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Gremlins (1984)

NOTE: These commentaries are only available on the Gremlins Special Edition DVD release.

Commentaries on this disc:

Commentary 1: Director Joe Dante, and actors Phoebe Cates, Zack Galligan, Dick Miller, and Howie Mandel Rating:7.5/10 (12 votes) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by Gavin Millarrrrrrrrrr on April 13th, 2008:Find all reviews by Gavin Millarrrrrrrrrr
This commentary seems to have been recorded after the Filmmakers' one and so Dante is happy to take a back seat this time, allowing Galligan to dominate, and he doesn't need much encouragement.
Phoebe Cates is more reticent, but comes up with a few good stories, while Dick Miller contributes little, but redeems himself with a great last line.
Howie Mandell mainly makes jokes, often at Miller's expense (which either go over his head or he decides not to rise to) and also at the listener's expense, questioning the point of a commentary and wondering why talking over the soundtrack doesn't just annoy the viewer...
There are occasional insights (and, inevitably, occasional repetition of information from the other track) but this is mainly played for fun with the commentators reminiscing about a happy time in their lives (and looking at their subsequent CV's, also a high point in the careers of most involved!)
[Incidentally, this commentary basically continues on the Deleted Scenes Section as Dante is joined by Galligan, Cates and Miller to comment on the deleted scenes they feature in.]
Reviewed by nschildress on January 19th, 2013:Find all reviews by nschildress
A lot of on-set stories by Galligan and a surprising amount of discussion on script changes, editing changes, and changes during shooting that show how much Dante was feeling his way through the material and effects limitations.

Dante kind of corrals the track, but Galligan thankfully does most of the speaking. He brings real energy and most of the stories to this track, remembering the film like he shot it a few months ago. He sounds like he genuinely loves the film and loved making it. Cates is nearly completely silent and barely elaborates when prodded by the others. She made a few mean comments (to the director, "you're easy to work for because you don't care about the acting."), didn't seem fond of the film or film-making experience, and generally sounded like she didn't want to be there. Miller sounds like an old friend just hanging out, speaking when asked. Mandel is alternately funny and mean as usual for him.

Overall, good because of Galligan's enthusiasm and memory despite Cates' bitter tone.
Reviewed by Agressor on December 29th, 2013:Find all reviews by Agressor
Great commentary! Joe Dante & Zack Galligan keep it up the entire running-time with interesting and funny factoids about the filming of Gremlins. They have really good recall of the making of the film which
makes for a surprisingly enjoyable experience. This is a new favourite for me!
The only thing dragging it down for me are that the other 3 doesn't participate with anything substantial and could've been excluded. Alright, Howie Mandel provides some laughs but Phoebe Cates and Dick Miller are superfluous.
Reviewed by Uniblab on January 17th, 2016:Find all reviews by Uniblab
This one's really disappointing...as pointed out by others above, this track most probably was recorded after the other one, so Joe Dante starts out by saying that this one will be more acting-oriented, etc., which souds great, but soon it turns aout that he's bored and pretty much ran out of new things to say...

Galligan carries the track as he's clearly the only enthusiastic about speaking; he's even bullied by Dante, who at some point tells him that "this is the kind of thing you should't remember on a commentary because it's uninteresting...", or someting of the sort - and he didn't seem to be kidding.

Information-wise this track offers next to no improvement over the other one; a Galligan solo track would most certainly have been better.
Reviewed by thegibson99 on January 17th, 2017:Find all reviews by thegibson99
This commentary is a lot of fun! Dante and Galligan offer a lot, with some hilarious commentary from Mandel peppered throughout. I do wish Cates was able to offer more insight, as her inclusion added to the excitement of hearing the commentary. Galligan does try to set her up for some insightful comments, but she's just not able to deliver most of the time. Dick Miller is great in the movie and a wonderful staple to Dante's films, but unfortunately doesn't add anything.
Still highly worthwhile for what the other three offer.
Reviewed by aderok on November 25th, 2023:Find all reviews by aderok
BTS fact: after approx. 42 min mark, Dick Miller & Howie Mandel nearly tussled [while recording paused]
Reviewed by aderok on November 25th, 2023:Find all reviews by aderok
what i learned from both comms: chris walas and phoebe cates definitely had a production fling
Commentary 2: Director Joe Dante, producer Michael Finnell, and special effects specialist Chris Walas Rating:6.9/10 (10 votes) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by Gavin Millarrrrrrrrrr on April 13th, 2008:Find all reviews by Gavin Millarrrrrrrrrr
Despite being the "technical" commentary track on this disc, it's certainly not dry or weighed down with too much detail, as the three men clearly enjoy the cathartic chance to laugh retrospectively about the travails they faced at the time.
Effects maestro Walas seems to have suffered the most, describing it as "Insanity from the word go" and labelling numerous scenes "a nightmare".
Along the way Dante displays his encyclopaedic knowledge of films, and we also hear plenty about the development of the piece such as script changes - an earlier nastier draft included scenes of Mrs Peltzer's severed head bouncing down the stairs, and the dog being eaten by the gremlins.
We also learn the extent of Steven Speilberg's input, with many suggestions that were to the betterment of the film (if not Walas's mental health!), along with his backing for the director in a dispute against the studio.
And in what could be a commentary first, at one point Dante even apologises for a long pause (hardly necessary as there are less here than in many); making for a very enjoyable look at what Dante self-depreciatingly refers to as "a medley of my hit".
Reviewed by Agressor on February 3rd, 2014:Find all reviews by Agressor
Another fine Gremlins commentary! One improvement from the castcommentary is that everyone contributes an equal amount of input and seems more in synch on this one, probably helped by the fact that they are only three people talking. Also, unusually, the technical comments don't become weary and dull but is discussed with as much mirth and sarcasm by all three as every other topic on this commentary.

The boys apparent pride and glee over the film contributes highly to the listening experience, and, also unusually, for a commentary of and older film, they aren't cynical about modern movie making and they don't divulge us to stories about how great everything was back then and how bad they are now, especially fx wise with those pesky computers. There are some comments being made about how the filming techniques would've been different today, but mostly at the old techniques expense.

I was also surprised and delighted about how little overlapping there was between the two commentaries, that is another common annoyance that this commentary dodges nicely.

So, not only is this an interesting and entertaining listening experience, it also manages to avoid many of the annoying occurrences that usually plagues a commentary like this.
Reviewed by Uniblab on January 16th, 2016:Find all reviews by Uniblab
A satisfying but not remarkable track...Joe Dante et al. keep the commentary laid-back and informal but relatively informative. There's not a systematic account of the movie's production but the track is substatial enough to let the listener deduce how the movie came from Chris Columbus reportedly more slasher-like original script to the produced version (more terrifying then anything on the movie is Dante's incidental mention of "a Twilight Zone Movie episode" he did while waiting for its studio approval...)
Reviewed by aderok on November 25th, 2023:Find all reviews by aderok
Chris Walas is a cinematic treasure, but goddamn exhausting here.
Reviewed by aderok on November 25th, 2023:Find all reviews by aderok
Dante is a bit underwhelming (by comparison to previous comms).