Saturday, 3 June 2017

POP! Movies – Gizmo (Gremlins)

First of all, keep him out of the light, he hates bright light, especially sunlight, it'll kill him. Second, don't give him any water, not even to drink. But the most important rule, the rule you can never forget, no matter how much he cries, no matter how much he begs, never feed him after midnight.

A couple of months ago I took a look at Stripe, and you’ll notice that many of the things I say here are copied verbatim – despite their vastly different looks, they still apply equally.

Gremlins, hey? A movie that, along with Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, helped get the entire American movie ratings system adjusted. Why? Well, the movie’s initial marketing may have *cough* downplayed *cough* those horror elements in favour of the film’s cutesy mascot, Gizmo – a face that launched at least a thousand plush toys. And more than 30 years on, Gremlins merch still relies heavily on the little guy’s presence. So when Funko was in the early days of their POP! Movies line, it’s no surprise that they decided to make Gizmo along with Stripe.

Odd fact: Gizmo’s voice was provided by Howie Mandel. Not terribly well-known in Australia, he’s quite famous as an actor and as the host of Deal or No Deal in the USA – and also for his crippling mysophobia. The poor guy can’t shake hands with anyone, which must make day-today life a nightmare. 

This being a relatively early entry in the POP! Movies line, you’d be guessing that the paint is on the sloppy side. And you’d be right; it’s by no means their worst work and it’s better than Stripe, but they’ve come quite a way in the last 5-6 years. The sculpt is particularly cool; these days I would suspect it would be executed in quite a different fashion, and not necessarily as well. Before around 2013 or 2014, POPs were much more heavily stylised, and I don’t think that was a bad thing; not all of them are winners, but they definitely had their own feel. Though the overall standard of sculpting and paint has improved in the intervening years, the simplicity of the older figures definitely has its charms too. 

There is another version of Gizmo, though unlike most of his horror POP companions it’s not a glow one – rather, it’s flocked. It was released in 2011 as an SDCC exclusive, with an edition size of 480. Good luck tracking one of those down!

Even for a relative newbie to the franchise like myself, Gizmo here is a fun figure, and it’s a bit of a shame that we never got more characters beyond him and Stripe in POP form. The first film alone has so many cool character designs, to say nothing of the second. That said, Gremlins 3 is allegedly in development at the moment, so we may yet see more of them hit the shelves in the future.  

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