Gremlins Review, A Fascinating “Kids” Fantasy Film

Gremlins1

Gremlins

Directed by: Joe Dante

Starring: Zack Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Hoyt Axton, Polly Holiday, Frances Lee McCain, Frank Welker, Howie Mandel, Glynn Turman  and Corey Feldman

The thing with Gremlins and my late viewing of it is because the things that I saw in it when I was a child did nothing but freak me out. On one hand you have these adorable like creatures, referred to as Mogwai, that eventually turn into these creepy creatures that would freak out any kid. I always find it funny what films from the 70s and 80s got away with. It seems like the MPAA was far less strict back then and it shows in Gremlins and Poltergeist, both PG rated movies. I think that those two decades are some of the best decades for movies. You have directors taking control and making the movies they wanted to make and they had much more freedom than they do now. They took risks that directors now a days don’t and it shows with all the vanilla and bland blockbusters that grace the movie screens now. Gremlins is quite the daring and fascinating fantasy film that we don’t see much of anymore.

A lowly and unsuccessful inventor Randall Peltzer (Hoyt Axton) is on a quest in Chinatown to find an unusual gift for his son William Peltzer (Zack Galligan). He comes across an antique store where he finds a creature known as a Mogwai. The owner refuses to sell it to him but the owners son manages to find away to sell it to him. Randall goes home with the gift and a set of rules; 1. Stay away from bright lights, 2. Stay away from water, and 3. Don’t feed after midnight . Bill immediately has a connection with the Mogwai, known as Gizmo. Bill works a dead-end job at a bank and essentially is the only thing keeping the family a float.

After, accidentally, spilling water on Gizmo more of his kind start developing from him. This leads events down a crazy road when Bill brings it to his teacher Mr. Hanson (Glynn Turman), who starts experimenting on one of the newly born Mogwai. After breaking the third rule, the Mogwai start turning into these demon like creatures that start causing mayhem around the town. Only Bill and his friends can stop the terror that they unintentionally begun.

Having been released 30 years ago this year and it is surprising how well it holds up. I can say that even though I’m 21 years old I found Gizmo to be a cute character. While watching this movie I didn’t expect it to go the way it did. I expect this cute movie about a relationship between a man and his pet. Once the movie picks up and starts getting into the plot a little more in-depth. I knew that the rules for taking care of these creatures would be broken at some point but I didn’t expect them to turn into demon like creatures that go on a rampage.

I find it fascinating that this movie can be considered to be a kids film because all the stuff that happens in this movie aren’t exactly things that most children would be to keen on. It is rather creepy for a kids film. Although I do think there is a lot to this movie that is exciting and fresh it just doesn’t come across as a movie kids will enjoy.

I think the acting and performances all around were great. You can always tell an 80s film when certain actors and actress are in it, example Corey Feldman who I don’t think acts anymore. It always feels natural when the characters are on-screen and not forced at times. The cinematography isn’t anything new but it does a good enough job setting up the movie and the scenes. The most impressive thing is the visual effects. Practical effects always have a way of feeling real and the interactions between the actors and the creatures is true because they are interacting with something instead of nothing. Visuals now are so dependent on computer generated images that it now just seems fake. The reason this movie holds up as well as it does is because of that real interaction.

The movie is not all great. The biggest problems are the logic flaws within the movie. Why would you leave big cocoon like things just lying around your room while you are away, even I would have done something to them and not just leave them standing by. Maybe if they citizens stood their ground instead of running away from the Gremlins their town wouldn’t have been in such disarray. There not big issues but they do hurt the film in some ways. Also the rules for the Mogwai’s aren’t that well thought out and only really serves the purpose to create tension throughout.

All in all I truly enjoyed Gremlins on a first watch, any watch after this I won’t know but we’ll see.

B+

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