Starring: Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Hoyt Axton
Directed by: Joe Dante
Written By: Chris Columbus
Rating: PG-13 (US) Running Time: 1 hr 46 min
Gremlins isn’t your traditional Christmas movie per se. Sure it’s set in a small snow-covered American town – Decorations and festive paraphernalia a plenty. There are real people too – but they and the setting are merely window dressing around the main reason to see this film. The Gremlins!
After a slow start, we’re eventually introduced to Gizmo the Mogwai. An adorable little creature that’s a cross between your favorite teddy bear, and a hairless cat! On receiving Gizmo as a Christmas gift from his father, Billy (Zach Galligan) is instructed to follow three important rules. Never get Gizmo wet. Don’t expose him to bright light, especially sun light, and don’t feed him after midnight. Three rules that Billy immediately breaks, repeatedly. He’s not the sharpest is old Billy that’s for sure.
So with the rules broken, the film can finally take off, and it does get really entertaining once the Gremlins arrive en masse. They are just hilariously mischievous as they wreak havoc throughout the small town. The animatronics and creature designs are great, and are still effective nearly 30 years after its first release.
This is a little slow-moving at times, but worth sticking with. The story doesn’t stand up to much scrutiny, so don’t try to make any sense of it. Hang in there for the Gremlins to arrive and you’ll be glad you checked this out.
A HD viewing at home is recommended.
Best moment for me:
There’s one shot in this film that has always cracked me up! The Gremlins have taken over the local tavern. Inside they are causing all sorts of trouble, and we’re treated to several shots of assorted Gremlin mischievousness. Then a Gremlin changes the music channel over to a blues station. We cut to a cool Gremlin – sitting alone smoking a cigarette, wearing a black fedora. Bluesy music playing in the back ground. Entering the shot, another gremlin holding two hand puppets making a real nuisance of himself. Our cool Gremlin, after hearing enough from this fool, lifts a large hammer an knocks him out.