Ralph Potts reviews Gremlins, which is making its debut on Ultra HD Blu-ray, in celebration of its 35th anniversary, from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:
Extras:
Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

84
Details:

Studio and Year: Warner - 1984
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 106 minutes
Genre: Horror/Comedy

Disc Format: BD-66
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Hoyt Axton, Polly Holliday, Frances Lee McCain, Corey Feldman, Judge Rheinhold
Directed by: Joe Dante
Music by: Jerry Goldsmith
Written by: Chris Columbus
Region Code: A

Release Date: October 1, 2019
"What You See isn’t Always What You Get!"
Synopsis:

“Gremlins is a wildly original roller-coaster ride of hilarious mischief. One minute your hair will stand on end, the next you’ll hold your sides with laughter at the havoc these supposedly gentle furballs create when the rules surrounding their care and feeding are inadvertently broken one fateful Christmas.” – Warner Brothers Home Entertainment

My Take:

A gadget salesman is looking for a special gift for his son and finds one at a store in Chinatown. The shopkeeper is reluctant to sell him the `mogwai' but sells it to him with the warning to never expose him to bright light, water, or to feed him after midnight. All of this happens and the result is a gang of gremlins that decide to tear up the town on Christmas Eve.

Gremlin is somewhat of a contemporary classic, set in a small fictional town during the Christmas season and, tells a cautionary tale involving a cute, cuddly “mogwai” and the dangers of not strictly adhering to the rules surrounding its care. I remember the fervor that surrounded this film when it was released. The implementation wasn’t groundbreaking but, the concept was fresh and, at the time, lots of fun. I saw it theatrically and like most that did got caught up in hoopla of its slapstick, dark side and of course the charms of its star, Gizmo.

Now 35 years later the special effects show their age but, contextually shine brilliantly and, the wonderful screenplay remains as entertaining as ever. Gremlins is the epitome of the 80’s film period and seeing the members of its cast brought back nostalgic feelings for sure. Gremlins is near and dear to its many fans who have an appreciation for how special it was at the time. I am pleased that it has come to Ultra HD Blu-ray in celebration of its 35th anniversary.

Replay Value:
Parental Guide:

The rating is for mild thematic material, brief violence and light gore.

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

Audio: 80
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 
  • Dynamics: 
  • Low frequency effects: 
  • Surround Sound presentation: 
  • Clarity/Detail: 
  • Dialog Reproduction: 
  • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA

 

UHD Presentation: 88
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 
  • HDR: Dark Highlights: 
  • HDR: Bright Highlights: 
  • HDR: Expanded Color: 
  • Resolution: 
  • Visual Impact: 

 

Gremlins comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound.

Gremlins was shot on film and its presentation on Ultra HD Blu-ray was derived from what appears to be a remastered source although I wasn’t able to verify that information or the details surrounding the process.

It's important to note that the ultimate goal for any release on home video is to present a film in the highest possible quality based upon its original elements. Gremlins has an aesthetic that incorporates film grain and the use of optics that won't result in the type of high gloss, tack-like sharpness of a film shot using digital cameras. This isn't a problem and shouldn't be seen as such.

Looking at the film's opening moments in Chinatown and after in the Peltzer home, the improvement in depth and delineation is noticeable but, not staggering. Things do get better though. Grain is intact, occasionally rising to more obvious levels but, never to a distracting point. With the majority of story taking place at night Gremlins isn’t an overtly bright film, although there are bright elements. The cinematography benefitted from the enhanced resolution and warmer chromatic accents. In many respects, the image is emboldened with a discernible boost to definition. While the increase in resolution isn't always on display, I believe that this is innate to the photography. The wide-angle shots that take place in town and at the bank looked very good.

Color reproduction benefited from the wider color gamut, especially primaries, allowing the gleaming holiday lights and associated decorations to shine. High dynamic range added a tangible visual element that enriched both natural and artificial light. Its application is appropriately applied here, keeping within the boundaries of the film’s cinematography and visual aesthetic. It is safe to say that this is the best that Gremlins has looked on home video. I am pleased to see that Warner Brothers Home Entertainment is releasing titles from their catalog with solid Ultra HD presentations. I hope that trend continues.

Warner didn’t include a new audio mix for Gremlins and opted to provide the previous 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. This film’s soundtrack isn’t such that it necessitates uproarious surround sound or extended dynamic range but, it should be capable of delivering clear, concise audio reproduction, which it did. Dialog is reproduced with crystal clarity and appreciable tonal variation that separate the differing vocal characteristics among the cast. Both ambient and discrete effects which includes off camera sounds, are mixed to both the front and rear channels. This helps increase the depth of the soundstage and provide a good sense of envelopment. The audio presentation got the job done and, while it may not be the type that constantly drives the system and fills the room it was seemed to maximize the elements present in the recording.

For those not familiar with the details regarding Ultra HD Blu-ray you can refer to my article that includes some pertinent data on the subject. Here is the link:

Ultra HD Blu-ray Has Come to AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Bonus Features:
  • Disc 1: Gremlins Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2: Gremlins Blu-ray (Includes the following legacy bonus features)
    • Filmmakers’ Commentary with Director Joe Dante, Producer Michael Finnell and Special Effects Artist Chris Walas
    • Cast Commentary with Director Joe Dante, Zack Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Dick Miller, and Howie Mandel
    • Gremlins: Behind the Scenes Featurette
    • Additional Scenes with Commentary
    • Photo Gallery
    • Theatrical Trailers
    • Additional Scenes
    • Cute. Clever. Mischievous. Intelligent: Making Gremlins
    • Gremlins: The Gift of the Mogwai (motion comic)
    • The Last Gremlin (motion comic)
    • From Gizmo to Gremlins: Creating the Creatures
    • Hangin’ with Hoyt on the set of Gremlins
  • Digital Copy
Final Thoughts:

Gremlins is an entertaining and beloved horror/comedy with a timeless appeal that has endured over the 35 years since we first met Gizmo and company. Its debut on Ultra HD Blu-ray in this Combo Pack from Warner Brothers Fox Home Entertainment offers fans a chance to see it looking its best. The legacy bonus supplements are the same as those found on the previous Blu-ray and also includes a Digital Copy. For devoted fans equipped for Ultra HD Blu-ray this is a no brainer.
 
Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews


Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS2000 4K Ultra High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from  Spectracal )
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems