Gremlins, 35 years old but 4DX makes it feel fresh
I’m a huge Gremlins fan, it’s my favourite Christmas film and I make a habit of watching it every December.
My couch has a three foot Gizmo pillow on it, I have figures scattered across the flat and in a box I have a life sized Gremlin model waiting for me to have the spare time to put it together.
My stepsister knows how much I love the franchise and when she saw there was going to be a limited showing to celebrate the movies 35 year anniversary (and to coincide with a 4K remaster) she dropped me a text and within 10 minutes of learning of the release I had booked my tickets.
The limited run was only for 3 days (in the UK at least) and one of the interesting twists they added was that you could see the movie in 4DX.
I’ve only ever seen one other movie in 4DX — Rogue One, which focused heavily on the air and smell effects.
I enjoyed it but the extra £4 per ticket and the fact that I barely go to the Cinema anymore meant that watching Gremlins in 4DX was still a novelty.
Even without the 4DX I would still have gone to see the movie in a Cinema, the movie came out 4 years before I was born so I’ve never seen it on the big screen and I loved being able to appreciate one of my favourite films in that context.
Watching Gremlins on the big screen
There’s a certain magic to the Cinema, I think it’s mostly down the scale of everything that makes you more immersed into a movie and that magic certainly got applied while I watched Gremlins.
I noticed things I hadn’t really noticed before and appreciated subtleties a lot more than when I’d watched the movie for god-knows-how-many times before at home.
However, the immersion of the Cinema didn’t stop me from noticing how dated the movie looked, and I don’t mean from a technological point of view.
The first indication was the graininess of the opening of the movie where we first meet Gizmo in china town. The interior set lighting wasn’t too bad but the external shots were certainly way too visually noisy.
The second was the title sequence but this was mostly showing it’s age due to the font and the red on yellow colouring that they had used for it.
The puppets and effects however held up and I’d say this is one of the benefits that practical effects will have over CGI as movies get ‘upscaled’ as we make technical advances.
I’ve watched Gremlins a lot over the years and as such know where every jump scare is but with the extra level of engagement bought to the experience by the 4DX system it was like watching the movie anew.
The chairs have this little piece of tubing that flails and tickles your ankles which was really well deployed for when the Gremlins are striking out in the dark at the start of the movie.
Later on (and this was my favourite part) there is a scene in the Tavern with a break dancing Gremlin that had the chairs rotating in time with the break dancing which really made it enjoyable as that scene is meant to show how zany the creatures are.
Going into the screening I was really anticipating the chairs to move when Gizmo is driving his car at the end of movie but while they did this I feel there was an earlier scene when Gizmo is watching the film that inspired him that they could have deployed this for too.
Overall it was money well spent and I had a really good time.
As a fan of Gremlins who wasn’t around when it first came out it was great to see it in the context of a Cinema and I really hope they do a re-release of Gremlins 2 soon.
I’m not sure if I’ll be picking up the 4K remaster though. I already have the film on Blu-Ray and I don’t have a 4K capable Blu-Ray player but also if the remaster was the same quality as that in the cinema then I don’t think it’s going to improve the quality much.
I’m also looking forward to the prequel series that I’m hoping will make its way to the UK when it comes out although it’ll be interesting to see what that focuses on.