Gremlins 2: The New Batch

Dir: Joe Dante, 1990

8/10

Six years after the carnage they caused in Kingston Falls, a new breed of terror is back, wreaking havoc in a New York skyscraper.

Billy (Zach Galligan) and Kate (Phoebe Cates) now live together in New York, working at the Clamp building.

The elderly owner of Gizmo, Mr. Wing (Keye Luke), has passed on, and Chinatown is being demolished by the Clamp organisation.

Fleeing from the destruction, Gizmo is caught by a science employee and taken to the Clamp laboratory.

Overhearing a postman whistling Gizmo’s tube, Billy sneaks into the lab and rescues the petrified mogwai.

Stashed in an office drawer, Gizmo escapes but is accidentally wettened by a janitor (John Astin), producing a number of evil mogwais and a demented one.

Soon, hundreds of the monsters are running rampant through the building, causing mischief and mayhem with Billy and Kate trying to save the day.

With the 1984 original being a culprit for the introduction of the ‘PG-13’ rating, Gremlins came under fire for its dark tone and sadistic violence.

For the sequel, director Joe Dante took a much lighter approach with more emphasis on the humour.

This mode of action, greatly improves on its predecessor, resulting in a more satisfying and enjoyable movie.

Gremlins 2 has, in its cheek, a firmly secured tongue. Self-referential, Charlie Haas’s script is parody of Chris Columbus’s ’84 penned film. As a nod to the original, instead of going to the cinema, they break the film you’re watching and invade the screen. Billy’s disinterest of Kate’s dad story, is sent up with himself and Mr. Futterman (Dick Miller) both rolling their eyes at her unexplained Abraham Lincoln memory.

Prominent American film critic, Leonard Maltin, was vocal about his dislike for Gremlins and has a cameo in this, again, speaking of his unfavourable view toward the film, even going so far as to hold up a VHS case of the movie.

This sequel had a real risk of just being a rehash so, to get around it, they’ve given the little green monsters a personality and upped the ante with allowing them to gain special abilities through drinking scientific potions.

The plot device allows enough distance to prevent criticism of it being unoriginal. That’s not to say, a fair few jokes aren’t recycled as they are. A gremlin flashing at Kate is one example.

Dante isn’t unaware of the negativity that some viewers felt from his 1984 hit, so attempts to redress the balance by way of in-jokes.

It’s just more fun, all around. More humour, comedy, slapstick and cartoon-like behaviour, radiates a jollier and supplementary pleasant sensation that will keep you smiling after the film is finished.

Great entertainment.

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