Movie #355 2020: Gremlins (1984)

Gremlins is a Christmas film. Sorry, that’s just facts. Gizmo himself is a Christmas present from Billy’s father, so put that in your pipe and smoke it.

We are immersed into this story when his father buys (or steals, I guess) Gizmo from an old trinket store in Chinatown. The three rules for taking care of him? 1) No bright lights. 2) Don’t let him touch water. 3) NEVER feed him after midnight. Can you guess which of those rules get broken? Yep, all three of them. And with dire consequences: the Mogwai – now known as ‘Gremlins’ – become extremely mischievous, and look to take over the town with their destructive antics.

Let’s get one thing out of the way before we proceed: Gizmo is the original Baby Yoda and that’s the truth. No Gizmo, no Baby Yoda. I’m genuinely convinced they took inspiration from him to create The Child, and that’s no bad thing.

Well, well, well. What a pleasant surprise! I knew Gremlins would be good, but I didn’t know it’d be this good. Joe Dante was never gonna go wrong with a team like Spielberg and Chris Columbus behind him, and Jerry Goldsmith’s score only elevates the action on screen even more. Goldsmith is one of the best to ever do it if you ask me. (His other credits include the Star Trek theme song, The Omen, Chinatown, and the Universal Pictures theme. Yes, this iconic snippet that everyone knows and loves.) A genuine icon.

I’m just obsessed with the originality of the plot here – everything about it is excellent. Even the side story involving the Dad being absolutely terrible at inventions is super fun. (Which is lowkey actually my favourite thing about the film.) Plus, it keeps moving at the perfect pace and there’s nothing superfluous in the entire feature… except for one tiiiiiny little thing, but I’ll let you in on that in a second.

The use of puppets here is almost at Jim Henson levels of greatness. Honestly, I had to do an online search to double check that they weren’t a Henson creation – that’s how good they are. They do look kind of dated, and I’m sure kids today wouldn’t be super impressed, but they’re honestly magic. Fuck CGI tbh. 

It’s not a perfect movie, and I could have done without the random sad story about Phoebe Cates’ Dad (the one superfluous element alluded to above), but it’s damn close. And I won’t hear any different.

Great for all ages, and the perfect Christmas movie to watch with your kids, that’s for sure.

Gremlins is available to stream on Sky Cinema and Now TV in the UK.

TQR Category Ratings:

Costume & Set Design: 
Overall Enjoyability Rating: 


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