Gremlins 2: The New Batch appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The image showed its age but looked pretty good nonetheless.
Sharpness seemed mostly solid. A few slightly soft shots appeared, partially influenced by the eraís less than dynamic film stocks. Nonetheless, definition mostly remained positive, if not impressive.
Jagged edges and moirť effects created no concerns, and I noticed no signs of edge enhancement. With a natural layer of grain, I didnít suspect any digital noise reduction techniques. As for print flaws, I witnessed none, as this was a clean image.
Colors remained fine. The movie featured a fairly vivid and lively palette, and the disc replicated the tones with fairly nice fidelity and accuracy. Once again, the film stocks could make the hues a little lackluster, but they usually showed nice vivacity. Black levels also seemed deep and rich, while shadow detail was clear and appropriately dense. In the end, Gremlins 2 presented a positive visual experience.
I also liked the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Gremlins 2. The soundfield presented a lively and engaging environment that worked well for this sort of cartoony flick. The forward spectrum demonstrated nice stereo imaging for the music, while effects came across as accurately placed and well integrated.
The rear speakers added positive reinforcement, especially as the action intensified. Gremlins-involved sequences seemed active and the film offered a solid sense of atmosphere. The forward channels dominated, but the surrounds added a lot to the experience.
Audio quality appeared a little bit dated but held up well. Speech seemed natural and crisp, and dialogue showed no signs of edginess or problems related to intelligibility. The score came across as nicely robust and vibrant and seemed to reproduce the music distinctively.
Effects appeared accurate and clear, without any significant distortion. Bass response presented some nice boom to the louder elements and generally appeared reasonably rich and deep. Gremlins 2 didnít hold up to more recent soundtracks, but it still offered a fairly solid piece of work.
How does the Blu-ray compare to the original DVD from 2002? Audio showed a bit more pep and range, while visuals were tighter and clearer. Though dated, the Blu-ray provided a good upgrade over the DVD.
The Blu-ray duplicates most of the DVDís extras, and we open with an audio commentary with director Joe Dante, producer Michael Finnell, actor Zach Galligan, and writer Charlie Haas. All four men were recorded together for this running, screen-specific track.
As with the other three Dante commentaries Iíve screened, the director dominates the proceedings. However, this one seems less lively and compelling compared to the others. The participants do provide a reasonable amount of information, as they cover a number of topics related to the production and the genesis of the sequel; Dante got quite a lot of freedom for the creation of this piece.
Empty spaces always caused some problems with the other Dante tracks, and they seem more prevalent than usual here. Perhaps the director felt worn out by the time he got to Gremlins 2. Donít get me wrong: I enjoyed the commentary and thought it offered enough good information to merit a listen. It simply wasnít as strong as the others, and it suffered from more weak spots than usual.
Next we find a nice collection of Outtakes. Formerly called ďAdditional ScenesĒ, we find a whopping 29 bits of film that run a total of 21 minutes, 41 seconds.
The program includes a lot of interesting material. It starts with an alternate animated Bugs Bunny/Daffy Duck opening and also contains a lot more scenes with Robert Picardo. Some funny gags - like one that refers to a musical about Stalin - pop up, and I also like the bit in which Grandpa Fred first meets the gremlins. Other than the absurdly long gremlin death scene, this area offers solid snippets. I canít say most - or many - of them belonged in the film, but theyíre very entertaining to see.
The additional scenes can be viewed with or without commentary from the same crew who appeared in the main track. Not surprisingly, Dante dominates, and he lets us know why the material failed to make the final cut. We also get some fun stories along the way and hear some nice information.
With The Making of Gremlins 2: The New Batch, a five-minute, 49-second piece posits the notion that the gremlins control the movie set. We see contrived behind the scenes shots and hear from director Joe Dante, producer Mike Finnell, and actors Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, John Glover, Dick Miller, Christopher Lee, Robert Prosky, Robert Picardo, Gizmo, and Haviland Morris as they discuss the atmosphere on the set. Itís a cute concept but it goes nowhere and offers virtually no information about the production; essentially itís just a long teaser for the movie.
Much of the Gag Reel consists of the usual goofed lines and laughing. However, the five-minute, 57-second clip includes some more interesting material. Most compelling is the on-going saga that involves a gremlin who tries to coax a terrified monkey out of his cage.
In addition to the filmís trailer, we see an Alternate Home Video Sequence (2:32). This offers a different version of the scene in which the gremlins take over a movie theater. For the videotape release of the movie, they created a segment that seemed more appropriate for that medium. Itís a fun addition to the disc.
Though many seem to disagree, I still think that Gremlins 2: The New Batch is a winner. The movie offers a witty and worthy sequel to the original and manages to be even more fun than that flick. The Blu-ray provides generally good picture and audio as well as a decent set of supplements. Gremlins 2 remains a lively, amusing adventure.
To rate this film, visit the DVD review of GREMLINS 2