Saturday, August 4, 2012

Review - Gremlins 2 The New Batch

Gremlins 2 The New Batch
Year – 1990
Director – Joe Dante

PLOT – Billy and Kate are now living and working in New York City, years after the original's events. It isn't long before adorable Gizmo crosses paths with them inside the large business building they both work at. As always something goes wrong and million of little evil gremlins set loose in a much bigger and over the top sequel. 

LOW DOWN – Okay, I said it once I'll say it again. Growing up, I really wasn't into the Gremlin movies. I honestly don't know why, but I really don't think I ever truly sat through the original in one sitting. I do remember though watching the sequel a few times and remembering this was the movie that took place in the big building with the female Gremlin. Now as years have passed I slowly began to watch bits and pieces of the original, mostly around the holidays. I can't help but say, I'm more of a Critters fan. Now I love Joe Dante, in fact in the late 1970's and 1980's he made some masterpieces. I just don't really dig the first one. After watching Waxwork with Zach Galligan a few weeks ago, I couldn't believe I had forgotten such an amazing and very underrated late 80's gem. Checking out it's sequel, it dawned on me that Zach has been at several conventions I've attended and I have never even tried to meet him (stupid, stupid, stupid!) Still kicking myself, I hope that very soon he'll attend another convention I'll be at or be working at. I'm totally in love with Waxwork now, and want to show him that he has fans other than the Gremlin crowd. I've been watching a lot of Zach movies lately and I find it fitting since he'll be in the upcoming Hatchet III movie. Also to confirm I enjoy his work outside of the Gremlin movies, I painted a portrait of him from one of my all time favorite Tales From The Crypt episodes Strung Along. Trust me, if you weren't afraid of clowns and puppets before watching that will be! Getting back on track, I decided this week to watch the Gremlin movies and see if after all these years if I've changed my mind and outlook on them. First I watched the original on a VHS tape my friend got me. It was a good background movie to watch while I worked, but eh...really didn't see why it's such a cult classic. Maybe I'm missing something. I'm sure I'm going to watch it more around the holidays but it just didn't grab my interest. Hell, it's a cool movie...but it just didn't have the zing I was looking for. Today I found Gremlins 2 for three dollars at a local record store where I buy DVDs for real cheap. I decided to revisit this film with an open mind since I've heard/read that people have mixed emotions about this movie since it's very straight forward with the humor, breaks down he forth wall many times, and beyond over the top.

Just finishing it, I have to say was very impressed with Gremlins 2. The pace, setting, budget, and overall feel is ten times bigger. It still has Dante's style, and it shows if he had really stuck with directing these types of movies, God knows what he could have done. I like continuing the story of Billy and Kate now in the city and loved the idea of this huge building where everything takes place . Gives me Poltergeist 3 vibes. I enjoyed the cameos, and most of all the effects. I hold practical effects very close to my heart, and the fact that this was all puppets makes me have a huge now found respect for this film. The puppets were insane and the amount of work that must have gone into this movie truly shows. Sure I agree the movie did get a little silly for my taste. I don't mind over the top movies, but it seemed a little kiddish at times. I could understand why when this movie originally came out that some people didn't get it. I can't say that it was ahead of it's time, just...very weird. The breaking of the forth wall was ehh...I don't know, not exactly my cup of tea. Seeing Hulk Hogan speak to the audience truly was a very bold move, also the gremlins making shadow puppets. Whoa...

I like breaking of the forth wall, but something like that I think was a little too far. I did like the little jabs at the original (also Ms. Cates remembering why she hates Abe Lincoln’s birthday) The whole musical number was bizarre, and the talking gremlin had me pretty surprised. Dispute all these thins, I respect the movie for what it is. A fun movie that yes might have needed to cut back on a little bit of the zany silliness had going on. I think they tried something that was very bold, yet could have gone either way. I would have believe it or not liked to see more character development and maybe not have things get so crazy towards the end. I did love the settings, the original couple coming back (Oh Zach, you and Gizmo were so cute in this!) and of course the tongue in cheek humor and AMAZING puppets and effects. This was back when movies were movies. I think Gremlins 2 is a silly over the top movie that really could have become something else. I really don't think we'll see a part 3 even though for years I've heard some pretty awesome ideas (Like Billy and Kate being the parents in the next one) but there's always that debate of CGI and practical I wouldn't be surprised if in 2015 we end up getting a remake. God knows Hollywood can't think of anything original anymore.

So all and all I would say Gremlins 2 is a very fun movie that's worth checking out.

Three Stars!

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