DirectorGreg Tiernan, Conrad Vernon
Release Date(s)2021 (January 18, 2022)
Studio(s)United Artists/MGM (Universal Pictures Home Entertainment)
- Film/Program Grade: F
- Video Grade: A
- Audio Grade: A
- Extras Grade: D-
The 2019 animated version of The Addams Family was a nice little success, which obviously warranted a sequel right away. Released in October of 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic, The Addams Family 2 managed to make about seven times its original budget worldwide (not accounting for marketing), but was not nearly as well received as its predecessor. Nearly all of the original voice cast returned, aside from Finn Wolfhard, and the story attempted to keep things focused on the family this time around, but failed spectacularly in nearly every way.
During her school science fair, Wednesday (Chloe Grace Moretz) mixes DNA between her pet octopus Socrates and her Uncle Fester (Nick Kroll), and a visiting scientist named Cyclus Strange (Bill Hader) takes notice. Meanwhile, Gomez (Oscar Isaac) and Morticia (Charlize Theron) begin to fear that their days with the children are numbered, prompting them to take a road trip with them, much against their wishes. Also coming along are Thing, Lurch (Conrad Vernon), and Pugsley (Javon Walton), and staying behind is Grandmama (Bette Midler). On their trip, which takes them from Niagara Falls to the Grand Canyon and everywhere in between, a pesky lawyer named Mr. Mustela (Wallace Shawn) pursues them, wanting a DNA sample from Wednesday for his client who believes that she was switched at birth. Heeding advice from Cousin Itt (Snoop Dogg), Wednesday struggles with finding the truth and figuring out where she really belongs.
Unfortunately, The Addams Family 2 is an awful film. It’s actually the worst kind of modern animated film. All of the macabre humor associated with the characters has been stripped out and replaced with generic and crude jokes, pop songs every few minutes, frequent product placement, references to other (better) films, pop culture references, unmotivated character actions and hijinks, and slicker visuals. Pugsley is now suddenly interested in girls, Cousin Itt rides a jet ski and does a cool trick in slow motion (among other things), the Addams dress up as cowboys (don’t get me started on what the filmmakers think San Antonio is), Lurch sings I Will Survive in a biker bar, and the story thoroughly de-evolves into sentimentality and a slugfest between the villain and the family in the end. I could go on, but I’ll stop there.
The Addams Family 2 has almost no redeeming value. Even though the same production team behind it is the same as the first film (which I found to be problematic but still charming), it feels like a new team came in and took it over. This is not what Charles Addams had mind, nor was it what a director like Barry Sonnenfeld had in mind on the live action Addams Family films of the early and mid 1990s. What began in the last film as a rocky start that could be built upon and improved winds up actually being worse. Small kids may like it, but adults may find it insulting, depending upon their tolerance for low brow humor and a complete disregard of established characters.
The Addams Family 2 was digitally animated by Cinesite Studios and Nitrogen Studios and finished as (what one can assume was) a 2K Digital Intermediate with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. Universal Pictures brings the film to Blu-ray with a nice-looking presentation, likely sourced from that same DI. The results are actually slightly better than the previous film. High levels of detail are on display, but there are no obvious instances of banding or other anomalies to spoil the picture. The color palette is much more varied since the family travels all over the continent, allowing for potent and varied swaths of red, blue, orange, and green, among many other notable hues. Blacks are deeper with great shadow detail as well. Only a 4K Ultra HD release could improve this presentation.
Audio is included in English and Spanish 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French 5.1 DTS Digital Surround, and English 2.0 Descriptive Video Service. Optional subtitles include English SDH, Spanish, and French. Though an Atmos track would likely send this soundtrack over the top in terms of quality, the 7.1 DTS-HD alternative is certainly no slouch. Prioritization for the varied sound effects, including both atmospheric and explosive moments, are given careful placement in every speaker, including the overheads. Everything is rich and full with boisterous low end support. Dialogue exchanges are clear and precise, and the score and music selection assist the overall soundtrack dutifully.
The following extras are included, all in HD:
- We’re Altogether Addams (8:51)
- Courage to Be Kooky (2:41)
- The Addams Family Road Trip Checklist (4:04)
We’re Altogether Addams speaks to members of the cast and the crew about the franchise, which includes behind-the-scenes footage of the recording sessions. Courage to Be Kooky discusses the Addams family itself and who they are as people. The Addams Family Road Trip Checklist gives you tips on what to pack for a road trip, what to eat and drink, and what games to play—presumably from Morticia’s point of view. That’s roughly 13 minutes and 46 seconds of fairly useless bonus material. Nothing about the making of the film and none of the film’s marketing materials. What a waste.
The disc sits inside a standard blue amaray case with a DVD copy of the film and a paper insert with a Digital code on it. Initial pressings also include a slipcover.
I wish I could have enjoyed The Addams Family 2 more than I did, even as a cheap piece of entertainment, but there’s just something about seeing a property about a dark, gothic group of lovable characters in a film that actively undoes everything about them that made them popular in the first place that it rubs me completely the wrong way. Others may find enjoyment in it, and this particular Blu-ray release offers a fine enough presentation to do that very thing with, but it’s not for me.
- Tim Salmons