Hello, Spongey here.
The year is winding down, and I’ve only got one last scene by scene review for the year after this. Yeah, we’re not doing the bad Christmas movie review this year due to other projects getting in the way. I do have a possible slot open but I’ll use that for a break while I work on those projects.
Sometimes I’ll do some random bad movie before December hits but I think I deserve something fun this time. And it’s a sequel to a Christmas movie, even if this one isn’t as Christmas-y as the previous one, from what I understand. Last Christmas, I reviewed Gremlins which was a pretty fun romp all around.
Despite, or perhaps because pf, its tonal oddities it became a big hit so of course Warner Bros wanted a sequel. However, Joe Danger initially declined because he thought the story had a true ending. They tried to move on without him, trying out other directors but they all fell through so they went back to Dante. He finally agreed after he was told he would get full creative control.
Now that doesn’t happen every time. Releasing in 1990, the result was a sequel considered to be pretty wild, being full of meta humor and doing all sorts of crazy things instead of doing the more traditional things. The reception was still positive but a bit more mixed but nowadays it’s appreciated more for the wild approach. Box office wasn’t as kind though, making only 41 million on a 50 million budget. Ouch. Of course nostalgia has made them want to try again with this franchise with no real dice until that HBO Max show that will hopefully come eventually.
I’ve never seen this, just heard about it. I’ve seen clips here and there so I have had certain great moments spoiled for me. Still, should hopefully be fun either way. While Dante returns to direct, we have a new screenwriter with someone whose only other credited I recognized is Dante’s own Matinee.
So let’s see if this new batch can make for a fresh fun sequel.
This, is Gremlins 2: The New Batch
We naturally start with the Warner Bros logo…which has Bugs Bunny sitting on it. Daffy Duck then pops up and tries to steal his spotlight. Yeah, we’re basically starting with a quick cartoon to set the tone. It’s pretty amusing and sets us up for what we’re about to get into. Plus, it’s basically a preview for Dante’s Looney Tunes Back in Action, which is good btw.
The movie truly starts similar to the first one, with the shop owner Mr. Wing being visited, this time by someone speaking on behalf of billionaire Daniel Clamp. He wants to buy out his shop to tear it down and have it be part of his Chinatown project or something. This is is another one of those common clichse that just happens to be somewhat true to life.
Wing naturally declines but the guy tells a lackey that Mr. Wing was coughing pretty badly so they don’t wait too long for another chance to take his shop. Well we’re already setting the rich people up to be more evil than the gremlins. We cut to six weeks later as the prophecy has come to pass and Mr. Wing has passed away.
Well that was unceremonious. I can buy he simply died of old age but it’s still a bit sudden.
Now Clamp’s company has room to tear down the building which they do but for some reason never bothered to look through first as Gizmo has to escape as not to be demolished with it. The way he runs is super adorable btw. One worker spots Gizmo and takes him.
Meanwhile, we rejoin Billy and Kate as the former has had a job at Clamp Industries for a while now and isn’t happy since he’s not treated very well. They don’t let him have a picture of his home town in his office since every office has boring shapes for art by “recognized” artists. They work overtime to really make you want this place to be really messed up later. Oh and Kate works there too as a tour guide.
One of the many things the company owns is a cable network and we see a 2 am block of monster movies being filmed with host Grandpa Fred, played by Art Car-I mean Robert Porsky. Yeah I know who that joke is largely in reference to but this is my only chance to make it, dang it!
Billy visits him as Fred is unhappy with his current situation and goes on about the company, informing us they’ve been doing weird genetic research. Also, Clamp only likes color movies so he’s quite uncultured on top of everything else.
We cut to that research lab, and meet the chief researcher Dr. Catheter, played by Christopher Lee, awesome. And here’s an out of context line:
“I’ve got rabies and I’m supposed to get the flu this week”
I think we just found the origin of Covid-19.
This is where Gizmo has been brought to and they’ve been poking and prodding at him. Billy learns of this very quickly because he hears someone whistling a tune that Gizmo likes which they happened to discover Gizmo’s love of and he overheard while near the lab. It’s rather contrived but whatever.
He is able to make it there and sees the wild stuff they are working on. He quickly snatches up Gizmo and finds out through him about Mr. Wing’s death. Wait, how did he not hear about it? They showed us a news report on it and everything!
Billy hides Gizmo in his office, where it is visited by Daniel Clamp himself. Apparently he is based on Donald Trump and I am not touching that one given my timing on this. I won’t even touch the deleted scene with a line where someone says Clam would make a great president. ….Yes, that’s real.
