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19 August 2011

Gremlins (1984)


Directed by: Joe Dante
Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi, Comedy
Runtime: 106 Minutes
Ah “Gremlins”, an American Christmas movie seen by many. “Gremlins” is a fun dark comedic horror film and I think it is one of those films most people enjoy at least a little. Although our main characters do not have much interaction, there is nothing more fun than seeing the gremlins destroy things and have fun. Producer Steven Spielberg and director Joe Dante team up here and do an excellent job, not just with the story, but the great special effects. Seeing those animatronic gremlins in action is nothing less than amusing. “Gremlins” for what it is, is a minor classic that you will always remember no matter how much you liked it.
An inventor known as  Rand Peltzer is in Chinatown looking for a present for his son and winds up in an old Chinese shop, most unusual. There he purchases (sort of) a fuzzy little creature known as a Mogwai, and is reminded of three rules. Do not expose him to light or sunlight, do not get him wet, and the most important one of all, NEVER feed them after midnight. Rand gives the present to his son Billy (Zach Gilligan), who must suffer such antagonists as rich-bitch Mrs Deagle (Polly Holliday) and priggish Gerald (Judge Reinhold) while pursuing his romance with Kate (Phoebe Cates). Billy calls the creature Gizmo and trouble starts when Gizmo accidentally gets wet in this comic horror classic.

I think it is all the American movie references made in the film that makes it so bright let alone it's pop culture cameos. The story parodies plot lines of the past, which makes it a crazy and fun film. First we have “It’s a Wonderful Life” playing on the T.V, then there is cartoon master Chuck Jones sitting next to Billy commenting on his drawing, and even “Forbidden Planet’s” Robby the robot. Steven Spielberg makes an appearance in the film although I am not sure were.

Even the characters refer to films of the past. For me Mrs Deagle is like Mrs Gultch from “The Wizard of Oz” as she wants rid of Billy’s dog, and she even says something similar to “I’ll get you my pretty and your little dog too!”  She was an excellent character who you love to hate and was portrayed magically by Polly Holliday

Our main character Billy and his romance Kate are not exactly interesting characters and do not do much in the story other than try to top the Gremlins. Billy is just a nerdy little kid whose life is turned upside down for that night. I think that is the problem most people with the film; it seems pointless at times with no solid characters on screen. Well, the film is called “Gremlins” so I expect ‘Gremlins’. However, I loved all the small performance in the film and the homages to films of the past. Heck, we even have a radio DJ who says “I’ve had enough of this Orson Welles crap!” which refers to Welles’ early days of doing narrations for radio shows.

One scene that I absolutely love is when Billy’s mom Lynn (Francis Lee Mccain) is attacked by the Gremlins in the kitchen. Here we have no damsel in distress action; she gets right in there with the kitchen knife and shows them what for. From stabbing up a Gremlin to stuffing one into a microwave, she teaches those Gremlins a lesson. It is scenes like that which make you remember the film. It was funny and on the thrilling side and it was great to see her beating them up. 

We also have the scene were all the Gremlins are in the cinema watching Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, and just seeing them sing along shows that they are not extreme bad guys. That is what is great about the gremlins, they are not villains, and they are just mischievous monsters who want to have a bit of fun. They are the gremlin inside of all of us that want to do things that we would obviously not do. The effects were superb and as many people have said, Gizmo is no shorter than cute. Seeing him pop his little head out of that box with his big eyes was when you fell in love with the little guy, whom might I add, saves the day in the end. The Gremlins effects were nicely done. From the stop-motion use to the great animatronics, Spielberg helps a great deal.


Critics’ have overlooked the fun aspect of this film that I think is why some have hated it. The film is for me a minor classic remains fun and resonate. The characters are nice and the comedy of the film is fun, but it does not surpass this much. Its main characters may be a little weak, but it is not trying too hard. Although not 9/10 worthy, it is a wonderful film. Whether you liked it or not, scenes such as the gremlins in the cinema and Lynn’s attack of the gremlins make you remember this film. A highly imaginative creature feature.

My Rating: 8/10

1 comment:

  1. Oh memories.... I loved this a lot as a kid, and I'm sure I'll still do. Cute meets evil and so I could never handle a Gremlin in real life though :P but Billy did awesome. Excellent review ;)

    ReplyDelete

 

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