If They’re Going to Remake ‘Gremlins,’ They Need Joe Dante and Practical Effects

By  · Published on January 17th, 2013

Vulture has a super vague rumor that Warners is attempting to coax Steven Spielberg into giving his blessing for a remake of Gremlins. It’s not the first time, it probably won’t be the last, and so far there’s no reason to believe that this trial balloon will soar where others have failed before it.

But if the studio really wants to recapture a bit of Amblin magic, they’re going to need drop the eternal sticking point that kept Joe Dante from making Gremlins 3: the insistence of switching to CGI (a point succinctly argued by Quint in his open letter to Spielberg). Quints main parallel is perfect – how would audiences react if the new Muppets movie was going to feature a CGI Kermit? Regardless of whether technology has made fantastical leaps and bounds, Gizmo and the gang are rooted in that practical puppet look. On the fan side, making them CGI will be heresy. From a business standpoint, if you’re going to trade off the name-recognition of the characters, you have to respect the iconography, or you’re ultimately just launching a new unknown anyway.

And then there’s Dante. I’m not saying that no director out there can capture the same kind of balance between innocent fear and sick humor, but after seeing The Hole, the big question was what this talent from years past could be doing with bigger budgets and a sales team eager to go to bat for a family-friendly horror genre.

It’s unclear whether he would be interested in making a straight-ahead reboot, and it’s unlikely that the studio would hire him if the project moves forward, but if we’re talking about the heart that beats behind the franchise, it’s most certainly his, and it would be a shame to see him not involved in at least a producorial capacity.

So, Warners, if you really want to know how to get fans on board with this to create big buzz and ensure a healthy opening weekend, get Spielberg on board, but also plan to lower your budget by ditching CGI for practical and to hire Dante.

Movie stuff at VanityFair, Thrillist, IndieWire, Film School Rejects, and The Broken Projector Podcast@brokenprojector | Writing short stories at Adventitious.