He sees what Billy is working on and is actually impressed, as is his superior Marla Bloodstone. What a name. She even invites him out to dinner for a “meeting” which he eventually upsets, and I can’t see anything bad happening from that at all.
To drive that further, he leaves Gizmo in the office and goes to tell Kate she gets to bring Gizmo home. But of course not going to get the creature right away leads to him sneaking out. He walks by someone fixing a water foutain and it strays to spray on one of Billy’s project, so Gizmo tries to save it but of course gets some water on him, uh oh. Okay that was sort of contrived but the exact way he got water on him was alright.
Some wild mogwai pop out and start to cause trouble. Also apparently two of them are named George and Lenny, a bit weird but amusing. They lock Gizmo in the vents and Kate takes one of the others home instead. It’s been a while since she’s seen Gizmo so I’ll let this slide. One of them is named Daffy and based on the laugh of this one, I assume this is him.
Billy arrives home and sees that this is not Gizmo so they gotta get back to the office to get the real deal. They head there and discover that the others are at the building’s food court. After midnight. Wait this place is open this late to begin with?
Billy tries to do some thing that will prevent them from getting wet but he is caught by security and lead out. He doesn’t buy his story even though I feel they should be hearing about a rampage over at the food court. When Billy is allowed to leave, it is 6 am and the creatures are starting to hatch out of the cocoons and become gremlins.
Billy goes to some guy and explains what is going on but shock of all shocks, he doesn’t believe him. Some of his associates even go as far as to steal my job!
“What if they’re eating in an airplane and it crossed a time zone? I mean it’s always midnight somewhere”
Apparently bits like this are based on actual fans questions they got which is pretty amusing. For one, it proves nitpick-y fans are not at all a new thing. Af is on cue, a gremlins attacks that guy. Billy wards it off with some bright light but soon other parts of the building get infested with gremlins.
They attack the set of a coking show, where they turn on the sprinklers to create even more gremlins. We see one take on a secretary role to attack Clamp, which is great. He’s able to shred it, which I guess is one way to do it. Billy tells Clamp what is going on and while he agrees it should be taken care of, he wants to keep it more on the down low, likely to protect his reputation or whatever.
I’m looking forward to seeing more of the building get trashed.
Elsewhere, critic Leonard Maltin is hosting a show where he is currently reviewing Gremlins. Yes, this actually happens. And he gives more or less the same negative review he gave in real life, and the gremlins attack him. That is amazing. Although, how does the movie Gremlins exist in this universe?
One of them breaks into that lab and drinks a serum that makes it grow plants on it. A bit under whelming honestly.
“What are they, Martin?”
Huh, my joke from earlier wasn’t far off. Another one drinks a different one and becomes super smart, with the voice of Tony Randall. Now that’s better. Another one drinks it and grows bat wings. Damn this place really did cause corona. Brain Gremlin hits Bat Gremlin with a thing that curses his allergy to sunlight and he calls themselves an “ethnic group”. Not touching that one. Also, he doesn’t give it to anyone else for some reason.
They start running amuck and the Bat Gremlin gets outside where it attacks the Futterman neighbors from the first one, who were visiting. Murray manages to defeat it by himself, which is awesome.
Billy approaches Christopher Lee who is horrified by all this and sees that dabbling in god’s domain is bad and yada yada.. And then…the gremlins mess with the film and replace it with some old short. Again, not kidding, we get more amazing 4th wall antics.
We see even a mom storm out of a theater showing the movie, complaining about the content, saying it’s “worse than the first one”. I love how she still saw this one anyway. Also the Lenoard Maltin segment would have made more sense to put around here.
Anyway, an usher calls in Hulk Hogan to stop the gremlins. Yet again, not kidding. Honestly this would still be one of the better theater experiences I’ve heard about. This scene was changed for the VHS release for obvious reasons but I guess the theater version is common enough for it be the one I had.
Also, the novelization has them attacking the author which is great.
The movie starts back up and one of the gremlins becomes a woman. Yet another thing I will not touch. Especially not how it basically sexually assaults one guy. There’s just a lot fun antics here that are hard to recap without just listing all the jokes. I will single out the part where Gizmo escapes after being captured and starts to train to face off against the others but lifting a weight results in crashing through the floor and a very Looney Tunes gag that made me laugh.
There’s an electric gremlin that gets trapped in an answering machine. Now that’s a fate worse than death. This happens while Billy is visiting Clamp, as they think of a plan to kill the gremlins. They want to trick them into thinking the sn is down so they can lure them to the lobby and kill them with light.
