability in this version.

I can grant that the IQ testing would reveal these children as gifted sooner, as random as the reasoning for the tests is, but the assumption of bad intentions is still fast. Even in making such a quick assumption this film has less incident and more running time than its antecedent.

Perhaps the most rewarding part of the experience is in the early-going you can see how films like these set the stage for things like The Omen to come about. However, as a standalone piece Children of the Damned falls woefully short.

Rewind Review- Iron Man 2 (2010)

As those who know me, and if such a person exists, cyberstalk me, know I created this blog after writing on another site, which shall remain nameless, for a while. The point is, I have material sitting around waiting to be re-used on occasion I will re-post them here. Some of those articles or reviews may have been extemporaneous at the time but are slightly random now, hence the new title and little intro, regardless enjoy!

Iron Man 2 is the kind of sequel that has a lot to live up to. It comes on the heels of the wildly successful, aesthetically and financially, film from last year. When seeing this film two things make you wonder: first, did it come too fast, and second, is Shakespeare wrong and is there really something in a name as merely calling the film ‘2’ seems uninspired. What you get in this film is not a bad product but an indifferent one, a film most deserving of the moniker of ‘meh.’

What this film does afford its leading players is a chance to strut their stuff, in spite of the built-in limitations of their characters. For example, Tony Stark, as portrayed by Robert Downey, Jr., didn’t get much deeper or more fully realized in this film but what the material did allow was for Downey to flaunt his considerable talents, both dramatic and comedic. Similarly, Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer is hysterical and has his high point when be-bopping onto the stage at Stark Expo. He is quite good but he also is only ever established in this film as someone out to get Stark for business reasons. You get the impression there is more behind it but it’s never explored. Last but not least there’s Mickey Rourke who plays Ivan Vanko, again who does huge amounts with such limiting material. There is so much more to Ivan Vanko than the film lets on. However, all the film seeks is to establish what the motive is and not have us fully understand and feel said motive.

Much the same can be said of the all-star supporting cast which includes Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johanssen and Samuel L. Jackson. Each does what they can with minimally arcing storylines, none of which ever gets pronounced or explored enough to truly add significant depth to this film. The love interests are buried until the end, the running of Stark remains a buried but seemingly necessarily evil subplot. Even the political interventions and the possible proliferation of the Iron Man suit never seems like the stakes are high enough and doesn’t add to the tension like it should partially due to timing in the tale and partially due to execution.

Again not to say the film is uninteresting, poorly executed or not entertaining. It is well-done and interesting but not nearly as engaging and entertaining as it could be partially because the stakes seem lowered in this one and almost all subplots seem subjugated and nearly unnecessary encumbrances rather than necessary depth.

In the end, you walk out of this film just feeling like you watched another tale where a few key pieces were moved into place for the next film but you didn’t feel you learned too much about any of these people whom seemed much more alive the last time around.

Similarly, in a film where the stakes of all the ulterior storylines is lowered then it should come as no surprise that the climactic battle is somewhat anticlimactic. It is well-shot, edited and conceived but it’s just not terribly compelling and it could’ve been ratcheted up. The extra suits could’ve been disposed of quicker and it could’ve benefited from a villain monologue in that situation.

The CG in the film doesn’t particularly stand out in one way of another which is almost as high a compliment as you can pay a film in this day and age. So it definitely does not detract from the experience.

With all that said it does bear repeating that this is a good film. Based on its disparate elements it was, of course, not nearly as good as it could have been or as its predecessor. That being said it was well worth the watch and good escapist entertainment.

6/10

61 Days of Halloween- Amityville 3D

Most holidays worth their while encompass entire seasons, such as Christmas, for example. However, as you may have noticed there is a corporate push every year for us to think about the next holiday even sooner. While this has many negative side effects I figure I may as well embrace it.

Since Labor Day is really only good for college football and movie marathons cinematically it is as significant as Arbor Day, which means the next big day on the calendar is Halloween and we can start looking toward it starting now.

Daily I will be viewing films in the horror genre between now and then and sharing the wealth. Many, as is usually the case, will not be worth it so for every disappointment so I will try and suggest something worth while as well.

