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Gremlins 2: The New Batch
Composed, Conducted, and Produced by:
Jerry Goldsmith

Orchestrated by:
Arthur Morton

Varèse Sarabande

Release Date:
August 31st, 1990

Also See:
The 'Burbs
Dennis the Menace
Mom and Dad Save the World

Audio Clips:
3. Leaky Faucet (0:28):
WMA (184K)  MP3 (228K)
Real Audio (141K)

5. Pot Luck (0:30):
WMA (195K)  MP3 (242K)
Real Audio (150K)

8. Keep It Quiet (0:30):
WMA (195K)  MP3 (242K)
Real Audio (150K)

12. Gremlin Credits (0:36):
WMA (234K)  MP3 (290K)
Real Audio (181K)

Regular U.S. release, but difficult to find in stores after a few years.


Gremlins 2: The New Batch

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Sales Rank: 236268

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Buy it... if you've always liked the first Gremlins score but seek that foundation of style and themes with more robust orchestral structures, a devious sense of suspense, and a matured application of synthetic effects.

Avoid it... if you are deterred by Goldsmith's detours into the realm of pure silliness, for the personality of the sound effects and rhythmic mayhem in this sequel score is among the quirkiest of his career.

Gremlins 2: The New Batch: (Jerry Goldsmith) It's been said before, but the lesson from the 1980's still remains; if you go to New York and discover cute little creatures called Mogwais, you never do two things: feed them after midnight or get them wet. If you commit the first error, the cute little fuzzball grows into a big vicious "gremlin" that will act similarly to the monsters in the Alien series. If you commit the second error, you compound the problem by causing them to multiply like tribbles. Either way, expose them to sunshine and your problem is more or less solved. The original 1984 film Gremlins was a great black comedy success, and in the era of sequel exploitation, director Joe Dante took the opportunity to extend himself even further into the slapstick comedy genre with the 1990 sequel, Gremlins 2: The New Batch. Instead of taking over the small town of Kingston Falls, the little beasts cause their mayhem in the big city this time. The first film's two stars are back to witness the fun, and a large corporation's skyscraper is the location invaded by those nasty gremlins. Once that little bit of story is set up for you, there really isn't much else to talk about in the plotline, because as in these Home Alone and Dennis the Menace kinds of films, the premise exists only to allow the series of gags to commence. The downfall of the Gremlins sequel was that those gags weren't really all that different from those already seen, though most would argue that the second film probably had more deserving victims. While making a reasonable return for the investment, Gremlins 2: The New Batch wasn't the box office success of its predecessor, but at least the franchise allowed a short cameo acting role for composer Jerry Goldsmith, a regular Joe Dante collaborator. After a decade of several classic scores, Goldsmith was just stepping into the job of slapstick comedy writer, with the first Gremlins and The 'Burbs leading a trend that would see Goldsmith venture far into that and the light drama realms during the first half of the 1990's. Being no stranger to sequel scores, he tackled Gremlins 2 as he did his other sequels, with an entirely different approach than he had with the first film. When Goldsmith wrote the original entry in the franchise, he was nearing the height of his experimentation with synthesizers in an orchestral setting, and the electronically-dominated Gremlins score remains one of the composer's less organic blends. By 1990, however, his techniques at combining those two elements had matured fully, arguably yielding a far more interesting result.

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Those partial towards composer's quirky and memorable main theme for Gremlins who lamented the lack of an fully orchestral performance of that idea are treated to a shift in focus for Gremlins 2. Still employing an excess of synthetic instrumental samples and sound effects, the successor features a more robust orchestral presence. The title and Gizmo themes don't prevail in the sequel as often you might expect, but Goldsmith does provide a collection of complimentary themes along the same stylistic lines and references pieces from the first score when necessary. Of all of Goldsmith's ridiculous scores (ranging from The 'Burbs to I.Q. with half a dozen in between), it could easily be argued that Gremlins 2 is the wackiest of them all. The malicious nature of the gremlins, along with their funny antics, allows Goldsmith to write comedy in both the major and minor key and at break-neck speeds that are difficult to maintain in most other slapstick films. A certain amount of smirking malevolence, such as in the organ-performed "Gizmo Escapes" (introducing the primary new theme for the sequel, its sneaky progressions repeated again in "Cute") is awfully devious, and Goldsmith wastes no opportunity to use the orchestra to highlight someone's death with an appropriate fanfare. Structurally, the score doesn't differ much from Mom and Dad Save the World, though the 1980's drum pads, the quirky sound effects, and the dark intent in most of the cues easily distinguishes Gremlins 2. The sound effects will annoy some listeners, with a cue like "Leaky Faucet" and all of its bells, train whistles, car horns, and other effects sometimes interrupting the music. Likewise, the "Pot Luck" cue lets rip with an ambitious brass motif over broadly swooshing sound effects (similar to those heard in Total Recall the same year), as well as the basketball beat from Hoosiers and Extreme Prejudice. In "Keep It Quiet," a fair amount of First Blood Part II is resurrected, and in "New Trends," Goldsmith previews the noble optimism of First Knight. On the whole, the score's only major detraction on album is a severely muted sound quality. Given the crystal clear quality of his concurrent efforts that have been remastered, it's easy to say that Gremlins 2 is a score in dire need of similar treatment. The 5-minute end credits suite, an irresistible presentation of themes from both scores, is worth the album (and some cleaning of the sound) by itself. Because of these sound issues, a problem that severely hinders a score that relies so heavily on funky effects, the album loses a star. The music is not the quality of The 'Burbs, but it is very entertaining and easily rivals its predecessor. Price Hunt: CD or Download

    Music as Written for the Film: ****
    Music as Heard on the Album: ***
    Overall: ***

Bias Check:For Jerry Goldsmith reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 3.26 (in 113 reviews)
and the average viewer rating is 3.26 (in 138,583 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.

 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  

Regular Average: 3.29 Stars
Smart Average: 3.2 Stars*
***** 67 
**** 74 
*** 72 
** 51 
* 34 
  (View results for all titles)
    * Smart Average only includes
         40% of 5-star and 1-star votes
              to counterbalance fringe voting.
   Re: The Greatest Movie Ever Made
  James Bradley -- 7/2/12 (7:20 a.m.)
   Sound quality.
  hewhomustnotbenamed -- 6/25/12 (5:44 p.m.)
   The Greatest Movie Ever Made
  Eric -- 10/15/05 (6:49 p.m.)
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 Track Listings: Total Time: 39:25

• 1. Just You Wait (2:11)
• 2. Gizmo Escapes (3:43)
• 3. Leaky Faucet (3:45)
• 4. Cute... (1:58)
• 5. Pot Luck (3:00)
• 6. The Visitors (3:31)
• 7. Teenage Mutant Gremlins (3:23)
• 8. Keep It Quiet (3:10)
• 9. No Rats (2:23)
• 10. Gremlin Pudding (2:13)
• 11. New Trends (3:39)
• 12. Gremlin Credits (4:52)

 Notes and Quotes:  

The insert includes no extra information about the score or film.

  All artwork and sound clips from Gremlins 2: The New Batch are Copyright © 1990, Varèse Sarabande. The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 3/15/97 and last updated 11/11/11. Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 1997-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.