“We should make our move at say, 4:20”
“Oh I like that”
The way he said that makes me think they knew what they did there.
Clamp has to do his part from the outside so he uses his secret exit to leave and Murray uses it to sneak in.During all this, Grandpa Fred is filming it all and he even interviews Brain Gremlin. Apparently he just wants “civilization” but still has no issue with freaking shooting one of his own while admitting it is not civilized.
Actually that does sum up human civilization these days.
Billy gets captured but Murray shows up to save him. Then they remember Kate and Marla exist as the latter is caught in a we b caused by a spider gremlin. Kate found out about their date in a bit i skipped and got mad and here they patch things up with Marla saying it didn’t go past first base and it was mostly business. This is enough to convince her.
Yeah, this is not my favorite part of the movie but I’ll cover that at the end. Turns out that spider gremlin is the leader one dubbed Mohawk, as he drank some serum. He’s basically our discount Stripe for this one. Thankfully Gizmo finished his training and goes all Rambo on his ass, killing him. Awesome but a bit early to kill of the leader one, eh?
With them saved, Murray tells them not to give up since Lincoln didn’t give up and this makes Kate launch into a spoof of that scene in the first one where she goes into a traumatic experience involving Lincoln. I think it being about as out of the place as the actual original scene just makes it funnier.
Then the gremlins gather in the lobby to since New York New York. Sure, why not. I’d buy a gremlins album, ngl.
Outside, Clamp plans to put a sheet over the building to make the gremlins think it’s dark so when they come out, the sun will get them. But it’s ruined when it starts to rain. So as a backup Billy turns out the sprinklers while releasing the electric gremlin, which electrocutes and melts them all.
Well, it’s a creative solution and I guess it makes a certain amount of sense. I can’t think of anything better so yeah, I’ll accept this. With that, it’s all over and Clamp comes in with the authorities. He gives everyone promotions, it seems like he’ll shag up with Marla out of nowhere and he doesn’t seem to be getting any punishment for anything.
Another thing that’s just a bit too true to life, and has not aged well. He does seem to have learned something at least, and even wants to build something closer to Billy’s home town and brings things back to Earth.
Our heroes happily go home and Clamp gets a call from from one of his goons, who is trapped in the top floor of the building. With the female gremlin who is still alive and very horny, setting up a wedding. ….That’s not my ideal way to end a movie but either way that is indeed the very end of all this.
But through the credits, Daffy returns to comment on how long they are, asking why we’re still here, ha ha. Then Porky tries to close us but Daffy takes over. That’s funny, that’s all I can say.
This was a pretty fun sequel but I didn’t quite like it as much as the first one. That’s to eb expected but it is a valiant effort. My main problem is that it can be slow to start at times. I get that they gotta build things up but compared to the first one which at least built up atmosphere, this was just kinda slow.
It feels a bit too long as even some of the antics can slightly tiring towards the end, I would have chopped off a few bits here and there. While I can see that they were trying to add substance, the stud with Marla is not only cliche but feels very tacked on and under developed, being hastily wrapped up. I feel like there’s other ways they could have added substance to the story.
It probably needed it since I get why they felt there needed to be a bit more to with the film otherwise focusing even more on the wild antics. That stuff aside it is pretty enjoyable. It follows the general structure of the first one but mixes thing up with the setting and how they used it.
The slow start allows them to really build up this building and satirize cooperate stuff, adding in some good jokes and making it even better once it starts getting wrecked. They get as much as they possibly could out of this location. Clamp was pretty fun, as John Glover is able to push his not so desirable traits while also giving him a certain fun charm.
There’s of course a lot of creativity with the new types of gremlins and there’s plenty of fun things they do with all that. They get to go hog wild in cool ways. I also naturally like the added meta humor and how they mock parts of the first movie. It can all be a bit much at times but for the most part they are able keep things up.
It does have some of the sequel pitfalls here and there, and could have been tightened up here and there. But overall, Gremlins 2 is a solid sequel that is able to do fun new things with the concept and even poke some fun at itself. It doesn’t quite mach the first one but compared to a lot of sequels, it gives it a good try and the best stuff is about as good at times.
I personally prefer the weird family/comedy/horror mix of the first one but this overtly funny take is still pretty valid. I feel if the y tried to capture all that again, it may have come across as a shallow imitation. As it is, not great but still pretty good.
Always good to review a good movie and this was a fun break from after Vampire Dog. Looking forward to that HBO Max show, btw. As for next time, it’ll be December. I can’t fit in a bad movie so we’ll be skipping to the big good one.
And for it, let’s finally do Home Alone.