Amityville 3D

Meg Ryan and Lori Loughlin in Amityville 3D (Orion)

Since the third installment of the Amityville series was shot in 3D that bears mentioning, only really because its 80s fare that you will likely not be watching as it was intended. For most of the film, however, you won’t really notice it as it doesn’t play to 3D in too many overt ways.

Even though for the most part the story is more lucid than the second installment and it can’t possibly be as stupid there is less of a trajectory for the protagonist so this installment, even though it is more of an emotional flat-line, does work better than the second.

Which is not to say it’s great. It isn’t, it’s bad as well but it is a watchable bad. The Doubting Thomas aspect that our lead has in this film last for far too long and the mother of the film’s first victim falls into a madness of denial we’re not geared up for based on the film so far and the execution.

As a whole its the most overacted installment. All that differentiates this is a more lucid plot, that hangs together better and appearances by both Lori Loughlin and Meg Ryan very early on in their careers.

3/10v

61 Days of Halloween- Halloween (2007)

Most holidays worth their while encompass entire seasons, such as Christmas, for example. However, as you may have noticed there is a corporate push every year for us to think about the next holiday even sooner. While this has many negative side effects I figure I may as well embrace it.

Since Labor Day is really only good for college football and movie marathons cinematically it is as significant as Arbor Day, which means the next big day on the calendar is Halloween and we can start looking toward it starting now.

Daily I will be viewing films in the horror genre between now and then and sharing the wealth. Many, as is usually the case, will not be worth it so for every disappointment so I will try and suggest something worth while as well.

Halloween (2007)

Daeg Faerch in Halloween (Dimension)

Rob Zombie’s Halloween is one of the most confoundingly schizophrenic horror films in the history for the genre. Rarely, if ever do you see unabashed greatness and miscalculation fight so mightily with each other for screen time.

You have here such juxtaposition such that I’ve revisited the film several times. A great film is rarely as compelling and fascinating as one that squanders greatness somewhere along the way and this film does that perhaps in more spectacular fashion than almost any film.

The film follows Young Michael for 35 minutes. Most of those minutes are riveting, even when there are shortcomings it is still engaging because it is brand new material. The mistake in this film was to ever age Michael.

I am not arguing that Zombie needed to be beholden to the continuity of the original series. It would just have been a much more effective tale had you examined Michael further and left him right on the brink of what he was about to do on Halloween. There was a room for it. You could’ve witnessed the trial shown more of him being responsive to Loomis before he shuts down. He could create more havoc in the institution.

And conversely the sequel could be a condensed version of all that he and Laurie go through with a lot of the fat trimmed out. However, for what the film does decide to do there are still areas where execution could’ve been better.

The first 35 minutes of the film are the epitome of horror and here’s why it gets under your skin and makes you so terribly uncomfortable: A case in point would be Michael’s first kill. You sympathize completely with Michael due to the bullying Wesley subjects him to. However, when Michael gets his revenge his assault is so brutal it’s stomach-turning. So you’re left with this unease and ambivalence that is just jaw-droppingly horrific. The same can be said for his disposal of his family. It’s not necessarily that there is even sympathy for the victims so much that his killing is so brutally assured that it’s bone-chilling.

A lot of that is conveyed through the iconic performance by Daeg Faerch. Sadly, I’m sure it wouldn’t have happened this way but I am quite certain that if Faerch hadn’t been around, this film ought not to have been made at all. Much like is Spielberg hadn’t seen Haley Joel Osment he would’ve delayed A.I. indefinitely. It’s that kind of performance a coupling of character and actor that works so well it’s rare and truly a sight to see. Think of the great antagonist horror performances of the last 25 years and this one is on par with if not better than they are.

Look at it this way, Michael is being given a face and voice in this film after nearly 30 years of silence. That is a massive undertaking for an actor. A hard role to live up to and much less excel in.

Now for me to say the wheels come off simply because the original started being rehashed would be unfair, it is a remake after all. It is how the rehash is executed that makes it not work.

Laurie Strode and her friends need a different tone. They didn’t talk and act all that much different than the Myers family. Half of which Michael killed and we wanted him too. There needs to be some added virtues to Laurie that make us want to root for her.

