Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990)

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Released 19-Oct-2005

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio
Audio Commentary-Joe Dante (Director) And Mike Finnell (Producer)
Additional Footage-Additional Scenes, With Optional Commentary
Featurette-Making Of-Behind The Screams
Outtakes
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1990
Running Time 102:03
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Joe Dante
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Zach Galligan
Phoebe Cates
John Glover
Robert Prosky
Robert Picardo
Christopher Lee
Haviland Morris
Dick Miller
Jackie Joseph
Gedde Watanabe
Keye Luke
Kathleen Freeman
Don Stanton
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $14.95 Music Jerry Goldsmith
Mike Patton


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Arabic
Bulgarian
Dutch
French
Icelandic
Italian
Romanian
English for the Hearing Impaired
Italian for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement Yes
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983) featured a memorable final segment titled ‘Nightmare at 20,000 Feet’ in which a gremlin taunts John Lithgow on an airplane. Lithgow's character is afraid of flying and is transfixed by the demonic green gremlin situated on the wing of the plane, which appears to be tearing the engine apart. Lithgow’s character is the only one who can see the gremlin and the infamous segment was an excellent example of the blending of horror, paranoia and humour reminiscent of the thematic concerns of Roger Corman produced films. The original Gremlins (1984) directed by Joe Dante (a former Corman protégé, who also directed the segment ‘It's a Good Life’ for Twilight Zone: The Movie) perfectly distilled both the elements of horror and black comedy within the realisation of the wicked mean-spirited reptilian Gremlin creatures. The surprise success of the original Gremlins, which was written by Chris Columbus and produced by Steven Spielberg, caused Warner Bros. to desire a sequel immediately, but Dante originally declined. Dante instead went on to direct two classic 1980s films in the science fiction adventure Innerspace (1987) and the horror comedy The `burbs (1989).

Warner Bros. was unable to hire a suitable replacement director for a number of years, and so Joe Dante returned to direct Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990) six years later and was able to do as he wished with the concept. Dante opted to spoof the original Gremlins film and replace the cruelty of the gremlin creatures with light-hearted mischievousness. This treatment of the film’s premise was a surprise to the mass audience, who had grown accustomed to the horror of the gremlin creatures. The production reunited the original lead actors Zach Galligan and Phoebe Cates with the welcomed addition of Christopher Lee as a mad scientist. But the human cast is secondary to the copious number of gremlins with personality on display including a disturbing female gremlin called Greta.

Some years after the events of the original Gremlins, the paper thin plot of the sequel sees Billy Peltzer (Zach Galligan) still with Kate Beringer (Phoebe Cates). Both work for the high tech Clamp organisation in New York. Back in the small town of Kingston Falls where the events of the first Gremlins took place, Gizmo is captured by some scientists who also work for the Clamp organisation and is taken to New York for experimentation. Soon enough the wide eyed mogwai is reunited with his former owner Billy, who now knows well enough to obey the three rules required to care for a mogwai: that of no water, no food after midnight and no bright light. Unbeknownst to Billy and Kate, unfortunately Gizmo has been exposed to water by chance and new breeds of gremlins are gestating throughout the Clamp building.

The film turns into a live action Chuck Jones cartoon with the gremlins taking over the New York building, which houses television station facilities, a science laboratory, a food court, dentist facilities and high tech offices. The multitude of facilities let the gremlins act out numerous comical slap-stick situations. There are a number of ‘hero’ gremlins such as the hyperactive Daffy, dim-witted Lenny, cigar smoking George, the mean-spirited Mohawk who later turns into a spider gremlin and the narcissistic ‘talking’ gremlin Brain and the bat-wing gremlin. These are just a few of hundreds of gremlins who taunt the humans left in the building.

The film is one long running joke, whereby the audience is asked to go along with the ludicrous situations. It is all in good fun, though, and the brilliant puppetry and special effects by Rick Baker Cinovation and stop motion animation by Doug Beswick Productions is commendable. The cast and crew look like they enjoyed themselves immensely throughout the production and it is an enjoyable film reminiscent of the Roger Corman produced films of the past. Gremlins 2 unfortunately did not turn out to be as financially successful as its predecessor but ultimately it is an enjoyable film filled with B-stars, horror film veterans, inspired creatures and genuine satirical comedy.

