Movie Review: Gremlins

Oh Gizmo, you’re more Tribble, I mean trouble, than what you’re worth; but why do you have to be so cute? Years ago, my dad got this from the library for our weekend pizza and movie. I was, to say the least, unaware of how historical this movie is. Now, I can see why.

A kid receives a creature and disregards the instructions (not entirely his fault) and the whole town is thrown into chaos as a result.

I liked Gizmo’s overall appearance. Sure, you can tell it’s just a puppet of sorts but it was able to communicate mostly through the facial expressions. Couple that with his vocal patterns and you have a cuter, more natural colored Furby. Gizmo was not just a throwaway creature but an actor of a different kind.

As for the human actors, I didn’t get much out of them other than in the “Daddy died in the Chimney” scene. Yes, having someone close to you die during the holidays is rough but to forgo Christmas altogether? I guess that’s why she brought up those depression stats earlier but those seemed out of left field.

So, in the scene where Billy’s mom is making cookies, we can clearly see a can of Calumet. Calumet? There has to be a hidden narrative! What does it mean? Probably nothing.

The historical aspect of this film is that it was one of two movies to prompt the creation of the PG-13 rating. When I first saw it, I’m thinking “This was PG?” Yes it was, little Thomas. It was quite violent for a PG at the time and if it were to be rereleased today, it would definitely get a PG-13. That’d make more sense than what happened with the recent The Wizard of Oz 3D release where the 3D print was PG but the 2D print was G. But I digress.

The initial trailer did a good job of not showing the gremlins in their other form. It was a nice change of pace instead of seeing the alleged horror and have the initial scare wear off before even seeing the film. The reissue trailer, on the other hand, works off of the movie theater scene as the gremlins watch Snow White and has some qualities of the Monty Python and the Holy Grail title sequence with the constant interruptions.

I do give the movie some credit by having the shopkeeper show up at the house in the end to reclaim Gizmo. It’s not that I saw it coming but rather it was a neat twist in that being irresponsible does have consequences beyond having your town destroyed. However, the moment that the credits start is a bit off-putting as the cast list is already halfway up the screen after the initial appearance. Whether or not it was intended, I’m not sure.

Could it be on the 1001 list? Probably but it’d be a long shot. It’s one of those films that can be seen on either Halloween or Christmas but that alone isn’t why it could be on the list. While the human acting isn’t all that spectacular, it’s more about what happens when you aren’t aware of what’s going on and how it can affect a whole town.

7/10

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6 thoughts on “Movie Review: Gremlins

  1. The Mom terrorized in the house scene is better (scarier) than anything put out in the last 10 years. That’s what I love about Gremlins, it constantly shifts from comedy to horror and does them both perfectly. Not too many modern movies do this anymore.

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