The 1980s brought the popularization of both comedy-horror and puppetry in film. Gremlins combined the genre and use of such special effects with considerable effort. Despite Gremlins receiving critical and commercial success, some also branded it as being too violent. Even though director Joe Dante thought this element of the original film was tonally appropriate, he decided to include an even more comedic and playful approach in Gremlins 2: The New Batch, resulting in a more conventional, family-friendly film.
The plot once again centers on Billy (Zach Galligan) and Kate (Phoebe Cates) who have now moved to New York to put their past behind them. Through a series of unfortunate events, Billy is reunited with his Mogwai friend, Gizmo, and falls foul to yet more bad luck when evil gremlins accidentally spawn from him again, This time, the gremlins run riot in Billy’s employer’s high rise premises within the Big Apple, stumbling through a laboratory that gives them even more hideous characteristics. Billy, Kate, and Gizmo must once again stop the gremlins, but this time from overtaking New York City.
Joe Dante’s decision to make a more anarchic sequel has resulted in a film that is more light-hearted than the first, including a more slapstick approach to violence, and even comedic instances of the original being parodied. Along with some other comical touches, like the inclusion of a femme fatale gremlin, these elements might seem too ridiculous to some audiences but others will find them enjoyable and amusing.
The puppetry of the gremlins, and particularly that of Gizmo, was reported to have complications in the first film but this did not stop the crew from attempting to be more inventive in Gremlins 2: The New Batch. One notable effort was the inclusion of a frightening giant spider gremlin also with many other gruesome additions, these contribute to the entertainment.
Even if you enjoyed the darker original film, you won’t be disappointed by this sequel, which introduces plenty of witty moments and imaginative horrific creations to match Gremlins. Though some audiences may find Gremlins 2: The New Batch melodramatic, it is clear the intention of the film is designed to be escapist entertainment. The variations it has from its predecessor are simple and compelling enough for an audience to appreciate. As long as they expect nothing more than the fun escapism it provides- and there is plenty of that to go around- audiences of all ages can enjoy watching this film.