4 August 2000 | CuriosityKilledShawn
Fancy some Gremlin Stew? Three underrated sequels came out in 1990. Predator 2, RoboCop 2, and Gremlins 2. I remember waiting in the lobby of a cinema in Orlando, Florida before a screening of Back to the Future 3, looking at the cardboard standees for Gremlins 2 and RoboCop 2 side by side. My 9-year-old self was a HUGE fan of the first movies and staring at a standee taller than me, featuring wonderful artwork, for those sequels was big deal for me. I pity kids nowadays who don't have the attention span to soak up little moments like that.
Dante takes everything that was great about Gremlins and cranks it all the way up to a zillion. The original movie was a dark xmas comedy horror with B-movie undertones. The sequel goes so over-the-top it launches itself into the stratosphere and doesn't come back down until the very, very end of the credits. It's just wall-to-wall mayhem with so many in-jokes it'll make your head explode. The movie even attempts to begin as a Looney Tunes cartoon.
Gizmo, now back with Mr. Wing, escapes the curiosity shop after the old man dies and is found by a scientist working at Splice of Life, a laboratory located in the Clamp Premiere Regency Trade Centre and Retail Concourse (a big skyscraper in Manhattan). Working in the art department of that skyscraper is Billy Peltzer, hero of the first film. Billy eventually locates and rescues Gizmo, but he gets wet before Billy can take him home, spawning a new generation of cute, fluffy, malevolent Mogwai (Mohawk, Lenny, Edward G. Robinson-lookalike George, and the absolutely mad Daffy). They eat after midnight at a Yoghurt stand in the lobby. The following day the Clamp building, and all of the tenants (from the Archery Channel to the movie print itself, leading to an amusing cameo from Hulk Hogan) are besieged by a horde of gremlins intent on mass destruction and good times at any cost.
One can accuse the film of having no story beyond giving the Gremlins a lively backdrop for their wild antics, but when you're having so much fun isn't that what matters most? Goldsmith's score (sadly underrepresented on the 22-year-old Varese Sarabande CD) has a lot more weight second time around, backed-up by a large orchestra and string-based action cues. You'll absolutely love it! Chris Columbus didn't return for this movie, leaving scripting duties to Charlie Haas. He uses the Gremlins and the location to skewer big city culture and satirize business tycoons. John Glover is brilliant as the easily excitable Daniel Clamp, a Donald Trump-like property magnate who has more money and power than he knows what do with.
It's amazing that a third Gremlins movie was never made. Despite it now being 22 years since Gremlins 2 and 28 years since the first movie virtually every kid knows what the Gremlins are and are familiar with Gizmo (who may well be the cutest thing that ever existed). It's still a huge cash cow and a recognizable brand, and why Warner never greenlit Gremlins 3 is puzzling to say the absolute least.
One last thing. Stay with this film until the end of the credits.