child's play and toy story 4

Sometimes, the cinematic stars align, and release similar-minded movies in theaters at the same time. Case in point: this summer, in the span of a week and a half, cineplexes were haunted by several sentient toys. The remake of Child’s Play and Toy Story 4 both ended up on movie screens the same exact day. And a few days later, Annabelle came home with Annabelle Comes Home. But how do these movies about living playthings stack up to one another? And what do they want from us?

pixar short

The Films

First, a look at the film’s in question. Child’s Play is the remake of 1988 slasher classic about a doll possessed by a serial killer. The new take on Child’s Play forgoes possession for A.I. run amuck. The film wants to tap into our modern-day fears of technology, but it fails to ever make the most of this concept, and leaves one longing for the original film.

Toy Story 4 came on a wave of skepticism. Practically everyone agreed that Toy Story 3 was the perfect ending to this franchise, and making another movie felt like a cash-grab. And yet…people loved the results. Mostly. I’ll admit to being the one curmudgeon who thinks the movie is just fine, not the masterpiece many are making it out to be. In this installment, Woody has to deal with a new “toy” – Forky, a spork that just wants to toss himself into the garbage. We’ve all been there, right?

Annabelle Comes Home is the latest entry in The Conjuring Universe, and the third Annabelle sequel. Once again, Annabelle, the hideous porcelain doll, causes terror wherever she goes. What a pain in the ass.

annabelle comes home clip

The Toys

Child’s Play features Chucky, a robotic doll with a big-ass head. He’s voiced by Mark Hamill, and starts off his life as kind of a sweet, innocent dolt. Unfortunately, someone tampered with his artificial intelligence, and before long, he’s turned into a killing machine. There are a few other toys here, like a killer bear wearing overalls, but really, this is Chucky’s show, baby.

There are too many toys to name in Toy Story 4, but the main figures are Woody (Tom Hanks) and Forky (Tony Hale). Woody you know – he’s been in four movies now, I don’t have to explain who he is, right? Forky is a Frankenstein-like creation cobbled together by a child. It seems that the minute a child writes his or her name on the bottom of something, that thing becomes a toy? I think? I don’t know what the rules are. All I know is that the children of the Toy Story universe are playing God. Other main toy characters include Bo Peep (Annie Potts), back for the first time since Toy Story 2; Duke Caboom, a Canadian stuntman toy voiced to perfection by Keanu Reeves, and Gabby Gabby (Christina Hendricks), who is kind of the villain, but not really. Oh, Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) is there too, but who gives a shit about him.

And of course, Annabelle Comes Home has Annabelle, a large doll with a hideous face. There’s also a toy monkey with cymbals, but fuck that guy, he’s no Annabelle.

child's play review

How Scary are the Toys?

Chucky isn’t that scary, honestly. He’s actually kind of tragic – a misunderstood fiend who doesn’t understand why he does the things he does. Annabelle is sort of creepy, I guess, although the ghouls she summons are scarier. As for the Toy Story 4 characters, Forky is a bit terrifying, just because he’s a toy in the midst of an existential crisis. And then there are Gabby Gabby’s henchmen, the Bensons – a group of terrifying ventriloquists dummies. Spoooooooky!

Do The Toys Kill Anyone?  

Chucky kills a lot of people. He rips one guy’s face off; drops another poor sap into a table saw; crashes a car with an old lady in it; fires up some drones and flings them at people’s necks. His body count is high.

Despite her malevolent nature, Annabelle doesn’t actually kill anyone in Annabelle Comes Home. In fact, she barely qualifies as a “living doll” since she never actually gets up and runs around like Chucky or the Toy Story toys. She mostly lets other demons and ghosts do her bidding. I guess she’s lazy.

As for the toys of Toy Story, they kill thousands of people. Alright, not really. Unless they’re doing it off screen in between movies. Which is entirely possible. Prove me wrong! Forky’s tongs are slick with blood!

Hey, Wasn’t There Supposed To Be Another Toy Movie This Summer?

There sure was! It was Brahms: The Boy II. The sequel to The Boy was originally set for a July 26, 2019 release date. It’s now been moved to December 6, 2019. Presumably so they can add more scenes of Brahms dancing. The toy in question would be Brahms, a creepy little runt that looks a lot like Jared Kushner. To be fair, Brahms wasn’t actually alive in the first film – that was all a fake-out leading to a bigger twist. Will he be alive in the sequel? We can only hope.

Toy Story 4 - Duke Caboom

Which of the Toys of Summer Reigns Supreme?

could say that Chucky is the winner of this three-way-cage-match. That the new Child’s Play goes to great lengths to make their Chucky unique and distinct, and different than the original. But Nu-Chucky is a bore. I could also say that Annabelle is the champion, with her powers of summoning werewolves, ghosts and killer TVs. But honestly, all you need to do to defeat Annabelle is lock her up in a glass box – kind of lame.

Then there’s Forky. Everyone loves Forky, because we can relate to him. We can relate to his need to think of himself as trash. Lord knows that that’s how I think of myself.

But honestly, the real winner of the summer is Duke Caboom. There was a period in his career where Keanu Reeves seemed afraid to have fun. Even when he started to find mainstream love again with the John Wick films, he remained pretty serious and stoic. But in 2019, things changed. Reeves was able to break out and laugh along with us. And Duke Caboom is the ultimate realization of that. It lets Reeves be absolutely silly, and what a joy it is to listen to his voice coming out of a toy stuntman. Duke may not be as deadly as Chucky or Annabelle, but he wipes the floor with both of them. Long live Duke Caboom.

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