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  • Writer's pictureAaron Fonseca

Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai Teases a More Ferocious Gizmo

One of the most exciting aspects of Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai is how it dives into Gizmo's backstory. Fans of the franchise adored the two movies that detailed how the Mogwai came into Billy's home. But there was a blank canvas regarding how the older Sam Wing had the cute creature in Chinatown in the first place.

The new animated series from Max (rebranded from HBO Max) tells the history of how Sam took care of Gizmo years before they came to America. It looks like a fun, magical ride from the first Secrets of the Mogwai trailer. What's also quite notable is that the series' version of Gizmo looks fiercer, which actually fits the franchise better.

Secrets of the Mogwai Gives Gizmo More Personality

In the movies, Gizmo was more reserved, trying to stay in the shadows. He took time to warm to Billy and even in the second movie, after Billy rescued him, he cut a timid figure. This made the little fur ball even more endearing, but Gizmo's anti-social attitude made sense given the rules: if he gets wet or eats after midnight, he'd shoot out monstrous Gremlins intent on chaos (something Unwelcome recently paid tribute to with its critters). As such, it was a self-defense mechanism, protecting everyone.

In the Secrets of the Mogwai trailer, however, Gizmo is speaking more to Sam, even if it's in mumbles. There are also shots of him swinging from ropes and leaping around like Yoda, allowing him to be more personable. It adds personality to his character, most evidenced by him wielding a stick and showing Sam he knows kung fu. This aggressive Gizmo was only seen in spurts in prio filmsr, such as when he imitated Rambo or tried to train and box. Those scenes felt like more comic relief, and while there was a degree of violence to the movies, it wasn't as dynamic, agile and intimidating as this more fleshed out Gizmo.

Secrets of the Mogwai is Better With a Fluid Gizmo

A big part of why Gizmo has to be more fluid is due to the medium. The series isn't comprised of practical effects like the 1980s and 1990s -- it's CGI animation, where the villains are quicker, meaner and causing more disturbance. As such, Gizmo has to be a better warrior, with a ferocious attitude if he's going to keep up. Given the other monsters, mystical adventures and the high-octane missions Sam will be on to get Gizmo home, the fuzzball has to be more than just a slow, restrained kid. This kind of charm has him now actively saving his friends, creating more gravitas and emotional attachment -- this time with Gizmo at the forefront.

This development for Gizmo nods to the Indiana Jones movies, as well as The Goonies, with swashbuckling adventure at the core. Thus, a more action-oriented Gizmo is essential, which is why when he cuts loose, Sam's in awe. It's not just style, it's substance. A Gizmo who's more aggressive, proactive and innovative is better positioned to get to his tribe. it's therefore understandable why he'd be more vivacious and willing to take action in undoing the Gremlins he accidentally let loose.

Gizmo wants to return home and regain his sense of family again. This may well explain why he loses this fizz and pop when he leaves Asia. Ultimately, it's more war-driven, motivated Gizmo, smartly evolving the parody and satire of old (per characters like Rocky) when he went into battle, which adds a distinct identity to an iconic creature in cinema.

Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai will debut on Max on May 23.

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