Top 20 favourite movies of all time (#13)
Forget every single christmas movie you can think of and just put Gremlins and Die Hard as the best Christmas movies of all time, lol.
I find what works best with kids movies or family movies is that there needs to be some darker elements to it, but not to the point where you lose your audience or you isolate the kids away from the adults and make it too complex for them to understand, and in the case of Gremlins, too scary.
I like that this is the kind of story that once you think about it, its very difficult to replicate and its very difficult to make a decent sequel out of it (Gremlins 2 was too “cartoony” and toned down the scary elements).
It’s very inventive when you take a little creature such as the mogwai and fashion a story where it reproduces through contact by water and the new mogwai are evil and mischievous. When they go through their metamorphosis into the gremlins, its scary and goofy at the same time and it has that right mix where early on you see how much of a threat they are to the adults, yet goofy enough that they just want to have fun, eat food, get drunk, and party all night. They’re kind of like delinquent college kids who had one too many drinks and tear shit up somewhere. We’ve probably all been that kind of person at some point in our lives when we’re just moving out and living on our own, making our own rules as we go along and saying how much we’re alive and we’re not afraid of anything.
When you see the transition from mogwai to gremlin, comparing Gizmo to Stripe, you’re also seeing how we as people are able to get out of our comfort zone and reveal ourselves, unleashing our id as it were. But we also notice how destructive that id can be without the proper ego to control it. It’s almost its own psychological study on the human psyche and how sometimes we want to detach ourselves from our mundane lives and go crazy now and then and these gremlins are the kind of people who have little care for the well-being of others and will do whatever they want to do.
Even the old man’s warning at the end of the movie when he says we’re not ready for such a huge responsibility when taking care of the mogwai is in essence telling us that we’re not ready to balance ourselves completely. We’re not ready to mete out the yin with the yang, our light and dark halves and this movie serves as a pause to reflect on our true nature and how often we hide a little gremlin in each of us, making sure we respect the rules and not unleash chaos.