DVD Shopping Bag: Gremlins and Gremlins 2 on Blu-ray - Mania.com



DVD Shopping Bag: Gremlins and Gremlins 2 on Blu-ray

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DVD Shopping Bag: Gremlins and Gremlins 2 on Blu-ray

Gizmo Gaga

By Robert T. Trate     May 01, 2012
Source: Mania.com

Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990) will finally get a Blu-ray release next week. I got the chance to sit back and watch both of Joe Dante’s classic films in 1080p. I was surprised to see how well they both really hold up. The comedy, the horror, and the story are still just as fresh as the day they both premiered. Sadly, it is the special effects of Gremlins 2: The New Batch that does not hold up so well. The original film used puppets and camera tricks where the second tried a few new special effects. Gizmo (voiced by Howie Mandel) walking and dancing is something better left forgotten. It’s not that it is cheesy or bad, it just doesn’t hold up with the pristine projection of Blu-ray. Thankfully, Dante’s film is packed with so much fun you quickly overlook the eye sores. 
 
Upon watching the films in reverse order, I really got to see how much detail went into the production of the sequel. By detail I mean how the Gremlins were crafted. Essentially the first film had one unique Gremlin, Stripe (voiced by Frank Welker). Sure there were a variety of costumes, masks, and wigs for the Gremlins to make each a tad different. Yet upon closer inspection (especially in 1080p) you’ll see they were mass produced. However, those red eyes are still unsettling.  The second film is packed with unique character Gremlins and that is before they start drinking the “Splice of Life” formulas. The details and artistry are amazing; again they become fully appreciated in 1080p. With each older film released on Blu-ray we really see the difference in artistry between special effect techniques. Especially in what is more esthetically pleasing to the eye. I’ll take puppets and stop motion over CGI effects any day. However, here on Mania, I am probably preaching to the choir. 
 
Half way through Gremlins 2: The New Batch, I started to think that they don’t make films like this anymore. Films that are self aware of what is going on inside their world. Joe Dante uses every trick, every gag, and every character actor to their fullest extent. The film itself is parody when the Gremlins take over the projection booth and Hulk Hogan has to get the film back on track. This self parodying is also highlighted in the short “making of” included on the Blu-ray. I was thrilled to watch the video disruption for home viewing that featured John Wayne shooting it out with the Gremlins. It was worth the Duke rolling over his grave to have this moment, I’m sure. Yet, as the film ended I thought, what was the last film that made me appreciate the medium itself and used all its tricks to entertain me? The answer quickly came in Cabin in the Woods. Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard spun such a self aware tale. Personally, I cannot wait for its home video release. 
 
With each and every remake, sequel, and prequel in the works I thought, when will Gremlins 3 get the green light? Hopefully that answer is never. The first film was a horror-comedy set at Christmas time, which is extremely rare. Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale may be the only film that comes close. Gremlins 2: The New Batch is a self parodying comedy. A horror sequel or a prequel to Gizmo’s early days would be lame. Only if Dante was directing would I give it a chance. I saw him recently in Hollywood at a ‘Burbs and Matinee double feature. When asked about his next film he said he was having problems finding funding, which is sad as this Roger Corman alumni has given us so many great films. One of those we can fully appreciate again in Gremlins 2: The New Batch out on Blu-ray next week. 
 

Top 5 Picks of the Week:

1. Wizard of Gore / The Gore Gore Girls, The [Blu-ray]
2. Jeremiah Johnson [Blu-ray]
3. Cowboys / Green Berets / Searchers [Blu-ray]
4. Casablanca: 70th Anniversary [Blu-ray]
5. Transformers Japanese Collection: Super-God Masterforce


ACTION / ADVENTURE / KUNG FU/ THRILLERS / WESTERNS

Assassins / Cobra / Specialist [Blu-ray] Starring Sylvester Stallone

Blue Ice Starring Michael Caine

Body Heat / La Confidential / Player [Blu-ray] Starring Russell Crowe and William Hurt

Bullitt / Cincinnati Kid / Getaway [Blu-ray] Starring Steve McQueen

Deep Blue Sea / Long Kiss Goodnight / Snakes on a [Blu-ray] Starring Samuel L. Jackson

Executive Decision / Point Break / Swordfish [Blu-ray] Starring Keanu Reeves, Kurt Russell and Hugh Jackman

Fight the Fight Starring Sammo Hung and Dennis To

Haywire [Blu-ray] Starring Gina Carano, Michael Fassbender, Channing Tatum

Haywire Starring Gina Carano, Michael Douglas, Channing Tatum

Hell at My Heels Starring Peter Whittaker, Ian Quick, Frank Rothery
Losers / Rocknrolla / Shoot Emup [Blu-ray] Starring Clive Owen, Gerard Butler and Jeffrey Dean Morgan

Man From Nowhere [Blu-ray] Starring Benjamin Hanson, Ian Macdonald, Wren Morden

The One That Got Away Starring Hardy Kruger, Colin Gordon, Michael Goodliffe

ANIME

Psychic Squad Collection 1

CARTOONS

Happiness Is Peanuts: Team Snoopy

Inch High Private Eye

Transformers Japanese Collection: Super-God Masterforce Starring Hiroko Emori, Ikuya Sawaki and Hideyuki Hori

CLASSICS

A Close Call for Boston Blackie Starring Claire Carleton, Richard Lane, Chester Morris

Bewitched Starring Phyllis Thaxter, Edmund Gwenn, Henry H. Daniels Jr.

