I can’t of course speak for the whole of the UK but I think it’s fair to say that the most popular aspect of The Addams Family that managed to make its way to cross the Atlantic is the catchy theme music, the one you hear at football matches with lyrics that are best not mentioned here. With that being said, I am surprised the popularity didn’t make it across the pond. The original 1938 comic strip and 1964 TV series had their own quirks, they were charmingly dark and funny, so in 2019, the next natural step was to introduce the family to the new generation in an animated style. On paper, it sounds like something that would bring out the great qualities of the original comic strip. But the 2019 Addams Family animated film fell into the trap of trying to hard to be on the same level as its audience, and this, the sequel, doesn’t just not learn its lesson, it doubles down.
With a film aimed for a majority children audience, one way that you know if this film is going to work, in any way, is that children and the adults that accompany them, can both relate to the characters. This creates actual bonding, not just an excuse to sit the kids down for a couple of hours, and if there is one sole character that achieves this, it’s the star of the show, Wednesday Addams (Chloë Grace Moretz). I think every child and adult can relate on a number of levels to the character of Wednesday. In this film, she is undergoing a struggle with fitting into her family, her displays of how brilliant her mind can be are undervalued causing her to become more distant from her. This distance she feels will become the films sole plot driving force. There is so much in this film that feels so outdated, uninteresting and dumbed down, so to say that I became attached to a character is a surprising achievement.
I’ll even say that the physical transformation of Uncle Fester (Nick Kroll) is handled decently. In the opening he is the test subject of Wednesday Addams as she attempts to implement the DNA of her pet octopus Socrates into him to show how humans can be improved. In typical quirky fashion, the experiment has side effects and throughout the film, Uncle Fester starts to become more octopus like. This physical transformation is done in small increments, and I was pleading with the film that they make this factor worth something by the end, and it does, so I was pretty happy that this wasn’t completely wasted and amounted to something by the finale.
I would like to talk unique problems with The Addams Family 2, but there are no unique problems, because the same problems in this film have been seen time and time again in others like it. The film is so desperate to appear on the same level as its target audience that it forgets to be a film. For instance, there is virtually no story here, it is just the family going on a road trip of America seeing the sites and getting into “funny” situations. Just having one gag after another does not equal having a story, the structure of how these scenes play out are recycled over and over and becomes a huge bore to sit through.
One such bore is in the form of It (Snoop Dogg?), and I’m not talking about the clown. This character could have been cut out entirely from the film as he is only there to tag along and give one piece of meaningful advice to Wednesday, provided you go through the effort of re-reversing his speech.
The biggest giveaway to the film’s shallowness is its soundtrack. How many different remixes of The Addams Family theme do you need to include? Granted there are a couple of times where music is used to get a little chuckle, the classic “I Will Survive” song is used in a pretty funny way. However, all of that counts for nothing by the end. This film ticks all the boxes of a film trying too hard, modern jokes that are immediately outdated, modern soundtrack, modern terminology, a pretty surprising pandemic related joke (for some reason), any film fan in the world could tell you where this is all leading towards. A cheesy song and dance finale. That’s pandering bingo.
The Addams Family 2 is one of those films where you could show it to anyone unfamiliar with the history of it and even they would be able to tell that this is not what The Addams Family was. If you are going to introduce the next generation to what you once loved you should at least have a respect for what came before, The Addams Family 2 have yet to learn that lesson. Sure, their take on Wednesday Addams is one kids will be able to connect to, but when you infect that connection with pop culture references it immediately snaps them out of that connection. So in the end, there is only one fitting adjective to describe this Addams Family, soulless.
Final Result: 3/10 – Poor
Have you seen The Addams Family 2? What did you think? Please let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.
Next Time: Halloween Kills