Monday, December 22, 2014

GREMLINS

Here's a Christmas classic that I've always wanted to review, this is...




For the few of you who haven't seen this movie, it is indeed a Christmas Movie! It takes place at Christmas time; it has a Christmas Holiday look and feel; the good Gremlin is a Christmas present; the evil Gremlins get into the Christmas fun in a very twisted way; and we even get a brutal out of nowhere back story about the main character's love interest on why she hates Christmas and found out why Santa's not real. If that's not a Christmas film for you, then I don't know what is! Getting to the film's plot, it's Christmas time and a struggling inventor (Hoyt Axton) buys his son Billy (Zach Galligan) a rare species called a Mogwai as an early Christmas present. Billy and his pet Mogwai named Gizmo have a really cute and heartwarming relationship; however, Billy breaks the three important rules of taking care of a Mogwai.The first rule is he's afraid of bright lights, and sunlight will indeed kill it, if he's not careful. The second rule is to never get it wet, because it will produce more Mogwai. On top of it all, you should NEVER FEED IT AFTER MIDNIGHT! If you do, they'll turn into evil monstrous Gremlins that will kill and cause chaos on the town.


 


What makes the film very different and unique for a family film is the change in tone throughout the movie. It starts out as a very cute and funny family movie. Gizmo I swear is one of the cutest creatures I've ever seen in film. The creative and cute design; the cute voice (Provided by Howie Mandall); its beautiful singing; and its innocent and harmless personality makes you wish that this creature was real. The effects for Gizmo are really great and look life like. In this day and age, they would use CGI to create this character, but instead, we have puppets and animatronics that are so amazing, that it makes you wonder what happened to the heart of creating great effects that look real?! As for the film's comedy, it's everywhere. I mean there are so many cameos and Science fiction references that you'll have to watch the film more than once to catch them all!




Once water gets spilled on Gizmo and starts producing 6 other Gremlins, things go from tense to horrifyingly sadistic once the Mogwai's turn into Gremlins. The design, stop-motion, puppetry, and animatronics for these evil creatures are so creative, scary, and life like that its jaw dropping! This film seriously has great special effects, that are even impressive by today's standard's, despite you can tell how half of those tricks were done! The Gremlins, while being very scary, they are still a lot of fun to watch. Just seeing them cause trouble, kill people, hanging out in a bar, and watching a movie together are really fun, but at the same time very dark scenes. The leader of The Gremlins Stripe is such a great leader of these vicious creatures that he seems unstoppable, and being voiced Frank Welker (Who's voiced famous villains from our childhoods like Dr.Claw and Megatron) gives this villain an extra bonus of being a scary and intimidating leader. While the murders and the scares are treated in a very comical way, I find it very tense, sadistic, and graphic for a family audience. People are being murdered by Gremlins; the Gremlins themselves are very scary and frightening; the thrills, suspense, and jump scares are probably more than what kids can handle; seeing the Gremlins graphically being killed is gruesome; and the film tells kids that there is no Santa Claus during a very dark back story! That of course is part of the awesome factor of this movie, but I do think it's taken a little too far for a family film.


 

While I do love this movie a lot, it does have a few major flaws. The film has rules for these creatures, but not only do the characters break the rules, but the film does too. The first rule is to keep them away from light, which is done accurately, except for the scene when the Gremlins are smoking. If they're afraid of bright lights, and are extremely afraid of a lit match, how are they able to light the cigarettes that they're smoking? Second rule, don't get it wet, or it will multiply! How are they able to drink beer, and stand on Snow without multiplying? Does it have to be pure water? It seems that way, but the film never really explains it. Final rule, DON'T FEED IT AFTER MIDNIGHT! Plenty of critics have bashed that rule since it's always after Midnight, and while it doesn't bother me, my only question is WHEN IS IT OK TO FEED THEM? I assume it's around Daylight, but it's never really explained. While these are big flaws, I personally can't help but overlook them, since the film is so entertainingly awesome!




Finally, we move on to the human characters. Zach Galligan does a fine job at playing our main character, and does a natural job at interacting with all the characters in the movie, especially with Gizmo. His love interest Kate (Phoebe Cates) outside of her powerful and sadistic monologue about her back story with Santa and Christmas, she's pretty boring and bland. Hoyt Anxton as the Father, is a really fun character and performance, and seeing the many inventions he makes that fail is endlessly funny. Frances Lee McCain as the Mother is not only really natural at playing the character, but seeing her take out the Grermlins in the Kitchen is one of the best scenes in the movie! And Keye Luke as the wise old man who owns Gizmo, gives a really great performance, and despite only seeing him  the first scene and last scene of the movie, he still manages to leave a really big impression on you. There are many other characters to talk about like Billy's friend; the teacher that studies the Mogwais; the next door neighbors the Futtermans; and the ignorant idiot cops who are just as fun and amusing as the Gremlins are, but you'd be reading this for awhile. I will say that my favorite out of the supporting characters is the nasty old woman Mrs. Ruby Deagle played by Polly Holliday, who is so unlikable and mean as some like Scrooge or old man Potter, that you pray for the Gremlins to get her at some point in the movie.

While some of the film's logic doesn't make sense, as well as being a little too dark, heavy, and tense for kids, it's still a really good movie. It's entertaining from beginning to end; the characters are all fun and memorable; the effects for the Gremlins are cool; the Gremlin Gizmo is highly adorable; and the Gremlins themselves have the perfect mix of being fun and scary at the same time.

RATING 4/5

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