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‘Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai’ Is An Uneven Return For The Lovely Creatures – Review

More than 30 years after the last Gremlins movie premiered in theaters, Warner Bros. is coming back with another attempt at introducing the franchise to a younger audience. However, Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai doesn’t have the charm previous iterations of the characters have, setting the stage for a story that lacks the bite of what has come before it. Considering this is clearly aimed at a very young audience, it’s still disappointing to see interesting concepts that are brought down in favor of simplistic storytelling and physical comedy shown through jokes that have been seen plenty of times before.

(Courtesy of Max)

Sam Wing (Izaac Wang) is a young boy who has been taught to have a good behavior over the course of his life. When his grandfather (James Hong) tries to introduce him to a dangerous world filled with adventure, the protagonist hesitates to answer the call to action. However, he would quickly change his mind when he crossed paths with Gizmo, a charismatic creatures that comes from a land far away. The small creature seemed to be very intelligent, making the boy feel like he had nothing to fear when it came to their friendship. But every time humans interact with Gremlins, problems are right around the corner.

As Sam would soon come to learn, the Gremlins are not the cute companions they appear to be at first sight, and any contact they have with water will turn them into an unpredictable complication. It’s evident that the boy’s grandfather had had direct contact with the creatures, as he knows a great amount of deal about what should or shouldn’t be done with the little monsters. While learning how to deal with the Gremlins himself, Sam will also grow up and change his perspective about his daily routine. It’s not very common to see a coming-of-age story with Gremlins running around the place.

(Courtesy of Max)

The introduction of the Gremlins as a mythical creature that has been observed by humans over the course of centuries was very interesting, but it wasn’t enough to save this series from uneven pacing, and a lack of self-awareness. The fact that a series was created to be seen by small children doesn’t justify a narrative that doesn’t deliver on the things it promises, with the backstory surrounding this group of Gremlins looking more interesting than what’s actually taking place on the screen. Secrets of the Mogwai is only ten episodes long, but half of that runtime used to tell the same story would’ve done the show a much needed favor.

Instead of using the freedom animation can provide for storytelling, Sam takes a long time to become an active protagonist. Over the first few episodes of the Max original series created by Tze Chun, the boy’s grandfather looks like the person that will lead the story, temporarily putting Sam in the back seat. Unimaginable locations, a considerable amount of Gremlins, and plenty of mysteries to fall would be in his future, and Sam will need a bit of time before realizing why saving the Gremlins is actually an important task. Even if they can be dangerous, the creatures are adorable to everyone who crosses paths with them.

(Courtesy of Max)

Audiences will have to keep waiting for a proper return of the Gremlins, and if the studio decides to give a theatrical project another shot, the tone can be very different from what was seen her in order to make a new generation fall in love with the classic spooky story. If an animated show meant to be seen by very young children was what they had in mind, Warner Bros. could’ve come up with something that could offer more than what Secrets of the Mogwai had hidden within the cave where Gremlins lived. The Gremlins are back, but that doesn’t mean they returned with their full potential on display for the world to enjoy.

With uneven pacing, and a questionable execution connected to a solid premise, Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai is an animated show that could’ve taken a different direction to entertain people of all ages. While the animation style is vibrant enough to keep the viewer’s attention focused on the story, the writing behind the return of the mysterious creatures could’ve used a bit of food after midnight to transform into something crazier than what was presented. The final episode of the first season is set to premiere on July 18, bringing the new story to its mildly engaging conclusion.

Rating: 6/10

Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai is available to stream on Max.

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