‘Squid Game: The Challenge’ Review: Does the Game Show Stand Up to the Original?
The Big Picture
- Squid Game: The Challenge turns the concept of the original series into a reality competition, with no actual death involved.
- The tension remains high in the show, thanks to the large cash prize at stake, and emotions run high as alliances form and players get eliminated.
- While the show lacks the deeper critique of capitalism found in the original series, it still creates an exciting and entertaining environment.
Squid Game, a K-Drama created by filmmaker Hwang Dong-hyuk, hit Netflix in 2021 and quickly became a massive hit. The Korean drama series follows players that are invited to a deadly, but life-changing, opportunity. Its story is both gripping and relatable, as people risk their lives for a massive cash prize. The group of people chosen were chosen based on their backgrounds. They all had desperate situations in which a 4.56 million won (which would equal 35 million in US dollars) prize would certainly make better. The eager participants all sign up to participate in the seemingly simple games, but are in for a rude awakening upon their arrival. The childhood games that seem simple come with a deadly catch. Those who lose, die. Those who win, remain in the competition.
The Squid Game players vary both in age and body type, and all the opportunities to win are equalized because of this. Initially, the participating characters have the option to stop the games and leave penniless, but with their lives intact. They go with this decision initially after witnessing a carnage-filled round of Red Light, Green Light, but later change their minds after taking the cash prize back into consideration. The players are not only fighting for their lives, they are fighting against each other, which leads to a decent amount of alliances and backstabbing. The series was so popular that it was turned into a reality competition series. Squid: Game the Challenge takes the games and creepy environment that made the original series so captivating, and puts real people into the mix to win a very real cash prize. But does it live up to its fictional predecessor?
Squid Game: The Challenge
Follows contestants as they compete in challenges based on the Korean children’s games featured on the Squid Game to win a $4.56 million cash prize.
- Release Date
- November 22, 2023
- Main Genre
- Reality-TV, Game Show
‘Squid Game: The Challenge’ Makes For Excellent Reality Television
Squid Game: The Challenge takes the idea behind the original Squid Game series, and turns it into reality– minus the actual death, of course. The cast of the series is massive, as the show brings in 456 players to battle it out for the 4.56 million dollar cash prize. The deaths are simulated, making use of paint guns when players are eliminated in certain games. All 456 players sleep and eat in a massive warehouse filled with bunk beds, providing an even more realistic feeling to the series. The players come from different backgrounds around the world, and most if not all of them watched the original Squid Game series. Because of this, the players have come in with strategies in mind, and execute them to see if they advance. The players have opportunities to eliminate each other, as well as opportunities for rewards like burgers and other tasty treats.
Even though the death element is removed from the show, the tension remains at a high level. There may be no real risk involved with Squid Game: The Challenge, but it still feels high-risk thanks to the massive size of the prize pot. The players still have a lot to lose, and subsequently, emotions run high, and in all directions. Alliances are built and enemies are made, as the players fixate on anyone who they feel is a threat to reaching the finish line. As the episodes progress, the players also have to wrangle with the feelings of seeing the people they grew close to eliminated. From the outside, the fear of “death” feels as real as it can, and as a viewer, watching the players mourn the loss of other players is fascinating. The one thing that does stand out as a difference, is that there are no main characters to start with. The story of Squid Game: The Challenge is the game itself; it’s not a critique of the evils of capitalism like its predecessor, which may leave fans of the original series feeling hollow. With emotions high and a life-changing opportunity hanging in the balance, Squid Game: The Challenge does an excellent job of creating an exciting environment, and is an entertaining watch.
The first 5 episodes of Squid Game: The Challenge premiered on Netflix on Wednesday, November 22.
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