Tuesday, December 6, 2011

31 Days of Xmas: Gremlins

1984, Joe Dante (Piranha, The Howling) -- download

Yes, Gremlins is definitely an Xmas movie.  It takes place during the holiday period and the whole point of the arrival of the mogwai was as a present for Billy.  So yes, this fits in perfectly.  But I completely forgot how complete the slaughter of the town was in this movie.  Well, at least the downtown core.  Not a movie for kids but more one for teens and up.  And surprisingly, it actually still stands up today.

Don't expose them to bright light ("light bright light bright"), don't give them any water (so, the beer and booze they drank didn't count?) and definitely don't feed them after midnight (but until when? isn't every minute of the day technically after midnight of some day?) are the three mantras of owning a mogwai.  Other than that, the progenitor mogwai is still the cutest thing ever but child mogwai are troublesome bastards. They sing, they speak to you (man, do they learn English fast, considering it was raised on a Chinese dialect) and absorb whatever is going on around them pretty damn quick. I actually think they were intelligent enough to be a completely sentient species that we, well we treated as a pet.  Oh... humans.

So, while I think the cute animatronics of the mogwai stood up to the CGI cuteness of today, there are so many other things that they did so badly.  It's winter in a mid-west town, right?  So why are all the trees deciduous with full heads of leaves?!?  They just took whatever California backlot it was filmed in and spray-snowed the bejeebus out of the town.  It looks soooooo fake.  There are also some scenes with the gremlins themselves which look like rubber toys on strings but considering the chaos of those scenes, I don't think we were supposed to notice.  And don't ask me about the stop motion, crowd of gremlins scene.  Of course, that is all made up for by the fact that the little buggers were able to find tons of clothing that fit them, to be worn in the bar scene.  Heh.