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Transfer Quality

Video

The overall picture quality is predominately clean with minor issues which certainly do not detract from viewing the film.

Warner Home Video have presented Gremlins 2: The New Batch in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio which is also 16x9 enhanced.

Gremlins 2 is a visually dark film with much stylised lighting and shadow detail. The transfer produces these aesthetics well and the film is mostly based around the colours of green, red, blue and black which are also produced well. There is minimal MPEG compression artefacting but unfortunately the overall picture suffers from grain and the picture is soft.

Overall considering the picture has no major defects, the transfer is visually pleasing and ultimately it is slightly better than most films of this era on DVD.

The subtitles are clear and true to the on screen dialogue.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

The film is presented in 5.1 Dolby Digital English as well as 2.0 Dolby Digital English and French.

There are no problems with lip synchronisation and the dialogue is clear.

The original soundtrack theme by Jerry Goldsmith underscores most of the sound effects in the film. The soundtrack consists of a variety of songs from artists including Fats Domino, Jeff Beck, Slayer, The Thompson Twins and Faith No More.

The 5.1 Dolby Digital track is produced well and surround sound encompasses the listener. The gremlins' mocking and laughter can also be heard in the rears.

Subwoofer use is subtle.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Main Menu Audio

The menu design is static and functional with the soundtrack on loop.

Audio Commentary

The audio commentary reunites director Joe Dante, producer Michael Finnell and actor Zach Galligan. The commentary suffers from silence throughout the course of the film as it seems the three principal people are also watching the film. A number of issues are discussed including why they chose to take an unconventional approach to the sequel, Rick Baker's different take on the creatures, Spielberg’s reaction to the sartorial approach, the development of the speaking gremlin, Galligan’s admission that the humans didn’t have much to do in the film and the problem of concluding the storyline appropriately and sensibly. It is a nice commentary for fans.

Additional Footage

The deleted scenes are a nice addition as they show many of the funny gags that had to be cut for time including the big musical number sung by the gremlins which is actually a nicely produced scene and the full Bugs and Daffy cartoon which was to precede the film in its theatrical run but was also cut. There is also the option of commentary in which Joe Dante, Michael Finnel and actor Zach Galligan explain the harsh editing process.

Featurette-Making Of

This behind the scenes feature isn’t the standard promotional tool, but rather it shows the cast and crew complaining that the gremlins have taken over the production of the film and are taunting the cast and crew.

Outtakes

The six minute gag-reel is also a great addition as it shows the traditional misread lines and mishaps but also the puppeteer’s manoeuvring the gremlins being mischievous.

Theatrical Trailer

Also included is the original theatrical trailer.

Easter Egg

An Easter egg is included. To access it highlight the claw on the special features page. This excellent addition includes the alternate John Wayne scene specifically created for when the film was to be released on VHS. It shows the gremlins taking over the VCR/TV and inhabiting a John Wayne film and challenging the Duke to a shoot out.

The selection of extras is very good but a nice addition would have been to actually show the artistry of the puppets and to have seen Rick Baker and his team behind the scenes.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

The Region 1 version of this DVD is identical to the Region 4 release but includes an extra feature titled "The Gremlin Files" which is three pages of information with various links to scenes of the film, as well as 3 pages of cast and crew information and a Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround track.

Considering the number of extras on the Region 4 version and the addition of a 16x9 enhanced transfer, various subtitle tracks omitted from the Region 1 (English HoH, Arabic, Bulgarian, Dutch, French, Icelandic, Italian, Italian HoH, Romanian) and 5.1 soundtrack for $15, I would opt for the local release unless the purchaser wanted the definitive DVD on the market, which would be the Region 1 due to 2 additional extras.

Summary

Gremlins 2: The New Batch is a worthy sequel to the original classic.

The DVD is well produced with a good selection of extras on offer.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Vanessa Appassamy (Biography)
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-1910, using DVI output
DisplayPanasonic PT-AE 700. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationYamaha DSP-A595a - 5.1 DTS
Speakers(Front) DB Dynamics Polaris AC688F loudspeakers,(Centre) DB Dynamics Polaris Mk3 Model CC030,(Rear) Polaris Mk3 Model SSD425,(Subwoofer) Jensen JPS12

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Comments (Add)
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