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Billy Peltzer finally looks like he is going up in the world. The bank clerk who virtually supported his family in Kingston Falls and dreamed of becoming an artist before a Christmas pet turned his hometown into the venue for a night of chaos and anarchy, seems to moved up and in the direction. He arrives in New York City with his girlfriend Kate from Kingston Falls both given jobs at Clamp Enterprises, Billy working in the design department and Kate as a tour guide. Unbeknown to them Gizmo, Billy's mogwai pet from the first film, is also occupying the same place of work as them. He has been acquired after his old Chinese owner died and his shop was demolished by Clamp Enterprises. Gizmo has ended up in Clamp Enterprises' infamous research laboratory and it won't be long before the gremlins will be back...
Before 1984 gremlins were little impish characters that caused World War II pilots problems and first popularized by Roald Dahl in his novel. It wasn't the most successful of his works, but the term "gremlin" used to describe unexplained problem happening with machinery stuck. This all changed when an original story written by Chris Columbus, backed by Steven Spielberg and directed by Joe Dante hit our cinema screens one Christmas. When one considers the tremendous success of "Gremlins" it seems odd how long it took before a sequel was eventually produced. Between the two films the original had produced a lot of merchandise and inspired a large number of imitation works - "Critters", "Munchies" and "Ghoulies" being the most memorable. Then in a different decade and a different season - summer instead of Christmas - Joe Dante comes back on board with several members of the original cast and releases "Gremlins 2".
Apparently this was a very personal film to him and he pulled out all stops to make it as much a parody as possible. It sends up movie sequels in general, contains a large number of Dante's influences - particularly the Looney Tunes who serve as inspiration for some of the new gremlins. Everything goes over the top with the gremlins let loose on all the different departments of Clamp Enterprises' skyscraper. The result is a film that is certainly enjoyable, but lacks the rare balance of dark humour, complete chaos and serious plot of the original. Dante may have taken a lot of the original into the realm of surreal parody, but the pathos and drama remained straight. In this film Dante even stops the film halfway for a rather tedious section where some celebrity - it changes depending on whether you are watching the cinema or video versions or reading the novelization for that matter - has to persuade the gremlins to put the film back on again. The script by Charles S Haas has a reasonable idea behind it and one cannot argue about its loyalty to the original's plot. It is not a bad sequel and a fun film, but I cannot say I ever have a burning desire to re-watch it after my 100th revisit of the original.
note: also appears in part on Flixster and The Student Room
The first Gremlins film was a hugely hit and introduced us to a new type of cute creature - a mogwai - particularly the loveable Gizmo, a small creature that is the design that Furby's were copied from! He caused a lot of chaos in the first film when he accidentally came into contact with water, causing him to multiply, with his offspring turning into menacing Gremlins, grotesque creatures that attempted to murder and cause mayhem.
In this sequel, Billy and his girlfriend Kate Beringer (the wonderful Phoebe Cates) have moved to New York, but sadly, in the process, Gizmo gets kidnapped by a group of evil scientists, and is subjected to a number of cruel experiments. From here, Dr. Catheter (Lee), a demented scientists, endeavours to dissect him and find out what makes him tick. However, before this can happen, Billy rescues him, but accidentally allows him to get wet, resulting in the Gremlins hatching and running rampant through New York once again.
What's great about this film is the very distinct personalities of the Gremlins - there's a ditzy one, one that turns into a spider, one that can fly, and even one that is a genius and begins to read the news! There are also numerous pop culture references, such as one Gremlin dressed as Humprey Bogart in Casablanca, and a hilarious sequence where the Gremlins assail a nearby theatre, causing Hulk Hogan, who is in the crowd watching the film, to scare the Gremlins off.
A funny and highly entertaining sequel, and I can't deny that I love Phoebe Cates. And Gizmo is an extremely likable hero. It surprises me that they still haven't made a third film, considering how popular and well regarded these films are.
Gremlins 2 - The New Batch sees Billy (Zach Galligan) and his girlfriend Kate (Phoebe Cates) have moved to New York and are now working in a skyscraper. They have taken along the loveable Mogwai named Gizmo and everything is going well until Gizmo is captured by a mad scientist named Doctor Catheter (Christopher Lee) and when he gets Gizmo wet new Gremlins are spawned. Catheter carries out tests and experiments on the Gremlins and we see them getting intelligence and the ability to talk and they decide that they want to go out and play in New York.
