This is more of a madcap comedy than a horror movie, with none of the fable quality or dark atmosphere of the first film. The narrative is decidedly meager, designed to showcase large blocks of gremlin shenanigans that overwhelm the movie. This is good if you like monster mayhem, not as good if you’re expecting much else.
The animatronics and special effects are far superior to Gremlins, allowing Gizmo to walk (and even dance) for the first time. But halfway through the movie, the film seems to overindulge in displays of technical prowess, all of which spirals into a busily boring mess before the film finally ends. I still enjoy the first three-quarters of The New Batch, if only for its audacity. It’s like a bloody pileup of clown cars, a toxic onslaught of comic book chaos — a kind of childish, whacky film making that rarely gets such a big budget and lavish production values.
The returning cast members (Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Dick Miller, and Jackie Joseph) are largely swallowed up by the special effects, but a handful of new supporting characters manage to leave an impression. Robert Prosky is charming as a TV horror host on the outs and John Glover displays terrific comic timing as a shallow but goodhearted rendition of Donald Trump. Horror icon Christopher Lee is also featured (appropriately) as a mad genetic scientist and Joe Dante regular Robert Picardo also gets a few moments to shine.
Scott studied film and sociology at Indiana University and is currently the video producer for a large publishing company. He is the director of several independent films, including "House of Hope," "Off the Beaten Path," "The Day Joe Left," and "Found." For more about Scott, visit www.scottschirmer.com. Scott is also one of the principal organizers of the Dark Carnival Film Festival. (www.darkcarnivalfilmfest.com)