HTF REVIEW: "Gremlins 2: The New Batch" (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Aug 5, 2002.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein

    Gremins 2: The New Batch

    Studio: Warner Brothers
    Year: 1990
    Rated: PG-13
    Film Length: 107 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (1.85:1)

    "Gizmo ca-ca"
    This is actually only the fourth time I have
    watched Gremins 2, having originally seen
    it in its original theatrical, VHS and Laserdisc
    release. With so much time gone by, and being a
    little older and wiser, I have a very fresh
    perspective on the film. Watching it 10 years
    later, it's amazing to realize how poor this film
    was compared to the original, and what a really
    horrible sequel it would be if not for Joe Dante
    taking the gremlins antics to the next level.
    Away from the seclusion of the small Kingston
    Falls landscape, Gremlins 2 charts bigger
    territory -- the big apple! As the film opens,
    we find real estate tycoon, Daniel Clamp (John
    Glover) trying to muscle out Mr. Wing, the elderly
    owner of the Chinatown Shop. It is there that we
    find the lovable Mogwai, Gizmo, up to his usual
    When Mr. Wing suddenly passes away, Clamp takes
    a wrecking ball to the old shop which causes Gizmo
    to make the narrowest of escapes. Gizmo is soon
    discovered by a scientist and imprisoned in a
    research lab where he is to be the subject of an
    experiment. What a coincidence that the lab is
    located in Clamp's high-rise building -- the same
    building that Billy Peltzer (Zach Galligan) works
    in with his fiance Kate (Phoebe Kates).
    Billy and Gizmo are soon reunited, but Billy
    needs to find a way to sneak Gizmo out of the
    building. Leaving the little Mogwai alone overnight,
    Gizmo is exposed to water and soon the building
    is infested with a new breed of little Mogwai's
    who are more sinister than ever.
    You can guess what happens next....the little
    Mogwai's feed themselves after the midnight curfew
    and multiply into dozens upon dozens of nasty
    gremlins who are now loose in a totally automated
    high-rise office building, already suffering from
    its own malfunctions, which serves as the perfect
    playground for them. Once they break into the
    laboratory of Doctor Catheter (Cristopher Lee),
    they expose themselves to all sorts of potions that
    make them fly, crawl like a spider, and even talk
    in a sophisticated manner (thanks to the voice of
    Tony Randall).
    While the first half of the film plays out like
    a god-awful sequel that captures none of the film's
    original magic, it is the second half of the film
    that rewards its audience with crazy effects and
    satire. Most importantly, Gremlins 2 is
    filled with more movie in-jokes than I can recall
    seeing in a single movie, even poking fun at itself
    in a hilarious Leonard Maltin sendup. I was howling
    watching a Gremlin play a sinister dentist, spoofing
    the film "Marathon Man".
    Special Note: There are actually two versions
    of Gremlins 2 due to a funny "insert" at about
    the one hour point of the film. While the VHS release
    inserted a cool video breakup bit into the footage, the
    DVD retains the original "theatrical" tidbit that
    features Hulk Hogan. It's kind of sad that nobody
    did something special and original for this DVD
    format release.
    How is the transfer?
    You will be very happy to know that Gremlins 2
    looks exceptional, capturing the immense rainbow
    of colors this film sports without any oversaturation
    or smearing. You'll love how vibrant Marla's red
    curly hair looks, or Uncle Fred's red trim on his
    black cape. Facial tones look dead-on accurate. In
    fact, the only problem I saw within the transfer are
    the red panels in Dr. Catheter's lab, which give off
    an awful amount of noise.
    Otherwise, there is narely a trace of film grain
    which results in a very smooth looking transfer.
    The 5.1 Dolby Digital Mix is quite good, when
    it's in use. For the first half of the movie,
    I didn't seem to detect much presence in the rear
    speakers, only hearing them support the noise of
    the crowd inside the Clamp building. It almost seems
