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Empire's 50 Greatest Movie Sequels | The follow-ups that achieve greatness in their own right

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Gremlins 2: The New Batch
DIRECTED BY JOE DANTE
RELEASED: 1990

Why's it so good? While the first Gremlins had moments of Termite Terrace-inspired slapstick, it was largely a horror. But when Joe Dante was given a bigger train set by the bods at Warner Bros., he made a demented live-action cartoon, transplanting the action from a sleepy Anytown to New York, introducing a greater variety of Gremlins (including Tony Randall's loquacious Brain Gremlin) and constantly breaking the fourth wall (and, depending on where you watch the movie, the projector or the video player). Oh, and Gizmo's still cuter than a baby hedgehog riding a sunbeam.

Gremlins 2: The New Batch Gremlins 2: The New Batch
How does it stack up to the original? This is much bigger and much funnier, from the broad brush strokes (the grotesque Female Gremlin) to the tiny touches (the automated bathroom speaker intoning, "Hey pal, I sure hope you washed those hands"). Sadly, it tanked, and it's a shame, for here is a smart, wickedly inventive movie just begging to be rediscovered.

Glaring error: We like Zach Galligan. And we know that a movie like this needs a straight man. But we're not so much concerned with Billy Peltzer's story. What we want is the Brain Gremlin for 90 minutes. Is that too much to ask?


GAP BETWEEN SEQUEL AND ORIGINAL: 72 MONTHS


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