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New Generation Embraces Gremlin Lore

MOVIE REVIEW
Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai

    

Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Year Released: 2023
Runtime: 10 x 22m episodes
Cast: Ming-Na Wen, James Hong, BD Wong, Matthew Rhys, Izaac Wang, AJ LoCascio, Gabrielle Nevaeh, Zach Galligan, Sandra Oh, Randall Park, George Takei, Bowen Yang
Where To Watch: first two episodes premiere Tuesday, May 23, 2023. Following premiere week, two new episodes will release every Thursday


RAVING REVIEW: I had endless possibilities regarding how this series could be treated when I heard its original announcement. A children's animation wasn’t the first thing that crossed my mind. The original films this serves as a prequel to were darker films, with the second film GREMLINS 2: A NEW BATCH earning the coveted PG-13 rating. GREMLINS: SECRETS OF THE MOGWAI opens up a realm of intrigue and gremlin history mixed with hair-raising elements seamlessly tailored for the younger viewership. The show plunges into the vibrant culture of 1920s Shanghai, looking at the backstory of Gizmo, the youthful Mogwai made famous in the original 1984 film. Gizmo, voiced by A.J. LoCascio, did an admirable job replacing Howie Mandel from the original movies and making an instant connection with the audience.


The story's narrative digs in when the Wing family crosses paths with Gizmo, sparking a series of familiar events. Izaac Wang brings Sam Wing to life, a young boy destined to run his parent's shop that is teeming with mystical wonders. Adding a dash of excitement is Elle, portrayed by Gabrielle Nevaeh, a young and talented thief who uses her age and agility to the best of her abilities. Elle, Sam, and Gizmo embark on a whimsical journey through a world pulsating with mythical beings and ancient folklore to discover the mystery behind Gizmo’s origins.

GREMLINS: SECRETS OF THE MOGWAI, while primarily tailored for younger viewers, successfully maintains a sense of suspense and chills. The plot combines elements of traditional Chinese folklore, fantasy, and a little taste of horror designed to entertain young horror enthusiasts.

The series surpasses expectations by addressing intricate life themes such as grief and resilience. This infusion of realism strikes a chord with viewers of all ages. The first few episodes had me wondering if I wasn’t the target demographic. However, as the series progresses, the experience balances out and becomes more of the parallel I had hoped for.

LoCascio's portrayal of Gizmo resonates with audiences, even in the absence of Howie Mandel. The series is peppered with heart-thumping exploits. GREMLINS: SECRETS OF THE MOGWAI ushers in a new generation into its sprawling world. The narrative incorporates elements of fear, paying homage to the spine-chilling aura of the original films. 

GREMLINS: SECRETS OF THE MOGWAI successfully adds fresh layers to the classic narrative without straying away from the established storyline. It achieves an impressive equilibrium, although it tries to focus more on light-hearted humor.

Despite being a prequel with a few bumps throughout, the series keeps its inherent humor and appeal intact. Filled with compelling characters, enthralling lore, and a carefully crafted narrative, GREMLINS: SECRETS OF THE MOGWAI gives us a magical expedition into the world of the Mogwai that is sure to captivate its audience. Now we wait patiently and see what GREMLINS 3 hopefully has in store for us one day!

GREMLINS: SECRETS OF THE MOGWAI season two has already been given the green light, so more animated gremlin adventures are coming!

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[photo courtesy of MAX/CARTOON NETWORK/AMBLIN TELEVISION/WARNER BROS. ANIMATION]