Can Billy and Kate working along with Gizmo once again save society from the unleashing of this batch of Gremlins or will they manage to break free from the skyscraper and wreak havoc?
I love Gremlins 2 as the film sees more fantastic comedy moments from the brilliant Gremlins and the loveable Gizmo. The fact that Zach Galligan and Pheobe Cates have reprised their roles from the first films for me makes the film fantastic. I find the Gremlins movies hilarious and for me this one manages to live upto the same standards as the original film rather than feel like a money making follow up.
If you loved Gremlins then this is one you will love.
A review of just the film. A DVD will cost about £6.50 on amazon, although it's cheaper to get the double pack which includes Gremlins 1.
The sequel to Gremlins came out in 1990, but it still feels very much like a film of the 80s. It obeys the golden rule of the sequel - same as the original, but louder - and while perhaps not quite as good as the first one, is still an awful lot of fun.
Billy and Kate - hero and heroine of the first film - are now living in New York, working in billionaire Daniel Clamp's 'smart building' skyscraper. Gizmo the mogwai ends up there too, in the clutches of some mad scientists - and soon enough he's unwittingly spawned a whole new gang of gremlins to run amok.
The first film was a demolition of It's A Wonderful Life and its cosy view of small town life. This film has some of the same feeling - there are various 80s 'unfriendly New York' clichés, and the corporate characters are stereotypically unlikeable; Billy and Kate, by contrast, are thoroughly nice people. But this is far more scattergun in its approach. There are copious movie references (director Joe Dante is a film nerd) but it's not quite as focused as the first film.
Which isn't a completely bad thing. When the gremlins get going they're as anarchic as ever, and chaos they bring is delightful. (Although the 'smart building' was already represented as riddled with mechanical faults. The gremlins' antics might have been funnier if the building had worked perfectly to begin with.) There's a genetic science lab, which offers some entertaining variants on the basic gremlin design, such as the spider gremlin or the bat gremlin. The best is the 'Brains Gremlin' who drinks an intelligence serum and ends up as an urbane intellectual, voiced very well by Dick Randall.
There are still some tiresome elements. Gizmo the mogwai is profoundly irritating. The bit where it dances to rock n roll is ghastly. Some of the humour hasn't aged at all well. References to Rambo and Batman don't feel funny any more, if they ever did. There are also dated references to 80s comedy mainstays that no one cares about anymore: Donald Trump, health food, cable TV, and Japanese tourists endlessly photographing things. Most frustrating is a cameo by Hulk Hogan - when was he ever endearing on any level?
But most of the humour is fantastic. Some of the small details have me laughing just thinking about them: the jar of acid with the warning 'Do not throw in face' written on it, or the book title 'Dining After Midnight in New York.' It even pokes fun at one of the best bits of the first film, as Kate goes off on another traumatic childhood story at the least suitable moment. I love the ad for Casablanca on Clamp's cable channel: 'Now in colour, and with a happier ending.' It throws in plenty references to other films - Marathon Man, The Phantom of the Opera (original *and* Lloyd Webber), Invasion of the Body Snatchers, etc. And there's a fantastic bit - admittedly, better in the cinema than on DVD - when the gremlins physically destroy the film as we watch it and start to show a terrible 50s nudist movie.
The cast are all fine, although the human characters are really only there to be victimised. Zach Galligan and the delectable Phoebe Cates are back from the first film, and Keye Luke and the excellent Dick Miller reprise their bit parts. Christopher Lee does a neat parody of his usual screen persona (his subtle facial response to the bat gremlin is very funny), and everyone else does what's asked of them.
The gremlins themselves still look great - there are more with individual personalities this time round. The special effects are still cheerfully unrealistic for the most part - there are moments when Gizmo is about as convincing as Sooty - although there are a few bits where stop-motion gremlins are superimposed onto the film. At least there's no CGI.
It isn't quite as good as the first film, though. The beauty of Gremlins was how random and unfair it was - amiable characters were just as likely to get killed as evil ones. Gremlins 2 doesn't have quite the same mean streak. Hardly anyone dies, and the only people who really suffer are those that deserve it. Even the gremlins themselves suffer less cartoonish violence this time round; the film only has a 12 certificate.
