has an average rating of 7.0 on IMDb
1080p in VC-1 on a 25gb disc
Dolby TrueHD 5.1 & Dolby Digital 5.1
only include the basic DVD ports
– 106 minutes
Street Date: December 1st, 2009
Overall Verdict – One Strictly for the Fans
The Movie Itself was Written by Chris Columbus, Produced (Presented) by Steven Spielberg and Directed by Joe Dante.
When a struggling inventor gifts his son (Zach Galligan) with the early Christmas present of an all-too-cute creature, a Mogwai named Gizmo, it appears to be the perfect gift. However, there are a set of rules that come along with the adorable furball, and of course, it wouldn’t be much of a story if everything went according to plan; so naturally the cardinal rules of Mogwai caretaking are broken, and the consequences are disastrous — and thoroughly amusing — when the spontaneous progeny of Gizmo metamorphose into devilish reptilian-like creatures and proceed to wreak havoc on the entire town.
Gremlins is one of those movies that you can’t help but love. Personally, I know that much of my love for the film stems from the incredibly adorable mogwai, Gizmo. When I was younger, I was terrified of the film — the gremlins, in particular — but Gizmo and the comedy littered throughout, made the film enjoyable and watchable, even as a young child. I believe I still have a couple trinkets lying around in storage somewhere (a couple keychain gremlins, and a stuffed-toy Gizmo). Thankfully, much hasn’t changed over the years even though the puppets and gremlin/mogwai models are starting to show their age here in HD. Gremlins still remains an entertaining, thrilling, and comedic genre-mash movie. The Gremlins’ antics are just as bizarre and hilarious, Gizmo is still as loveable as always, Billy is every bit as bumbling as I remember, and the young Phoebe Cates is as innocent and adorable as ever. Perhaps one of the most endearing qualities of the film is its mixed tone — at once a Christmas holiday film, budding romance, and a horror story. Because of this, I can easily see how Gremlins might be part of one family’s Christmas film marathon tradition, while another family might watch it closer to Halloween. It’s just a very versatile film in that way.
Of course, Gremlins isn’t nearly as classic as a film like Halloween or It’s A Wonderful Life, and therefore I don’t think that it has the same universal appeal or draw that other classic films might, but that doesn’t mean that it’s any less worthwhile. On a side note, another film that reminds me of this particular genre-mash (horror & christmas) is Black Christmas. While Black Christmas is decidedly more serious and frightening (outstanding film, by the way) it still shares the same seasonal discord as Gremlins. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter when you watch them, but I thought it was interesting to touch on that nevertheless.
As for me, I know that Gremlins will remain in my heart and mind for a long time. It’s far from a remarkable film, and there are a number of “flaws”, but fans of the film or newcomers likely don’t/won’t care. The film isn’t concerned with more than entertaining you, and as far as I’m concerned it does that exceptionally well. It’s hard to believe that the film has been around for twenty-five years (as have I), but it’s even harder to envision it losing any of its charm in the future because thus far, it hasn’t lost an ounce.
Video Quality on this release is in full 1080p using the VC-1 codec on a BD-25 (25 gigabyte single layer Blu-ray Disc) in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio.
For the first time in HD, Gremlins looks better than it ever has before. The transfer we’re given is very faithful to the source, with negligible use of DNR, and minimal (if any) use of edge enhancement throughout. At the same time, however, the entirely faithful presentation isn’t going to blow you away either. Newcomers and fine-object-detail-Nazi’s will surely turn their nose up at the picture quality, but fans (like myself) and cinephiles with properly framed expectations will likely find this Blu-ray incarnation to be quite pleasing, stopping short of finding it revelatory or even great. As for where the shortcomings stem from all signs point to the mid-eighties production quality that was surely influenced or dictated by the campy and nonsensical tone of the film, and by that I mean that the film isn’t beautifully shot, or even neatly. This isn’t to say that there aren’t some cool shots littered throughout, but instead I’m trying to make a point that it is far grittier than most films. There are more than a few low-light shots that suffer from excessive grain and noise, and while they’re perfectly acceptable/understandable to me, I can see a lot of people writing off this presentation, citing that it’s too “noisy” or “grainy”.
While they wouldn’t be entirely in the wrong, I don’t think that’s an entirely fair assessment of the film’s presentation at large, and I would gladly take a slightly noisier/grainier picture any day over a highly doctored and scrubbed picture. If you skip down to the screenshot section below, I’m confident that you will be quick to agree with the “3 Star Rating” for video quality that we’ve seen fit to bestow this catalog release. There is a fair amount of fine object detail, pleasant black levels, gratifying coloration, and — what I believe to be — an extremely genuine presentation overall. Fans should be pleased.
Audio Quality on this release is presented in both Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Surround & Dolby Digital 5.1 @640kbps.
The audio presentation on this disc won’t “wow” you but it certainly does the trick. For the most part, the soundscape is fairly restrained and tame, weighing heavily on simple conversations/dialog and the original score for speaker activity, although the surrounds are occasionally graced with some far off Christmas music or other ambient effects. Much like the visual look of the film, the sound track is beginning to show its age. There simply isn’t a whole lot of detail to be found throughout the mix. Nevertheless, I feel that the lossless TrueHD track is faithful to the source, and makes the best of what it’s given. Of course, it isn’t all humdrum and silent, once the devilish Gremlins begin to terrorize the town, the soundscape livens up considerably, being populated with the sounds of shattering glass, roaring chainsaws, fire and explosions. The low frequency effects track doesn’t break new ground either, but it sounds decent in its own right.
While the track is hardly demo or reference material, Gremlins boasts an above average lossless mix that should please all but the most critical fans. As such, it earns a solid “3.5 Star Rating” for overall audio quality.
Bonus Materials on this release are presented in Standard Definition video, using Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo.
- Audio commentary by Director Joe Dante, Producer Michael Finnell, and Special Effects Artist Chris Walas
- Audio commentary by Director Joe Dante, Phoebe Cates, Zach Galligan, Dick Miller, and Howie Mandel
- “Gremlins: Behind the Scenes Featurette” (6:22) A very brief — and old — behind-the-scenes featurette that plays a bit more like an EPK (electronic press kit) than anything else. However, if you haven’t seen it before, this is still worth a stop. It would have been nice to see a newly commissioned retrospective featurette seeing how this release marks the 25th anniversary release. Oh well.
- Additional Scenes with, or without, Commentary (10:26) Provided here are collection of deleted scenes. You can either opt to watch them with commentary or not. I chose to watch them with commentary because most often deleted material won’t make much sense otherwise.
- Photo Gallery – Contains 31 pictures in total, ranging from production stills to candid photos.
- Trailers (4:42) – Three trailers in total; two for Gremlins and one for Gremlins 2: The New Batch
Overall the bonus materials are nothing more than just the DVD content ported over (DVD ports) but it’s better than nothing. So, with that being said I think fans who dish out the $22.99 at Target for this Blu-ray Exclusive will be somewhat pleased with the overall release itself — with bonus content factored in to the equation.
Blu-ray Disc packaging:
NOTE: The full-sized 1920×1080 files are in a .PNG file format and uncompressed. Bare with the slow loading times, keep in mind these files are at least 1MB (1 megabyte) in size each.