The Addams Family 2: The Great Getawayby Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon, is a tribute to several things at the same time. First and foremost, the classic New Yorker comic, which it seems to celebrate in its clean animation and aesthetics. Also, in a more subtle way, to the series of the sixties, which immortalized the image of the tenebrous family and their snapping fingers.
There are even some scenes designed to celebrate Barry Sonnenfeld’s extraordinary duology, as splendid as it is unrepeatable. But, among so many winks, commemorative sequences and jokes based on popular culture, the film fails for something obvious: its softness.
The Addams family, which for much of its history was characterized by a mixture of gloomy beauty and a rare mixture of tenderness, comes to animation without grace. Much less elegance, sophistication or even the elaborate speech that made all his versions little pop culture happenings. If in 2019 there were some salvageable elements in the return of the family to the big screen, its sequel destroys its limited achievements.
The big drawback seems to lie in a basic fact: the loss of the essentials of the characters. It is not only about that reconstruction of the icon in something as stereotyped as it is cheap. Also, the way the movie collapses by having nothing to really tell beyond the weirdness. Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon insist too insistently on the fact that the Addams are strange. That their way of life is inexplicable, that their members are misfit spawn. But in the original film, the neat animation and play of perceptions about the popular and the fringe made sense. Introducing the characters was a journey through the entire Addams mythology and had some salvageable moments for precisely that.
But, in The Addams Family 2: The Great Getaway, the premise of the need for family union has something artificial. Much more when the focus of the script falls back on Wednesday (Chloë Grace Moretz) and her uniqueness. Already in the movies of the 1990s, Christina Ricci’s performance made the Addams’ eldest daughter an icon. So much so that Tim Burton comes out of his semi-retirement and directs a series with his name with Netflix. For better or for worse, the little girl with braids and a hostile vision is a metaphor for the singular. And one that is part of the cinema.
But Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon are more obsessed with trying to understand Wednesday outside of his family than as part of it. And perhaps that is the weakness of The Addams Family 2: The Great Getaway. Once already Wednesday became the family symbol, the rest of the characters know little. And that conception of rupture, as opposed to the idea of the twisted family group, is the film’s greatest weakness.
Traveling to nowhere
The movie starts off promising with a direct homage to James Whale’s Frankenstein (1931). The device is ingenious because the whole plot is based on Wednesday and his prodigious intelligence. Later, the duo of directors will use as many references to horror classics to prop up an idea: Wednesday is sinister.
Not only that: she is also even stranger than the rest of her unique familiar. Oddly enough, the plot pushes Morticia (Charlize Theron) and Gomez (Oscar Isaac) to a kind of narrative corner very unpleasant. All the action falls on Wednesday, his grand ambitions and, ultimately, his teenage crisis.
But that might not be a problem – Sonnenfeld’s The Addams Family 2: The Tradition Continues uses a similar device – were it not for the film’s narrative clumsiness. The script’s attention is exclusively on Wednesday’s abstract motivations. At once, you forget that each member of your family is actually much more than a circumstantial element. What is missed the most in the film is the essential that always distinguished the Addams.
The plot casts aside his sinister lifestyle to create Older movie parodies with no real effect. From buckets of red paint parodying Brian De Palma’s Carrie to Gomez reading Stephen King’s The Shining. The film has the good intention of creating a micro-world of horror that doesn’t really go to the heart of its plot. The Addams were always distinguished by an uncomfortable dusty decadence. One, in addition, that made them capable of dancing the Mamushka and walking through cemeteries among the tombstones of dead relatives.
But, in its version of 2021, the family becomes small sketches of situation without substance, an unnecessary family journey and a dispute about identity as abstract as it is easy. By the time the film reaches its first hour, it is clear that there are few resources to sustain a dull story. That, despite the fact that there are all kinds of hints to something greater.
‘The Addams Family 2: The Great Getaway’, as simple as forgettable
The Addams family has always been a dark reverse the american way of life. More competent and less innocent than The Monsters, and their strange members were always a fierce stare at the strange. One who, on the other hand, enjoyed narrating all that weirdness in delicious power.
If something is missing in This decaf and tedious version of the Addams, is undoubtedly his lack of sense of irony. Gomez is a good father, Morticia, a sinuous beauty. Pugsley (Javon Walton) is hardly a kind of irrelevant comic relief.
E irrelevant is this tour through the universe of the Addams, who travel North America with nods to its dark opulence. Little glimpses of something more humorous, twisted and quarrelsome than what the film manages to show. The Addams family is back, but maybe it was better if they hadn’t.