But still, this is a great favourite of mine, and a film that stands up pretty well almost 20 years later. There are occasional rumours that they might do a third film. I just hope that if it happens it's better than other recent franchise revivals.
A new breed of Gremlins hatches in a high-tech building in the centre of New York. Once again, its up to Billy and Kate to stop them.
Whos in it?
As with the original, the cast doesnt really matter. For the record, Zach Galligan and Phoebe Cates return as Billy and Kate. Whilst neither is exactly going to trouble the Academy, they both turn in reasonable performances that keep the film ticking along nicely.
Better is John Glover, as Daniel Clamp (a thinly veiled skit on Donald Trump), the owner of the ill-fated building. Glover plays Clamp with such a sense of glee that its impossible not to love him. In fact, you laugh at almost every sentence he speaks not because what he says is necessarily funny, but because of the way in which he delivers it.
Also great fun is Christopher Lee, playing (what else!) mad scientist Dr Catheter. Lee is clearly having a whale of a time sending up his old Hammer Horror roles and he shamefully, but wonderfully, hams up every scene hes in!
Even more so in the first film, however, its the Gremlins who are the stars of the show and more on them later.
Is it any good?
For the sequel, the writers took the brave decision to move away totally from the tone and style of Gremlins. Whereas the first was very much a black comedy, Gremlins 2 is more like a spoof almost a parody of itself. Personally, I think this was a sensible move Im not sure the original concept had enough left in it to produce a second straight film. It does, however, mean that it wont be too everyones taste. If you expect more of the same, you will be disappointed. If you watch it thinking of it as a completely different film, which just happens to have the Gremlins name, you should get some enjoyment out of it.
The humour is much broader than the original, and will appeal to a wider audience. The tone is lighter, and its clear that the second film has with younger viewers in mind. The darker atmosphere of the first film is gone, replaced by silliness, jokes and spoofs. As with most parodies, it throws gags at the screen thick and fast. Not all of them work, but that doesnt matter, because there are enough that stick to make it enjoyable. Nothing is safe: theres slapstick style humour (something the Gremlins are obviously well suited to), out and out jokes, parodies and so on. In fact, this leads to the first key criticism. Although there are lots of film spoofs, at times it is in danger of becoming a little too clever and self-referential for its own good. (the spoof on Kates I hate Christmas speech in the original is a case in point). Yet, since the humour is so fast flowing and laugh-out-loud funny in other parts, you can forgive and forget these occasional mis-steps.
Some parts of the film have dated badly since they reference people and events from the late 80s/early 90s, which may not be familiar to todays viewers. The Hulk Hogan section doesnt quite work as well as it did in the cinema (it was, in fact, deleted from the early VHS release for this reason), although it is still quite amusing.
So, what of the Gremlins themselves? Well, theyre better, more varied and have an even bigger part to play in the sequel. Gizmo himself features much more and will, no doubt, elicit yet more cries of awwww, hes so cute from the audience. He still shows a slightly darker side to his character, though! The Gremlins, rather than simply being a mass of virtually indistinguishable mischievous green monsters, are given their own personalities. Its surprising what a difference this makes. In particular, a number of the Gremlins develop some special abilities (through various contrived means!), which allow them to do things the others cannot. This adds more opportunities for humour as the writers can broaden out the kind of mayhem the Gremlins can cause. Having said that, not all of the special Gremlins work. The Brain Gremlin (brilliantly voiced by Tony Randall) is superb. Others are wasted. The Spider Gremlin and Bat Gremlin, in particular, have a lot of potential, yet are barely used. Occasionally, you feel that the special Gremlins have been created to allow the writers to bring in one or two quick gags, and then quickly forgotten about. With the exception of one of the creatures, none have any direct bearing on the plot.
Special effects-wise, the film is probably slightly better than the original, although its still fairly obvious that were watching a bunch of puppets! However, the puppeteers manage to get them to act realistically and have such personality that you can forget they are puppets and see them as characters in their own right. The one area where the special effects are a real let down are, once again, when the Gremlins are walking. At this point, they look so unrealistic that you can almost see the bits of wire being used to make their legs move! This is part of the charm of the film, though, and, whilst it might have looked better, CGI Gremlins would have lost much of their character.
