Since the series first began in 1964, we have remained fascinated with The Addams Family.
The original series had three-year run. And with two successful films in the 90s and numerous appearances and reboots, the franchise continues to remain popular. The family is now experiencing a recent animated rebirth. Gomez, Morticia and the rest have once again found their way back into pop culture. Thankfully, with this weekend’s release of Addams Family 2, the family still manages to remain both kreepy and kooky.
Admit it. The theme song is in your head right now. [*snap, snap*]
Directed by Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan, this sequel to 2019’s animated film continues the series’ trademark of edgier comedy. But it mixes that with the silliness of a carefree family. One that doesn’t seem to know (or care) that they don’t fit into ‘normal’ culture. Boasting a voice cast that includes Charlize Theron, Oscar Isaac, Chloe Grace Moretz, Bill Hader, Allison Janney, Bette Midler and Snoop Dogg (as Cousin It?), Addams Family has some truly impressive names on the call sheet. However, in this particular film, the voices feel secondary to the animation style which brings the film to life. Like the original film, the animation style emphasizes the sheer oddity of the family. It emphasizes misshapen heads, beady eyes and pale skin. (Although, to be fair, this is also the same company which brought us Netflix’s The Willoughbys which takes on a similar style of animation.)
It’s worth noting that, like the original series, Addams Family still celebrates darker humour, especially through the character of Wednesday. Compared to the Hotel Transylvania franchise which tends to embrace its more Sandler-esque style, Addams maintains the tradition of laughing at gloomier material. The film always keeps its tone light and family-friendly. However, parents of younger children should be aware of jokes that include beheadings, severed limbs and death.
The first film kept the story more localized in their new neighbourhood. The sequel, then, takes the family out onto the open road. Gomez (Oscar Isaac) senses that his family may be growing apart. So he decides that the best possible solution is to head out on vacation together. He hits the open road with a certain hope. That the added time together will help restore the relationships that seem to be drifting away. He’s especially drifting from his daughter, Wednesday (Chloe Grace Moretz).
However, something happens immediately before they set out as a stranger approaches them. This stranger suggests that Wednesday may not really be their daughter and that she must come with him. In response, Gomez and Morticia (Charlize Theron) quickly pile the family into the van and head out on the run. They do this as an attempt to keep these concerns away from their children.
Admittedly, the change in scenery does energize the franchise. The road trip angle does allow for some new interactions with great American sight-seeing traditions. They go to places like Niagara Falls and the Grand Canyon. The story doesn’t really make a lot of sense. But there’s enough energy and heart to keep parents and kids entertained throughout its runtime. In fact, there are some genuinely hilarious moments, especially ones involving Cousin It or Lurch. (You’ll never hear Gloria Gaynor’s ‘I Will Survive’ the same way again…)
Most importantly, embedded in the animated mayhem is an interesting story. One about what it means to be part of a family. As Wednesday begins to step into her teenage years, she feels as though she simply doesn’t fit into her family. She views her father as overly emotional and expressive. Her brother is unintelligent and annoying. Even her uncle seems to be different (and idiotic) in comparison to her. Questions, thus, begin to arise as to whether or not she is an Addams by blood. Nonetheless, Wednesday’s worldview shakes and stirs. Suddenly, her feelings about her family feel validated. (After all, if she isn’t a member of the family by birth, it makes sense that she wouldn’t fit in.) Feeling lost and alone, she sets out on her own to discover her true parentage. She figures out where she truly fits.
With this emphasis on family, Addams Family 2 recognizes the importance of the love that binds us. We may or may not have a biological connection with someone. But love always builds bridges that have the potential to create something new. Without spoilers, whether or not Wednesday is ultimately a direct descendant of the Addams genes becomes increasingly irrelevant. Because Gomez and Morticia lover her, she is one of them. For kids struggling to find an identity, this message of acceptance is powerful and Addams Family 2 does an excellent of job of not losing that message amidst the morose absurdity.
Silly and strange, Addams Family 2 shows that there’s still life in this off-beat family. Featuring wild animation and enthusiasm, Tiernan and Vernon are clearly having fun letting their kookier side free. The film may not be as tightly written as other animated fare. But it still manages to entertain both parents and kids with its own unique brand of kreepiness and madness.
The Addams Family 2 is available in theatres on Friday, October 1st, 2021.
- Rated: PG
- Genre: Adventure, Animation, Comedy, Family, fantasy, Horror
- Release Date: 10/1/2021
- Directed by: Conrad Vernon, Greg Tiernan
- Starring: Bette Midler, Charlize Theron, Chloe Grace Moretz, Javon 'Wanna' Walton, Nick Kroll, Oscar Isaac, Snoop Dogg
- Produced by: Alison O'Brien, Conrad Vernon, Danielle Sterling
- Written by: Ben Queen, Benji Samit, Dan Hernandez, Susanna Fogel
- Studio: BermanBraun, Bron Creative, Cinesite Animation, Creative Wealth Media Finance, Glickmania