Big City Starring Margaret O'Brien, Robert Preston, Danny Thomas

Bird of Paradise: Kino Classics Edition [Blu-ray] Starring Joel McCrea and Dolores Del Rio

Bird of Paradise: Kino Classics Edition Starring Joel McCrea and Dolores Del Rio

Casablanca: 70th Anniversary [Blu-ray] Starring Humphrey Bogart and Paul Henreid

Casablanca: 70th Anniversary Starring Humphrey Bogart and Paul Henreid

Cowboys / Green Berets / Searchers [Blu-ray] Starring John Wayne

Falstaff: Chimes at Midnight (Import) [DVD] [1965] Starring Keith Baxter and Orson Welles

Hitting a New High Starring Lily Pons, Jack Oakie, John Howard and Eric Blore

One Mysterious Night Starring Janis Carter, Richard Lane, Chester Morris

Pillow Talk Collector's Series [Blu-ray Book + DVD + Digital Copy] Starring Rock Hudson, Doris Day and Tony Randall

Strange Affair Starring Nina Foch, Hugo Haas, Edgar Buchanan and Marguerite Chapman

Tell It To The Marines Starring Lon Chaney and William Haines

West Of Zanzibar Starring Lon Chaney and Lionel Barrymore

Where East Is East Starring Lon Chaney

COMEDY AND LOVE Mania Style

Blazing Saddles / Caddyshack / National Lampoon's [Blu-ray] Starring Rodney Dangerfield, Gene Wilder and Chevy Chase

Clueless [Blu-ray] Starring Alicia Silverstone, Stacey Dash, Brittany Murphy

The Three Stooges in 3D Starring Moe Howard, Larry Fine, Curly Howard and Shemp Howard

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 (Single Disc) Starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner

HORROR

Forbidden Zone (Arrow Video) Limited Edition [Blu-ray] Starring Susan Tyrrell, Danny Elfman

Mask Maker [Blu-ray] Starring Nikki Deloach, Stephen Coletti, Anabella Casanova

Mask Maker Starring Nikki Deloach, Stephen Coletti, Anabella Casanova

Mimic 3 Film Set (Mimic / Mimic 2 / Mimic 3) [Blu-ray] Starring Giancarlo Giannini, Josh Brolin, Jeremy Northam

Mimic: 3-Film Set Starring Giancarlo Giannini, Josh Brolin, Jeremy Northam

Operation: Nazi Zombies Starring Thomas Reilly, Elissa Mullen, Christopher Connolly

Phantoms / Darkness / Venom [Blu-ray] Starring Peter O'Toole, Liev Schreiber and Ben Affleck

Rest Stop: Dead Ahead / Rest Stop: Don't Look Back / Otis (Triple Feature) [Blu-ray] Starring Richard Tillman and Bostin Christopher

Rise of the Animals Starring Greg Hoople, Steph Motta and Adam Schonberg

Snow White: A Tale of Terror

Wizard of Gore / The Gore Gore Girls, The [Blu-ray] Starring Amy Farrell, Frank Kress, Henny Youngman and Judy Cler

MODERN CLASSICS on BLU-RAY

Beetlejuice / Charlie & Chocolate Factory / Tim [Blu-ray] Starring Michael Keaton and Johnny Depp

Jeremiah Johnson [Blu-ray] Starring Robert Redford, Will Geer and Allyn Ann Mclerie

Meet Joe Black [Blu-ray] Starring Brad Pitt and Anthony Hopkins

SCIENCE FICTION / FANTASY

Men in Black (+ UltraViolet Digital Copy) [Blu-ray] Starring Will Smith

Men In Black II (+ UltraViolet Digital Copy) [Blu-ray] Starring Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith, Rip Torn and Lara Flynn Boyle

Thunderstorm: Return of Thor Starring Ray Besharah, Celine Filion, Jody Haucke

TV LAND

Benson - Season 2 Starring Robert Guillaume, James Noble, Missy Gold and Inga Swenson

Covert Affairs: Season Two Starring Peter Gallagher and Christopher Gorham

Dirty Sexy Money: Season 2 Starring Donald Sutherland, William Baldwin, Peter Krause

Felicity: Season 1 Starring Scott Speedman, Scott Foley and Greg Grunberg

Kojak: Season Four Starring Telly Savalas

Samantha Who: Season 1 Starring Barry Watson and Tim Russ

Samantha Who: Season 2 Starring Barry Watson and Tim Russ

Suits: Season One Starring Gabriel Macht, Patrick J. Adams and Rick Hoffman

The Virginian - Complete Season Six - 9 dvd's in Collectible Embossed Tin Starring James Drury, Doug McClure, Charles Bickford