Another potential criticism is the plot, or rather the lack of one! Then again, would you really watch a film like this expecting to find much of a plot? The plot is stupid and functional its simply there to provide a number of set-pieces off which to hang the gags. If its possible, its got even less plot than the original, but since youre having so much fun and laughing so much, youll barely notice.
One slightly alarming aspect to the film is the stereotypical treatment of some groups especially foreigners. In particular, the hilarious portrayal of one Japanese tourist as a photograph taking obsessive is slightly distasteful.
Gremlins 2 certainly wont be everyones cup of tea. Some people will find the humour childish and puerile and, in many ways, thats a fair criticism. Equally, if you watch this expecting a true sequel (i.e. more of the same), youll be disappointed. The style, tone and look of the first film has all but gone. On the other hand, if you look on it as a film in its own right, which just happens to spoof Gremlins, then youll have great fun!
Gremlins 2: The New Batch
Director: Joe Dante
Running time: approximately 106 minutes
Certificate: 12 (Video/DVD release)
The critic attacked by Gremlins whilst he is doing a review on the original Gremlins film is Leonard Maltin a real life critic who delivered a savage verdict on the first film when it was released!
The problem with sequels is that it is always way to easy to get bogged down with retreading what happened in the original or to simply overstretch what was initially a fine idea into self-parody...or of course just to be tempted to throw together a piece of crap to cash in on the success of a name. The original Gremlins movie was a massive success and enormous fun to watch, with little Gizmo capturing the hearts of all and his demonic bretheren, although hideously evil, providing some great laughs and horror all at once. Gremlins was and is a great movie. But what about this - the sequel? Well, director Joe Dante manages to completely avoid the pitfalls of retreading past glories masterfully and refuses to use the name to make a quick buck. Gremlins II is another excellent movie, perhps not as good as the original in some senses, ie. in the horror aspect, but for universal appeal it is brilliant. Gremlins was criticised for using a cute cuddly main character which attracted children and then scaring thbe hell out of them with the gremlins themselves...Gremlins II avoids this by making the 'monsters' far more appealing, diluting the evilness in favour of a real mischevious party animal gremlin character. The big scenes from the original movie are retained, they are of course necessary for anyone to be able to follow the plot if they hadn't seen the original but from then onwards its all change with a huge variety of different gremlins on display here as allowed for by the story's placement. This time Gizmo finds himself in New York, and again is got wet to produce his evil bretheren who then run amok in a skyscraper building. Once again they eat everything in sight and here it also includes that from a research laboratory resulting in a variety of seriously strange gremlin variants including one super-intelligent one which talks(and sings New York, New York!), a spider hybrid, one with batwings and a female one to name but a few. T
he gremlins take over the building and again it is up to Billy and Kate from the original movie to get rid of them with a little help from the ever cute Mogwai. If the general idea behind this movie was to create a feeling of a movie which has gone completely out of control then Dante has managed to achieve his aims superbly. Complete lunacy ensues from the moment the gremlins appear and continues right up until the last moment. These beasties certainly know how to party and party they do right up until the credits start rolling. In fact, you almost feel sorry for them when they meet their various sticky ends. I should note at this point that this is NOT a horror movie, which the original certainly was. Yes there are a few horror movie elements here but mostly it is an all out special-effects extravaganza, viscious comedy and social satire if you look below the surface of the antics. Despite the feel of a total loss of control here, the objectives behind it remain clear. It is a warning against tearing down the richness of our past in the pursuit of a cold lifeless inhumane future. Chinatown, and New York in general, is being ripped down here in the pursuit of a better future and the gremlins are the unnatural byproduct of such actions. But still, you are not going to give that anything more than a brief second of thought when you sit down to this movie - the gags come too fast for you to spend too long ruminating over the deeper meaning behind it all. This is slapstick at its finest with some moments of pure genius mixed into the melee. The flying gargoyles hits a window with full force creating the Batman logo...later flying into cement and landing on a rooftop showing us how gargoyles originated. The staging of New York, New York is superb, the microwave scene replayed again...so many to choose from and all as good as the next. In all, if you liked the original then the chances are you are going to love this as well. If you never saw
the original then there is no need to before seeing this as they are two very different movies. It is NOT a horror movie, so if you come into it thinking of it as such then you are going to be initially disappointed, but rather an enormous piece of fun. Wildly out of control from start to finish, it picks you up and carries you along with the lunacy right until the closing credits and trust me, the time literally flies by. Probably Dante's best movie to date, this comes highly recommended for people of all ages, but perhaps not for younger children still despite the PG rating...but you know your own children and whether its going to freak them out or not, so you decide.
