Gremlins – Daily Movie Review (27.12.2012)
Review of Gremlins (1984) by diretor Joe Dante
In the small town of Kingston Falls the inventor Randall Peltzer (Hoyt Axton) buys a special christmas present for his son Billy (Zach Galligan). It’s a mogwai, the cutest little being. But the mogwai, whose name is Gizmo, comes with important rules: It must not be exposed to direct sunlight. It must not come in contact with water. And it must not be fed after midnight. Of course Billy soon breaks all these simple rules and chaos beckons. Gizmo creates offspring which soon transforms into the Gremlins. These monsters are not cute at all and begin to spread chaos around Kingston Falls. Now Billy and his girlfriend Kate (Phoebe Cates) must stop the vile creatures.
Gremlins is a christmas movie. But the festival season is merely part of the setting here. Mainly Gremlins is a highly ironic persiflage of culture. The evil gremlins are standins for what goes wrong in our society. The are greedy, they are loud and they are mean. And yet they seem to get everything they want. It’s hard to ignore all the social commentary. The gremlins could very well be seen as the egomanic rich kids in our world where lobbyism and nepotism rule. This also makes Gremlins a movie, that is hard to describe: Is it a horror movie? Is it a comedy? Is it a satire? The marketing guys had a hard time catering this movie to audiences back in 1984. Mainly they centered their campaign around the cute gizmo. Of course this strategy was highly misleading, since Gremlins is a horror comedy after all. This is also why many families mistook Gremlins as a family movie and there was a lot of controversity at it’s release. Gremlins is thereby one of the movies responsible for the introduction of the PG-13 rating in the USA.
Personally, I think Gremlins is hilarious. I like the ambiguity of this movie. It is much fun to first see the dull life in Kingston Falls and then watch the order deconstructed by the Gremlins. Although you despise them you immediately see the irony in all their vandalism. Many scenes are a mirror of society. Yet at it’s core Gremlins is mainly a fun movie. All of it comes with a wink. Even though the Gremlins are evil they are not too threatening. Mainly this is an anarchistic movie that has a lot of fun and doesn’t take anything, especially itself, too serious.
If you loathe all those corny christmas movies then Gremlins is for you. There is also a Blu-ray edition of this movie. The picture quality is only average. There is a lot of grain and the look is pretty washed out. Grain is not a bad thing per se but it can be overbearing here. Sharpness is only average as well. At least the soundtrack is decent and a good uprgade to the DVD. Regarding the extras there is not much to see here. And what is there has been on the DVD as well.
My score for this movie is an 8/10.