I remember being insanely excited when they announced the release of Gremlins 2: The New Batch, but when I finally saw it, my reaction was decidedly “meh”. It simply didn’t rekindle any of the feelings I had for the original film, and part of me just didn’t get it. In revisiting the movie on Blu-Ray, I now believe I didn’t get how far ahead of its time Gremlins 2 actually was.
Rather than picking up where Gremlins left off, the sequel finds Billy and Kate (Zach Galligan and Phoebe Cates) working for media mogul Daniel Clamp (John Glover) and cohabitating in an uber modern metropolis. The quiet, small town simplicity of Kingston Falls has been left far behind, but an unexpected visit from Billy’s former pet (Gizmo the Mogwai) signals that they haven’t escaped the past. Can Billy and Kate save their little friend and prevent gremlins from destroying the city? You bet they can!
While Gremlins walks the line between comedy and horror, Gremlins 2 is essentially straight comedy. However, it should be noted that the comedy is very much tongue-in-cheek (often self-parodying) and doesn’t simply rely on simple pratfalls and one-liners. Brilliantly, the over-the-top characters and quasi-futuristic setting eliminates comparisons to the first film, and makes way for some superbly overblown performances (John Glover and Haviland Morris are especially fantastic) and wonderful cameos (Gedde Wantanabe, John Astin, Leonard Maltin). As long as you’re not anticipating a repeat of the original, Gremlins 2 is actually a very clever and enjoyable ride.
Special features include over 20 minutes of footage not seen in theaters, a behind-the-scenes documentary, commentary by Joe Dante, Zach Galligan, writer Charlie Haas, and producer Michael Finnel, a gag reel, an alternate home video sequence, and the theatrical trailer.