This follow up to the original comedy horror Gremlins, follows on with the scene moved to New York. The old Chinese curiosity shop is even more run down and right slap bang in the middle of a re-development sight under the influence of Clamp Developments. In spite of repeated offers by one of Clamp’s henchman, (played by Robert Picardo who plays the holographic doctor in Voyager) the old Chinaman stays put and eventually dies, giving Clamp the chance to complete his project. As the bulldozers move in the mogwai runs off terrified into an alley and is captured by an associate of Dr. Catheter (where do they get the names from) played by Christopher Lee who has a lab in the building and Gizmo is held captive there as a curiosity. Billy Peltzer played by Zach Galligan and his fiancé have also moved to New York and they both work in the new building which is the latest in modern technology and everything is controlled by computers. A messenger delivering to the lab hears Gizmo singing and whilst he is delivering something near to Billy’s desk he whistles the tune. Instantly Billy recognises the tune and finds out where the messenger heard it. In a quick trip to the lab Billy finds Gizmo and takes him away and puts him in the top drawer of his filing cabinet. Once all the staff has left Gizmo takes a walk around and runs into the repair man who is fixing a drinking fountain. Water spurts out and lands on Gizmo’s head. He begets dozens of off spring that have real attitude. Gizmo runs off and hides in the ventilator system. Meanwhile Billy’s fiancé goes to his work place and picks up Gizmo and takes him home, except that it isn’t, just a look-a-like. From then on it is fun and mayhem as Gizmo’s buddies get up to their mischievous worst and the rest, as they say, is history. Watch out for the skit on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as a Gremlin drinks some strange liquid to become the well-spoken lead
er after sliding behind a desk clutching his throat. The scene where Gizmo is tied to the rails of a model train set with a train roaring down on him will surely have you tensing yourself for the worst. But Gizmo survives and manages to escape and when we next see him he is in a gym working out trying to build himself up to take on the Gremlins. In later scenes he is wearing a red bandana around his head just like Rambo. For light-hearted entertainment this is worth a look if only to laugh at the antics of the new batch of Gremlins and marvel at the creativity of the animations.
The sequel to the 1984 movie GREMLINS, this film features the return of those zany creatures which evolve from lovable Mogwai. Returning to direct is Joe Dante, with Zach Galligan playing Billy Peltzer again. This time, rather than taking over the small town of Kingdom Falls, as happened in the first movie, the Gremlins run riot in New York, specifically in the giant office complex known as Clamp Centre, owned by Daniel Clamp, played by John Glover. The film is just as exciting and humorous as the first, and the special creature effects created by make-up maestro Rick Baker are even more fantastic than the original. What is especially good is the way that each Mogwai and each Gremlin are given their own character and personality. Phoebe Cates also returns again as Billy's love interest, Kate. At one time both Galligan and Cates appeared to be tipped for superstardom, but they are very rarely seen these days. Anyone know what they're up to now? All in all, a fun movie to watch - it'll give you a few laughs and a few scares, just make sure you have some popcorn ready to chew on.
This is highly underrated and is a sequel that in some ways improves on the original a great deal. The set-up has Gizmo being kept in a large city building at a lab. Of course it’s not long before things go wrong and you get the place overrun with gremlins. The puppetry still holds up to this day and every creature has personality and is believable. This is also a great deal funnier than the first. One of the Gremlins drinks some kind of brain tonic and becomes highly intelligent and civilised. He has no problem talking in a refined voice in interviews, his ‘civilised’ conversation is hilarious. There’s lots if insane things happening in the chaos but of course Gizmo saves the day in the end. You just wish you could have him as a pet-of course you’d just have to keep an eye on him near water and food after midnight.
It's been two years since the fiendish critters first terrorised the town of Grovers Bend and sent the Brown family packing. But eggs have been hatching and the lethal litters are anxious to start eating.