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The Film: Gremlins
2: The New Batch
, 1990

The Principals:
Joe Dante, Tony Randall, Gizmo.

style="font-weight: bold; color: rgb(153, 204, 0);">The
Premise:
Six years after their small
town was all but demolished by rampaging beasties, Billy and Katie move
to New York City and get a job in the most advanced high rise in the
world. But where there are mechanical contraptions there may also be
gremlins. And post modern meta jokes.

Is it Good:
It’s much, much better than I remember. When style="font-style: italic;"> style="font-weight: bold;">Gremlins 2 came out in 1990 I had some sort of
weird purist backlash response to the movie, and I think prior to a Gremlins/Gremlins
2
at
LA’s Egyptian Theater a couple of months ago, I had only seen the
sequel twice. As a kid I was annoyed that the jokes and references had
taken over the narrative; I felt like Joe Dante just wasn’t taking it
seriously.

And
duh, he’s totally not. But being older and wiser I can see where that’s
a good thing. While Gremlins really hinted at the Looney Tunes
sensibilities of Dante (which he would obviously use to full effect
later), Gremlins 2
allowed
him to set that sensibility free. In fact, this is probably more Looney
Tunes than Looney Tunes: Back in Action, since style="font-style: italic;"> style="font-weight: bold;">Gremlins 2 is way more anarchic and crazy and
edgy than Warner Bros would allow their cartoon cash cows to be.

The
entire film is a tongue-in-cheek send up, and anyone tasked with making
a Gremlins
3
would
have to really sit down and try to figure out whether this movie would
count in continuity; the film, after all, has Gremlins breaking the
fourth wall and killing Leonard Maltin as he pans the first Gremlins movie.


That
silliness and self-referential humor does hurt the film on some levels,
though. The original Gremlins is an amazing movie because it’s
funny and scary and sweet and tense; style="font-style: italic;"> style="font-weight: bold;">Gremlins 2 is pretty much just funny. Things
are played way too comedically for their to ever be any real feeling of
danger for any of the characters. In fact characters who obviously die
in the first film show up in this movie. That being said, the movie is
obviously uninterested in scaring you, and it just wants to make you
giggle and enjoy the ride, so maybe critiquing the movie for failing to
deliver on what the original delivered on is a remnant of that angry kid
from 1990 showing his face.

style="font-weight: bold; color: rgb(153, 204, 0);">
Is it
Worth

a Look: Definitely. It’s a fun film and
it’s got some neat tricks and gags that feel years ahead of their time.
Dante was way ahead of the Tarantino curve when it came to references,
in-jokes and movie love.

Random
Anecdotes: 

The scene where the Gremlins destroy the film print (that you’re
watching!) is an homage to William Castle’s style="font-style: italic;"> style="font-weight: bold;">The Tingler. The appearance of Hulk Hogan in
that scene is an homage to the 80s. Gedde Watanabe’s stereotypical
Japanese character, while meant to be self-mocking, feels pretty weird
in a movie made in 1990. The great film composer Jerry Goldsmith is a
customer at the yogurt shop, and the just as great director/actor Paul
Bartel plays the movie theater manager..

Cinematic Soulmates: style="font-weight: bold; font-style: italic;">Last Action
Hero, Fight Club, Blazing Saddles (but
just select parts of those films), style="font-style: italic;"> style="font-weight: bold;">Duck Amuck style="font-weight: bold; font-style: italic;"> style="text-align: center;">
The
Tally

So Far

cellpadding="1" cellspacing="1" width="568">

style="color: rgb(167, 255, 170);">  style="color: rgb(167, 255, 170); text-decoration: underline;"> style="font-size: 14pt;">Positive

style="color: rgb(167, 255, 170);">  style="font-size: 14pt; color: rgb(167, 255, 170); text-decoration:
underline;">Negative

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href="http://chud.com/articles/articles/21322/1/MOD-10-28---DEADGIRL/Page1.html">Deadgirl
  href="http://chud.com/articles/articles/21365/1/MOD-10-29---STATE-OF-PLAY/Page1.html">State of Play

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href="http://chud.com/articles/articles/21330/1/MOD-11-05---IT039S-ALIVE/Page1.html">It’s Alive


  href="http://chud.com/articles/articles/21328/1/MOD-11-03---GRACE/Page1.html">Grace

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Day


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Eyes


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style="font-style: italic;">When

You’re

Dead


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The

Source


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Clairvoyant)
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Neverending
Story

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by

Fire

 

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Secret


 
 

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target="_blank"> style="font-weight: bold;">  The Brood
 

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Incredible

Hulk 


 
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Betty


 
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Blues


 
 
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Dead Heat

 

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The

Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai
Across the

8th Dimension

 

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Every

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The
Slammin’ Salmon


 
 
Gremlins 2: The New Batch