“One, two, three, four, five new ones. NOW can I have one?”Review by Lewis Goodall
Apart from Gromit and the monkey in ‘Spymate’, I dont think there is an on screen animal I would want to have as a pet more than Gizmo. He would sing for me, watch movies with me, he’s the ultimate companion! Plus with a pet I’m sure to forget to feed them, so the rule of not feeding him past midnight would be perfect. I’ve already had a hamster in the past that died of neglect so I know for sure it wouldn’t happen this time.
Gremlins (1984), directed by Joe Dante is the story of an awkward teen named Billy Peltzer (Zach Galligan), son to the not so famous inventor, Randall (Hoyt Axton). Whilst out on a sales pitch to sell his latest invention, Randall heads into an antique shop where he purchases a Mogwai (Gizmo) for his son for Christmas. Purchasing the Mogwai, the creature comes with three very important rules.
- Dont put them in bright light, it can kill them.
- Dont get them wet
- The most important rule, DONT feed them after midnight.
Billy gets the Mogwai and names him Gizmo. The rest of the story is showing the effects on billy and the town when Billy inadvertently breaks all 3 of these rules.
I completely forgot how much of a Christmas film this was, I remembered that Billy gets Gizmo as a pet for Crimbo but I forgot the whole plot takes place on that time. This film is marked as a horror but it definitely is not, unless you have a fear of the 80’s or films then this film is definitely more a comedy. The comedy within the film falls directly on the Gremlins themselves, but let’s not jump ahead, let’s start at the beginning.
So as mentioned, Billy gets Gizmo as a pet with a warning of the three sacred rules to help take care of him. Instantly we learn with the help of mum taking a family photo, that the bright light rule is one to listen to as it hurts and scares poor Gizmo. Sad face :(. We then discover the rule of not getting him wet as a glass of water is spilt on Poor Gizmos back ( one evening with this family and already someone should be calling the RSPCA). The water makes Gizmos back react and squirt out 5 little fur balls, each producing a new Mowgai (none are as cute as Gizmo). Now. The most important rule, the rule that puts the other rules to shame, the rule of not feeding them after midnight. After Billy is unaware of the time, he foolishly gives the new five beasts some chicken legs to feast on. From there the five of them go through a metamorphosis into a GREMLIN!! An evil, scaly nuisance which remind me of the weasels in ‘who framed roger rabbit’ but more threatening. From there the Gremlins start to reek havoc upon the town.
Possibly the aspect the sticks out the most for me is that all the effects in this film are practical, all the gremlins are puppets. It’s the 80’s where people actually put time and effort into the effects of a film. CGI nowadays is good yes, but, you cant beat practical effects, they always hold up. It’s one of the reasons that ‘The Thing’ is one of my favourites (3rd favourite actually) is because to this day, the special effects look great and somehow the 2011 prequel to ‘The Thing’ looks worse than the original even though it came out 29 years afterwards! I’m going really off track. I need to stop bringing up ‘The Thing’ in my reviews cause I cant stop. My point is that Gizmo and the gang look fantastic to this day, although maybe a bit goofy because they’re puppets but nonetheless, they still look real and thats what I feel makes them so funny. Watching these goofy evil looking reptiles singing christmas Carols hits right in the gut and makes it’s a classic.
Honestly in terms of the other aspects of the film, I’d be as critical as saying that they are pretty lackluster. I don’t think I laughed at a part that didnt include the gremlins even though I definitely saw there was meant to be a punchline there. The acting is very 80’s if that makes any sense. Although saying this, I completely forgot that the main theme song hits hard, my god that is an iconic bit of 80’s horror theme music. So in terms of the film, excluding the gremlins and practical effects, it’s a pretty easy going film with an easier script but in no way is that a bad thing, in a way it’s good that everything is pretty mellow so it contrasts with how over the top the gremlins are.
Overal this is a perfect Christmas film and I forgot how much I loved it and itll be becoming a Goodall tradition to watch this every year alongside ‘Elf’ and ‘Die Hard’. I will say this, I hope to god they never make a remake of this. You just know they would use CGI and it would not have the same effect as the real thing. LEAVE IT ALONE HOLLYWOOD!!!