Director: Joe Dante
Cast: Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, John Glover, Tony Randall
Have I Seen it Before: Oh, my yes.
Did I Like It: It is without a doubt one of my top five movies of all time. It is a strong contender for my favorite movie of all time. If you’re about to say to me that the original Gremlins (1984) is better, I don’t want to hear it.
There may be films in existence that are more deliberately created works of art. There may be stories that are crafted with more precision. But there is absolutely not one film in the century-plus existence of the format that is more in line—nay, likely created—my particular aesthetic, than Gremlins 2: The New Batch.
I love every inch of this film. I could run down the elements that light my imagination on fire, right down to something I only noticed during this screening: the guys in hazmat suits shoveling Gremlins remains into barrels. I want to know what happened to those barrels. I would go through all of those little touches, but you should really stop reading this website right now and watch the movie, regardless of whether or not you’ve never seen it before, seen it long ago, or watch it at least once every couple of years like I do.
One moment that floors me every time I see it, though, before I move on to some final thoughts. The day after Billy (Galligan) is arrested at Clamp Tower and his fiancé (Cates) bails him out, we cut to a police station. A normal film would have just given us that moment of exposition to get the two heroes back into the tower. This film spends several seconds dwelling on what appear to be a group of mime criminals being escorted from a paddy wagon. These mime have not been a part of the story up until this moment. They are not of any consequence to the rest of the story, and indeed, are never heard (or, I suppose, seen) from again. This is Joe Dante and the Gremlins aesthetic. Never let a moment go by that couldn’t be filled with a gag.
I love this movie, and you should, too.
Gremlins fandom tends to fall into two different camps, those who prefer the original, and those who know the sequel is the completely bonkers, objectively superior movie. I will immediately and irrevocably like a person less if they trash on this movie. In most cases when someone dislikes a movie I enjoy, I can rationalize that reasonable people can have different tastes. In this case, if someone does not like this movie, they are proclaiming their dislike for something so deep in my marrow, that we’ll never be the same again.