Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990)
Director(s): Joe Dante
Writer(s): Charles S. Haas
Starring: Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Howie Mandel (voice
One of the best things about the social media age (a bright spot in a cesspool of darkness that towers any macabre form of entertainment), is its ability to breathe new life into something that most would consider forgotten. All it takes is one meme, one sketch, one simple thing that goes viral and a generation of people are introduced to something that was considered ridiculous or lost. We basically have the ability to build a cult following in a fraction of effort and time.
Gremlins 2: The New Batch had such a high mountain to climb before its conception. The first flick was an instant classic as it weaved humor, horror and somehow, Christmas spirit into one entertaining gem that is churning out new content, even today! However, its predecessor, like many sequels before it, was met with terrible reviews and great mockery. The story itself seemed to be run of the mill sequel fodder where we take the heroes from our first story and escalate the settings by getting out of suburbia and into the Big Apple, New York City. We find our lovable Mogwai, Gizmo, at a technology research and development high risend yes, hijinks ensue. Everything about this flick just screams escalation which is the point of most sequels so that is quite forgivable. Let’s take all our characters from the first flick and put them in the big city in a place where a bunch of experiments are being held and put them in the same predicament as the last flick with all the Gremlins running amok with so many toys around them to cause havoc.
Besides the consistent nuttiness, this movie has plenty to offer in practical effects and even the random suspense that comes up as the Gremlins transform to different animals/creatures/etc. Whatever flaws this flick had, it can’t even for a SECOND blame the actors because both leads from the first movie were just as charming and engaging this time around and completely embody the small town personalities in the big city. The new characters introduced in this entry did their jobs as far as archetypes are concerned so all in all, definitely on paper, I’m sure at this point the studio was just waiting to cash the checks, right?
That would be a hell no. Turned out, audiences actually cared about story line and the rest his infamous film history. Now having said all that, I actually enjoyed this entry for its exponential ridiculousness as the film progresses. Of course I know that the first flick is a classic but like many sequels, I respect the direction of a movie even if it diverts away from the original as long as the effort is genuine and to me, the insanity of the second flick teetered to the “so bad its good” territory which in turn was quite enjoyable. Going back to the general public however, yes, it was met with more jeers than cheers.
Fast forward to decades later when comedy sketch duo, Key and Peele performs a sketch chronicling what they think happened in the writer’s room when Gremlins 2 was conceived. What followed was 4-5 minutes of pure comic genius as the Hollywood “sequel doctor” started taking random suggestions of different kinds of Gremlins and yes, all the ones mentioned were in the actual movie. The sketch did such a fantastic job poking fun at the randomness of the movie to the point where you almost need to watch it again to confirm if all the Gremlins that were suggested were indeed in the movie itself. In the last couple years, the sketch resurfaced yet again in form of IG Reels/Tik Tok/FB Stories/etc. (I understand if none of those make sense to you but basically, it became popular…again) which introduced the entertaining silliness of this sequel to a whole new generation of fans.
I would highly recommend the following for this flick:
- If you haven’t seen Gremlins yet, what the heck is wrong with you? Watch Gremlins then check out Gremlins 2 then check out the Key and Peele sketch (click HERE).
- If you have seen the first flick or both the first and second flick, I would recommend checking out the Key and Peele sketch, then revisit Gremlins 2
Life is FAR more interesting when we take interest in things that scare us.