Gremlins (1984)

Keep him away from bright lights. Bright lights will kill him. Keep him away from water. And never, ever feed him after midnight. Do as I say, and you won’t have a movie.

It starts with an inventor that can’t sell his product, and he ends up with this thing called a Mogwai—yes, the Gremlin. The rules above are mentioned and they’re all subsequently broken, whether intentionally or not. It’s so predictable. You know the rules will be broken, and it will lead to chaos. But hey, it’s a cute, fun movie, and nothing is going to stop it.

The script was written by Chris Columbus, who has made so many classic children’s films, and I will say that I had a great time watching it. Even when you know where the story is going to go, you’re still a bit surprised. Director Joe Dante imbues a sense of electric excitement to the mischief, although it might get a bit excessive towards the end.

The real treats of this film, though, are the special effects. The Mogwai. Gizmo (the main creature) and his spawn are all animatronic or puppets, which explains how the film has held up. They’re so tangible and so practical. Digital creations from twenty years ago look dated, but the gremlins could have been made today. When did this artistry stop mattering, and why?

There’s nothing particularly innovative about this film, but it’s well done. It’s a fine meal-by-recipe. But not every movie is supposed to change your life. If it just wants to be fun, can’t that be enough?

3

Gremlins is available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

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