Wagon Train - The Complete Season Five - 37 episodes - 10 dvd embossed collectible tin Starring John McIntire, Robert Horton, Frank McGrath

A Scene from Gremlins 2: The New Batch featuring Christopher Lee

 

Robert Trate writes three weekly columns for Mania: the DVD Shopping Bag, the Toy Maniac, and The Geek Life. Follow Robert on Twitter for his for Geek ramblings, Cosplay photos and film criticisms.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 9 of 9
1 
karas1 5/1/2012 4:35:36 AM

Every time I see somebody complain that FX from a movie produced 25 years ago aren't up to snuff, I think that they miss the point.  Sure, CGI technology has advanced and the more primitive FX look obvious to the modern eye.  But they were state of the art when they were produced.  To see Gizmo walk and dance was amazing back then.

A lot of films/TV shows should be seen as products of the era in which they were produced.  ST:TOS was updated a while back with more modern FX and I hear that it's good.  I've never sought them out.  The rubber monster suits and styrofoam boulders were part of the charm of the series for me.  While updating the FX won't (I assume) ruin the writing and the acting and the morals behind the stories, neither will they add anything I thought was missing.  But perhaps modern audiences full of younger viewers used to more sophisticated FX would be more able to appreciate TOS with the new FX. 

Would some Maniacs who've seen TOS with and without the updated FX chime in and tell us what they think?

muddseye 5/1/2012 6:40:04 AM

The only things updated in ST:TOS were the exterior ship sequences... Ive not seen much of it but from what Ive been told by friends who have seen more than I have is that they didnt really add much.  Sure like you said Karas, they do make the outside fo the ship look pretty, but in contrast to the rest of the "dated" effects they look a bit out of place.  Also in certain episodes, Doomsday Machine for example, the effects shots used could have been better.... Compare the CBS release to say the effects demo done by Darren Docterman.  Darrens effects blow away the ones made by the CBS team.

 

Of course to see Star Trek TOS with updated effects that work WITH the rest of the flming, check out the fan project Star Trek Phase 2.

Wiseguy 5/1/2012 6:40:16 AM

Love the Gremlin films, especially the first. Those practical effects for that time were amazing I agree with Karas.

Reading this makes me want to go out and buy them to relive that all over again.

ultrazilla2000 5/1/2012 10:12:23 AM

Sooo...what are the special features on the new discs???  I already own them on DVD and are happy with those, but if they've added quality special features then I just may upgrade.

TheFuzzyDan 5/1/2012 12:39:12 PM

@muddseye - On the updated effects in ST:TOS and in particularly The Doomsday Machine

The Doomsday Machine is hands-down my favorite ST episode.  As a kid the story kept me enthralled and the doomsday machine itself was the stuff of nightmares.  When I got older, I still loved the episode even if the suspence and terror of it had gone out.  When I saw the episode just a few months ago for the first time with updated effects, I was scared all over again.  The team that updated the effects did just enough not to make them jarring against the rest of the episode's footage but the machine had more depth, weight and was completely menacing.  I really can't put my finger on the main difference but the instant reaction it got from me was undeniable.  The scene with the commander taking the shuttle into the machine was almost unbearable to watch out of sheer tension.  I would recommend this episode to anyone (old or new effects) and I personally can't wait to see the new HD updates they are currently doing to The Next Generation. 

RobertTrate 5/1/2012 1:00:06 PM

 Gremlins: 

Over 10 Minutes of Additional Scenes
Making-of Featurette
2 Commentaries:
Director Joe Dante, Phoebe Cates, Zach Galligan, Dick Miller and Howie Mandel
Director Joe Dante, Producer Michael Finnell and Special Effects Artist Chris Walas
Photo/Storyboard Gallery
Theatrical Trailers

Gremlins 2:

Audio Commentary: with director Joe Dante and producer Michael Finnell
Deleted Scenes: Over 20 minutes of never-before-seen footage (gag reel and Home Video Gremlin scene)
Documentary: Behind-the-scenes
Filmographies: Cast/Crew Film Highlights

Shellhead88 5/1/2012 2:14:31 PM

You can watch the episodes with the new FX or you can wach the orginals. The new FX is mainly the outter space stuff. Like the planets they orbit look like real planets, insted of round with green mist..

muddseye 5/1/2012 7:51:19 PM

Fuzzy, I agree with the TNG effects for BluRay as they are redoing them from the ground up!  What Ive seen on youtube is amazing!

keithdaniel 5/2/2012 7:29:11 PM

Kara. the original series of Star Trek with the remastered FX, IMO, are excellent.  I don't think the new CGI FX that were added took anything away from the stories of the series whatsoever.  I've seen the majority of them and one day plan on getting them on bluray.  I'm glad Paramount did so because the series was in dire need of a makeover FX wise.  Go to youtube some time and you should be able to check some of them out.

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