    that the rears were recorded at a much lower volume
    than they should have. By the second hour of the film,
    I was noticing a lot more rear activity as Gremlin
    crashes, laughter and overall destruction seemed to
    be assaulting the listening area from all directions --
    especially during the movie theater shenanigans and
    a pending rain storm.
    Special Features
    Again I was a little disappointed that Warner
    didn't do a little animated menu work which would
    have greatly supplemented the flavor of this DVD.
    But who is to complain when the studio manages to
    provide a wealth of fun and interesting extras....
    First up is a Full-length commentary featuring
    Director Joe Dante and Producer Michael Finnell.
    There are over 20 minutes of additional scenes,
    mostly not anything overly interesting at first, but
    by the time they are through, you find yourself
    helpless amongst the many zany gremlin sequences
    that you have never seen before. The highlights
    * The extended cut of the opening Bugs Bunny/Daffy
    Duck animation that movie audiences felt was a bit
    too long, becoming impatient for the film to start.
    * An extended tour of the high-tech lobby of the
    Clamp building as we first meet Forster (Robert
    Picardo). This was eventually deleted due to
    being sort of repetitive.
    * An extended scene with Doctor Catheter, touring
    his lab and looking at a vampire bat.
    * Some new sequences of the Mogwai jumping onto
    the janitor's cart, and, scaring a couple in the
    Clamp building lobby.
    * Clamp colorizing a classic B&W film much to
    his delight.
    * An elaborate bandstand gag sung to "New York,
    New York". It's amazing how this funny clip was
    ultimately cut.
    Some really good stuff here, and I suggest watching
    it with the Director's commentary turned on. I was
    saddened that the specially-created VHS version
    "insert" was not included here.
    The Gag Reel is another one of those real
    gems that you thank the studio for including on
    a DVD like this. Six minutes of flubbed lines,
    a cardboard bat attacking Dick Miller, and repeated
    tries of getting a monkey out of its cage. Trust
    me -- you'll enjoy this!
    On the other hand, The Gremlins Files seems
    to be wasted bandwidth. Not sure what the purpose
    of this is. It seems you go from page to page
    clicking on different parts of the menus to watch
    scenes from the film. Geared more towards kids,
    you are supposed to locate clues and by doing so,
    get the inside scoop. Adults won't waste more
    than 5 minutes looking at this.
    Behind The Screams is a making-of featurette
    that begins on the streets of New York as Zach
    Galligan, Phoebe Cates and the rest of the cast
    talk about how great it is to be in New York.
    What's this?! Camera crews get kicked off the lab set
    at Gizmo's request?! Dick Miller isn't too happy
    about it either! Things turn for the worst as
    cast members complain that the picture has now
    fallen into the hands of the Gremlins. In fact,
    it seems that Gizmo and his friends have ordered
    taxis and gone joy riding around the city, keeping
    the film crew waiting. In Gizmo's new trailer,
    the Mogwai gives a very stern statement concerning
    the false allegations as he starts demanding to
    be served Cappuccino!
    (length: approx. 5.5 minutes)
    A simple page listing Cast and Crew does
    not let you select individual filmographies.
    Finally, the film's original theatrical trailer
    is included. This is the same trailer that can be
    found of the Gremlins Special Edition release.
    Final Thoughts
    Though the film takes half its running time to
    become worthwhile, it's the second half of the
    film that slowly builds as Dante and special-effects
    wizard Rick Baker focus all of their ingenuity on
    the creatures, bringing the film to a pulsating
    and electrifying crescendo that will leave
    you with smiles on your face.
    It's nice to finally have Gremlins 2 on
    DVD, and for Warner Brothers to top this wonderful
    transfer off with some really fun extras.
    Buy both films!
    Release Date: August 20, 2002
  2. Christian Preischl

