Gremlins and Gremlins 2: The New Batch Blu-ray Review

One of my fondest film-related memories of my childhood was the Sci-Fi classic, Gremlins. The film gave an entire generation a lovable hero that would be idolized for years to come, and the film fits perfectly with the wave of Sci-Fi films in the 80s. Produced by Steven Spielberg and directed by Joe Date, Gremlins was written by The Goonies and Home Alone writer, Chris Columbus.

Gremlins

Gremlins follows the story of Billy Peltzer, a young boy from a small town. Billy’s father; Randall, finds an unusual pet in a mysterious antique shop in Chinatown called a Mogwai. Deciding to buy the cute little creature, Billy’s father is given a set instruction of strict rules:

  • Never expose it to bright light.
  • Never get it wet.
  • And most importantly, never, ever feed it after midnight.

Randall names him Gizmo, and upon the first 15 minutes of meeting Billy, he spills a cup of water on him, making him multiply. The duplicates end up unleashing hell on the small town of Kingston Falls.

The film stars the young Zach Gilligan and the beautiful Phoebe Cates. Interesting side note: The film also stars Judge Reinhold. He starred in Fast Times at Ridgemount High with Phoebe Cates. The film was released long before work had begun on Gremlins, meaning Judge Reinhold saw Phoebe Cates nude before they worked on Gremlins. Just something I should point out.

On another side note, Gremlins and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom were the two films that were solely behind the MPAA creating a PG-13 rating. The film received complains for the explicit scene where one of the Gremlins explodes in a microwave. The MPAA thought it was too gruesome for a PG rating, but too light for a R rating. Steve Spielberg strongly suggested that the MPAA alter the rating system. Thus, two months after Gremlins was released, the PG-13 rating was born.

Gremlins’ unique blend of horror and comedy gave the film mixed reviews from many critics. From one second, the Gremlins could be driving a fork lift through someone’s house, the next, they’re singing along to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Even after all these year, I’m still deeply fond of the film and highly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t seen it.

Video Quality

The film has been given a VC-1 1080p transfer (1.78: 1 aspect ratio). The quality is a huge improvement from the VHS I watched as a child, but when compared to the most recent DVD release, there isn’t that big of difference. There is some Film Grain as well as few blips. While image sharpness is not at its best, I think it is safe to say that the film’s original print will never look any better than it does today.

Audio Quality

Sound for the Gremlins Blu-ray comes in Dolby TrueHD 5.1. Dialogue sound is strong in the front channel and the score fills out the Surround Sound. The Bass is noticeably missing, but I believe that has more to do with the way the sound was originally designed for the movie and less to do with the actual Blu-ray itself.

There is also a good amount of audio options for other languages as well: English Dolby Digital 2.0, French Dolby Digital 5.1, German Dolby Digital 5.1, Italian Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 and Portuguese Dolby Digital 1.0.

Extras

Any avid Gremlins fan will be all to familiar with the extras included in this Blu-ray. So, unfortunately for those of us that have already seen the featurette or heard many of the commentary tracks.

  • Commentary with Joe Dante, producer Michael Finnelli, and special effects supervisor Chris Walas
  • Commentary with Joe Dante, Phoebe Cates, Zack Galligan, Dick Miller, and Howie Mandel
  • Behind the Scenes Featurette
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Trailers

Overall

Gremlins is a must own classic for any geek or nerd’s Blu-ray collection. It’s a great movie to watch with friends and it will have you falling in love with Gizmo all over again.

Grade: B
Gremlins
Directed by Joe Dante
Written by Chris Columbus
Runtime: 106 Minutes
Rated: PG
Starring Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Judge Reinhold and Corey Feldman
Summary: A boy inadvertently breaks 3 important rules concerning his new pet and unleashes a horde of malevolently mischievous monsters on a small town.

Gremlins 2: The New Batch

Bouncing off the success of the first film, Gremlins 2 was quickly put into production. Learning from the first film’s mistakes, Gremlins 2 was far more a family affair. A lot of the strong horror elements as well as the dark humor was removed from the sequel. There was even a scene that made fun of Phoebe Cates’ infamous dark “Christmas Story” in the first film. Much of the original cast return for the sequel as well as director Joe Dante. A few new faces joins the film as well, but most nerds will quickly notice the father of Superman’s greatest villain, John Glover, and Saruman himself, Christopher Lee.

The film starts off quite a while after the first film. Billy (Zach Galligan) has gotten a job at a big corporation and now lives with girlfriend Kate (Phoebe Cates) in New York. In a bizarre turn of events, Billy and Kate once again run into everyone’s favorite fuzzball, Gizmo. Gizmo is being held hostage in the science wing of the building Billy works for. Acting quickly, Billy rescues his fuzzy friend, but it doesn’t take long before Gizmo comes in contact with water once again, unleashing a whole new brand of chaos on the New York skyscraper.

Unlike the first film, Gremlins 2: The New Batch received mostly positive reviews from critics. While most fans of the franchise were not too pleased with how the sequel differed from the dark horror/comedy mix that gave Gremlins its cult following. This resulted in the film being significantly less successful at the box office than the original.

As a kid, I was always more fond of the second film than the first, much like I did with with first and second Home Alone movies. The second one just had way better production values, and I always loved the genetically mutated gremlins, like the bat and the spider gremlins. But now as an adult, I can see that the second film is a far more hollowed-out experience than the first, and I can understand why Joe Dante refused to return for a third time. Still, the film is fun to watch and brings back a lot of fond memories.

Video Quality

Gremlins 2 comes to the Blu-ray on a 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode (1.85:1). The picture quality is fairly good and clear compared to the first film’s Blu-ray. There is still a small amount of grain throughout the film, but it looks like it was added to give us that nostalgic feeling. Much like my earlier review, don’t expect the image quality to get any better.

Audio Quality

Audio for the Gremlins 2: The New Batch comes in DTS-HD Master Audio. The Dialogue is quiet clean and crisp. A huge noticeable difference is the amount of bass during the action scenes. The score is well balanced and is well spread out throughout the five channels.

Extras

Much like the first Blu-ray, there is nothing new on the Extras side of things. This is unfortunate because director Joe Dante specifically asked that the fan-made Gremlins film be included in the Blu-ray release of the film. You can check out the video and the making of below.

  • Commentary with¬† Joe Dante, Zach Galligan, writer Charlie Haas and producer Michael Finnel.
  • The Making of Gremlins 2.
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Gag Reel
  • Alternate Home Video Sequence
  • Original Trailers

Overall

You can not be fan and not have these two Blu-rays on your shelve. The Gremlins series is a timeless sci-fi classic and is a fun film to watch with family and friends.

Grade: C

Gremlins 2: The New Batch
Directed by Joe Dante
Written by Charles S. Haas
Runtime: 106 Minutes
Rated: PG-13
Starring Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, John Glover and Christopher Lee
Summary: The Gremlins are back, and this time, they’ve taken total control over the building of a media mogul.

Also, make sure to check out the awesome fan-made short film below.





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