Plot: What’s it about?
As if the home of the Addams wasn’t full of strange people already, they’ve welcomed a new addition…a young baby boy named Pubert. Gomez (Raul Julia) and Morticia (Angelica Huston) couldn’t be happier of course, but the other children aren’t so pleased and they make attempt after failed attempt to rid the home of this newborn. This sibling rivalry seems to be too much of a hassle and Wednesday (Christina Ricci) and Pugsley (Jimmy Workman) are shipped off a to summer camp, where life will take on a new level of suffering for them. While those two are terrorizing the children at summer camp, a new baby-sitter is hired to watch after little Pubert and Debbie (Joan Cusack) seems to be the perfect choice. She is watched by Uncle Fester (Christopher Lloyd) from the second she arrives and soon Fester finds himself head over heels in love with the nanny. This delights his family who is pleased to see him finally find a true love and soon after Debbie and Fester announce their marriage and pending honeymoon. If it seems like normality is creeping into the Addams home a little too much, as always there is something rotten and evil happening but this time it’s not the good kind of evil.
Addams Family Values does what few sequels are able to do, capture the magic and essence of the original movie. This is no easy task to be sure as you can tell by the masses of bad sequels out there, but this one manages to pull it off in grand style. The reason for the success of this follow up lies in many areas, such as the return of the director and much of the main cast which is vital for a sequel in my opinion. This movie also takes the foundation of what made the original so much fun and expands on that, which offers a fresh and unique feel. This follow up also follows the same paths in terms of dialogue and character interaction, even when the characters are taken in new directions and locations. I won’t say this movie is better than the original, but I will say that it is just as good and those who liked the original will find more of the same here. So I am pleased with the movie, but what about the disc? It’s the usual Paramount release which means solid audio and video but few features, which I feel lowers the overall value of the disc. I recommend this release to fans of the original and anyone looking for a good comedy, but make sure you like the movie a lot before you buy this disc as there is little else included.
This film was directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, who also helmed the first film in the Addams series. I like the fact that Sonnenfeld used the same visual approach as the original, while expanding on those ideas to create a fresh yet familiar atmosphere. Sonnenfeld takes the Addams out of their usual haunts, but they still retain their personas and other quirks which is good. The introduction of new characters is also handled well since they mesh well within the world inside the movie. Sonnenfeld also directed such movies as The Addams Family, Wild Wild West, Men In Black, and Get Shorty. Much of the original cast returns to the screen for this follow up, though Carol Kane (Scrooged, Annie Hall) assumes the role of Grandma here. The leads are played to perfection by Angelica Huston (Lonesome Dove, Ever After) and Raul Julia (Street Fighter, Moon Over Parador) who seem born to portray these characters. If these two are a scene rest assured it belongs to them, they’re that good. The impressive supporting cast also includes Christopher Lloyd (Clue, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?), Christina Ricci (Sleepy Hollow, Pecker), Joan Cusack (Grosse Pointe Blank, Runaway Bride), Peter MacNicol (Tv’s Ally McBeal, Ghostbusters 2), and Christine Baranski (Bowfinger, The Odd Couple II).
Video: How does it look?
Addams Family Values is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. This movie uses a very dark visual scope so I had concerns about how well the intended look would come across here, but I am quite pleased with the results. Even in the darkest areas the detail level is high and shadows never become murky or obscuring at any time. The colors usually remain buried except for the camp scenes, which are bathed in rich and bright hues. The flesh tones whether pale or tan all come through with their intended shades. I found little to complain about with the source print used and compression errors were minimal.
Audio: How does it sound?
This release contains a Dolby Digital 5.1 track which delivers a superb overall audio experience. This isn’t really an audio driven movie but I was pleased to find some serious surround use present, including a rich and encompassing rendition of the musical score. The effects sometimes become loud and powerful and when they do the surrounds boom and shake as needed, but usually the effects are for atmosphere and the mix places them well for that purpose. The main focus however is the dialogue and this mix provides crisp and audible vocals at all times.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This release includes a pair of theatrical trailers. I would have loved a Sonnenfeld commentary or a behind the scenes featurette, but perhaps Paramount will see fit to issue a special edition down the road.