The holiday season is upon us and there is no better way to engulf in the festivities then by looking back on a christmas classic “Gremlins” it’s been about this thirteen years since i’ve seen this movie and my memory has diminished a bit which is why it was so important to do a retrospective and look at how this movie has aged in that time but also in the thirty plus years since it was released.
On this recent viewing something that is very prevalent is the lost art form of practical effects, the detail in the set design, obviously it was built with a lot of precision and i’m sure took a few weeks to build(and even longer to clean up with all the slime!) but it gives so much life to the movie, from the seedy alleys of chinatown that are illuminated in a ominous red glow in the start of the movie, to the small town that is cascaded in the cheery bright colors of christmas blanketed in a thick of white snow. The fulfilling nature of seeing a crafted set hones in not only on the skill it took but the limitations of the time made movie crews use their creativity to create a real environment. Which brings me to my other point is that the practically used on the Mogwai’s themselves is such a genius move, the puppetry that is used in Gizmo and there metamorphosis into there “Midnight Forms” allows the audience to react to what’s happening because it is a real thing. Gizmo’s many facial expressions give him tons of character development and watching actors actually pick him up and interact with him creates chemistry because you know they are actually interacting with something there. Of course the fact there are models being used means there movement can be stiff and the stop-motion in this to give the illusion that there moving on there own is very obvious and choppy dating the movie just a little bit.
The callbacks and Easter eggs are a plenty from posters of George’s Millers “Road Warrior” to Steven Spielberg’s “E.T” and “Indiana Jones” even the cocoons that the gremlins hatch from was a callback to Ridley Scott’s “Aliens”. Joe Dante love for movies is established throughout his own film as he incorporates so many techniques and styles of other genres into Gremlins, never putting into one specific genre adding to the many ways you can watch this movie either as a Christmas film or even a Halloween one for aspects of horror that Joe sprinkles into it.
Overall I enjoyed watching this movie again, if you want to get a glimpse of how movies and culture were in the 80s Gremlins is the perfect movie to put you in that decade, the flow of comedy and even the music score has heavy use of synthesizers and piano chords. I’m sure your local theater will play Gremlins during the holidays, which the theater in my area did on a saturday afternoon and adds to the fun of watching a older movie on the big screen( if you can get used to the digital projection playing a movie shot on film). I’m going to give Gremlins a “A”. If you’ve seen Gremlins let me know what you think of it and if you like what you read like and subscribe for more.