This is the alternate universe of a horror film where our baser instincts come to the surface. Michael is who we are most familiar with. He is the star, he will not die. There has to something special about a character to make us really want them to escape his clutches. If you’re just a foul-mouthed skank no different than the sister he killed except that you never met him why should I care?

Look at Laurie Strode in the original, yes, her friends talked frankly about sex and drug usage and things of that ilk but Laurie was honestly embarrassed by some of the talk. She kind of went along with her friends but she was not the fornicating-when-she-should-be-baysitting type. That’s why we identify with her. Not only is she an innocent but we like her better than her friends and if we want the friends to live it’s only for Laurie’s sake.

So the type of characters Laurie and her friends are is a problem. Unfortunately, so are the actors playing the parts. There is such a wild inconsistency in the quality of performance in this film that it makes it nearly impossible for it to succeed. You run the gamut from Daeg Faerch and Malcolm McDowell to Sheri Moon Zombie and Scout Taylor-Compton.

You also get small and at times distracting appearances by many actors who have made a splash in the history of horror films. Had this been a completely original tale that may have been less of an issue. Dealing with an iconic character and story it’s unwelcome.

Poor acting is forgivable to an extent in a horror film if the situation remains scary and interesting enough but quite frankly the film gets long in the tooth. It’s not necessarily that in a series you can really get pre-conditioned to a running time but frankly the Halloween films typically clock in a just over 90 minutes for a reason: that’s all you need. Whether the theatrical cut (109 minutes) or unrated (121) it’s too long, for the given story. It really makes me wonder what the edited Brazilian cut (83) plays like.

Then of course you have the ending. The open ending that isn’t quite open and has about five too many screams in the mix. It may be the greatest anti-climax of an ending that any film in the series has. Even the follow up has a better, more coherent and effective capper than this despite the fact that its even worse. After nearly two hours a screaming close-up is really not the taste I want left in my mouth. It literally could’ve been almost anything else and it would’ve been better.

5/10

61 Days of Halloween- Child’s Play 2

Most holidays worth their while encompass entire seasons, such as Christmas, for example. However, as you may have noticed there is a corporate push every year for us to think about the next holiday even sooner. While this has many negative side effects I figure I may as well embrace it.

Since Labor Day is really only good for college football and movie marathons cinematically it is as significant as Arbor Day, which means the next big day on the calendar is Halloween and we can start looking toward it starting now.

Daily I will be viewing films in the horror genre between now and then and sharing the wealth. Many, as is usually the case, will not be worth it so for every disappointment so I will try and suggest something worth while as well.

Child’s Play

In stark contrast to the first installment of this series Child’s Play 2 gets off on the wrong foot and never really rights itself. It all starts very early on. How and why Chucky comes back to life is never confirmed. At the end of the first we assume that he was shot through the heart and hence he was dead. Granted he is becoming more human within the doll all the time but this concern is never addressed. If we want to suspend disbelief we must be left to assume the bullet just missed.

Whether it was a business decision or an aesthetic one all that happens is we are told that Miss Barclay, Andy’s mom, had a nervous breakdown and was institutionalized and never see her either get to that point or where she is. It is understandable to want Andy isolated in this tale so that he faces more adversity. However, we as an audience can be let in on it so it is to an extent a piece of the tale which could be very compelling is far too overlooked.

If the first two strikes against it weren’t enough well there’s more. The climactic fight takes things back to the toy factory where Chucky was cleaned up. This battle has the same issue the battle in the first film had. You have to kill Chucky, or believe you killed him, three times to really kill him and yes, revisionists, I’m aware that he’s not really dead but you catch my drift.

The dialogue for the most part in this film is just lazy with some gems like “Get lost microchip,” it’s the kind of thing that wouldn’t even have been funny in the 80s. A new director was at the helm and it was definitely noticeable. This film just doesn’t move as assuredly and a lot of the supporting performances are just off.

The one redeeming quality is that the character of Kyle (Christine Elise) who had the trappings of a typically snotty, annoyance of a character ends up being pretty cool and an ally of Andy’s and the only other good performance aside from Alex Vincent. The parents and Brad Dourif fell into the decent categories with occasional slips to lower stratifications.

It is a sluggish disappointment of a film. The first film set the framework up for how a tale of this nature could be made to work and it was completely ignored.

4/10