    Christian Preischl Screenwriter

    Oct 11, 2001
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    Real Name:
    Christian Preischl

    I read in the review that the VHS breakdown scene is hidden as an easter egg. Click on the Gremlin claw in the Special Features menu.

  3. Dan Brecher

    Dan Brecher Producer

    Jan 8, 1999
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  4. Chuck Mayer

    Chuck Mayer Lead Actor

    Aug 6, 2001
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    Northern Virginia
    Real Name:
    Chuck Mayer
    This has always been somewhat of a guilty pleasure of mine, even moreso than #1. I saw this at a preview screening thanks to some radio station when I was in high school. It was raucous and fun, and we had a lot of laughs [​IMG]
    I hope both intercuts are available as rumored.
    Take care,
    P.S. Is Phoebe Cates really THAT beautiful????? I think so...
  5. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

    Feb 12, 1998
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    I will always treasure the original "film break" theatrical interruption, because I genuinely fell for it the first time I saw the film in a theater. I'm glad Warner left it there. The VHS version just wasn't as funny. (As an aside, the LD kept the theatrical version.)

    I'm thrilled that Warner included "Behind the Screams". I remember seeing it on HBO and thinking it was one of the funniest PR pieces I'd ever seen. The only one I've seen that equals it is the piece done with the cast of A Fish Called Wanda, which remains sadly unavailable.

    Unlike Ron I've always enjoyed the first half, but that's probably because I used to work in The Clamp Building -- not literally, but the NYC office building used for the exterior and some of the lobby shots. The same building is used in The Fisher King.

  6. Dean Kousoulas

    Dean Kousoulas Second Unit

    Jul 15, 2002
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    Can anybody please explain what replaced Hulk Hogan's cameo on the VHS version?

  7. Richard Waller

    Richard Waller Second Unit

    Oct 24, 2001
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    According to the Internet Movie Database:

    The cinema version featured Hulk Hogan shouting at the gremlins to start the film again; the video version features John Wayne.
  8. Dan Brecher

    Dan Brecher Producer

    Jan 8, 1999
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    Indeed, it cuts to a John Wayne clip. There is also tv static instead of the film reel breaking. Since it's there as an easter egg you will see it.

  9. Kenneth Cummings

    Kenneth Cummings Supporting Actor

    Aug 7, 2001
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    Going to have to get both of them. I have a little charm for that talking Gremlin leader, wish he didn't die either.
  10. Matthew Kiernan

    Matthew Kiernan Stunt Coordinator

    May 13, 2001
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    The VHS version of the "Film Break" scene is indeed included on the DVD. It's an Easter Egg. I guess Ron didn't bother looking for one!
  11. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

    Mar 15, 1999
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    Houston, Texas
    Real Name:
    John Williamson
    Clamp office building automatic voice...
    "Mister, welcome to the MEN'S room!" [​IMG]
    I'm all over this one! Great review Ron as usual. [​IMG]
  12. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein
  13. Robert Ringwald

    Robert Ringwald Cinematographer

    May 16, 2001
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    "Whoa, I hope you washed your hands..." - Electronic Person Guy - Gremlins 2: The New Batch
  14. Joseph J.D

    Joseph J.D Cinematographer

    Dec 4, 2001
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    I was going to hold off on both Gremlins films due to the boxset craziness on September 3rd....but after reading your review, I'm just going to have grit my teeth and buy them anyway.[​IMG] Good Review Ron.
  15. Darren Davis

    Darren Davis Stunt Coordinator

    Oct 9, 2001
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    Both of these are so mine! Glad to see them get a nice DVD treatment.
  16. JeremySt

    JeremySt Screenwriter

    Aug 19, 2001
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    Real Name:
    I think I might like Gremlins 2 better than Gremlins.:b I'll be picking them both up. My biggest gripe is the altered cover art on both DVDs. The Gremlins 2 cover is cute-i-fied.
    [​IMG] [/IMG]
    The VHS version is on the DVD, so it should be noted in your review.
  17. Andy Olivera

    Andy Olivera Screenwriter

    Jul 25, 2000
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  18. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

    Feb 8, 2002
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    Real Name:
  19. David Tolsky

    David Tolsky Supporting Actor

    Sep 3, 1999
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    Well, I'll have to pick this one up as I have very fond memories of it. It had a 40 million dollar budget which at that time was a lot of money. It was the biggest budget feature I ever worked on (second assistant camera) and remains so to this day. Aside from the 2 weeks in New York, the remainder was shot on sound stages at Warner Bros., the biggest stage (stage 16) was the entire Clamp Building and mall.
    Best of all, I got to meet Rick Baker who I had admired for many years. He was great to work with, very professional and had his puppeteers trained well. I still have a miniature foam gremlin that was used in the final electrocution scene.
    I'll be picking this up and probably the first movie as well.

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