Gremlins 2: The New Batch (Blu-ray)
Directed by Joe Dante
Distributed by Warner Brothers Home Entertainment
When the original Gremlins came out in 1984, audiences fell in love with the movie, and to this very day it's much cherished amongst fans. The reasons are clear: It was a heartwarming thrill ride starring a creature named Gizmo who simply stole our hearts. A sequel was a no-brainer. 1990's Gremlins 2: The New Batch brought back everything fans loved about the first film but mixed the ingredients with magic mushrooms, uppers, and enough caffeine to have you charging through a wall as if it wasn't even there. No, this was not your daddy's Gremlins movie. This was an entirely different kind of beast that was just made up of the same DNA.
The story is simple. Billy (Galligan), Kate (Cates), and Gizmo (voiced by Howie Mandel) pack up and move to New York City; and before you know it, a series of events transpire that lead to a whole new batch of Gremlins. Ones that can fly, spin webs, and speak intelligently. Absolute chaos and flurries of dark humor ensue to the point where we feel like we are less watching a movie and more having a stream of consciousness experience. It's insanity, and this writer loves every second of it!
Chance are by now you've seen the film so there's no real reason for me to dwell on that so on to what you want to know about... the Blu-ray. The film's 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 transfer is nothing short of striking. Skin tones are dead on, colors are incredibly vibrant, and the image itself is just dripping with detail. There's no artifacting or other anomalies to be found, and for a movie of this age we've rarely seen a better job done bringing the package to high-definition life. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track is the perfect complement to the masterful transfer as it's brimming with life and will be giving your home theatre system quite the workout. Buy with confidence. In terms of audio/video quality this title delivers.
The special features... not so much. Don't get me wrong. There's plenty to enjoy here; however, it's ported straight from the DVD and presented in standard definition. For the record there's a commentary track with Joe Dante, actor Zack Galligan, writer Charlie Haas, and producer Michael Finnell; about 20 minutes of outtakes; a featurette; and other odds and ends, all of which are listed below.
Admittedly, Gremlins 2: The New Batch isn't as good as the original Gremlins (Blu-ray review here) and is as unconventional a sequel as can be. Lots of Gremlins fans were disappointed with the flick, but for my money it's an absolute blast, and this is a very worthy package to have in your collection. That being said... Gremlins 3 anyone? Um, hello?
4 out of 5
3 1/2 out of 5