Subversive comedy is in my mind, the best kind of comedy. While we are laughing, the gears in our brains are turning, bringing up questions that we might not otherwise ask.
Addams Family Values (1993) is the sequel to the 1991 film, The Addams Family. Gomez and Morticia Addams (the late Raul Julia and Angelica Houston) have just added a third bundle of joy to the family. Their elder children, Wednesday (Christina Ricci) and Pugsley (Jimmy Workman) are not exactly pleased to have a new baby brother. In the usual Addams Family style, they do everything they can do to get rid of him.
As many parents have done before them and will do after them, Gomez and Morticia hire a nanny to help with their little one. Debbie Jellinsky (Joan Cusack) is supposed to take care of the baby. But while she is doing this, she is pretending to fall for Fester (Christopher Lloyd). The rest of his family knows that her feelings for her new fiance are merely an act. Can they stop her and reveal her true intentions before it is too late?
I was a preteen when this film was initially released, so some of the humor was above my head at the time. But looking at it with adult eyes, I find myself laughing. My favorite scenes are the ones in which the kids are at camp. When they dramatize the first Thanksgiving and delightfully shock the audience of white upper-class parents.
The purpose of a sequel is to take the narrative of one IP and then build on it by adding additional characters and stories. While this task may seem simple, the reality is that it is complicated. Especially when its predecessor is well regarded.
The Mummy Returns (2001) takes place after The Mummy (1999) and before The Scorpion King (2002) and. Rick O’Connell (Brendan Fraser) and Evelyn Carnahan (Rachel Weisz) are now happily married and living in London with their son. They are still in the archeology game and believe that Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo) will never enter their lives again. But when an artifact emerges and Imhotep’s remains arrive in the city, they will again have to send him back to the world of the dead.
I appreciate the addition of a precocious, troublemaking child, Evelyn’s growth as more than a damsel in distress, and the backstory set in ancient Egypt. It adds depth, allowing the audience to see Imhotep as more than just a generic villain. But my main problem is that Evelyn still needs Rick to rescue her, even when she claims to have learned some form of self-defense.
Divorce is a hard thing on a kid. You want your parents to be happy, but their happiness is no longer dependent on one another.
The 1986 TV movie, The Parent Trap II, is the sequel to the 1961 movie, The Parent Trap. Nikki Ferris (Carrie Kei Heim) and Mary Grand (Bridgette Andersen) both have divorced parents. Being best friends, they plan on bringing Nikki’s mother Sharon Ferris (Hayley Mills) and Mary’s father Bill Grand (Tom Skerritt) together. Their goal is to prevent Sharon and Nikki from uprooting and moving to New York City. But the girls are not doing it alone. Sharon’s twin sister, Susan Carey (also Haley Mills) is more than eager to provide help in whatever ways she can.
I haven’t seen this movie in thirty plus years. I remember watching it countless times when I was young. Its a cute movie and overall, a nice extension to the narrative of the original film. With films like these, important thing is the balance between nostalgia and moving the story forward. Granted, I have only seen it it through a child’s eyes, but as sequels go, I have seen much worse.
When we go, we want to know that our legacies and our families are settled for the future. But there can be a point in which this desire overwhelms our relationships and makes us forget what is important.
The 2010 film, Little Fockers, is the third movie in the Meet the Parents trilogy. After the chaos of Meet the Parents (2000) and Meet the Fockers (2004), Greg and Pam Focker (Ben Stiller and Teri Polo) have settled down into a happy life as spouses and parents. All is right with Pam’s father Jack (Robert De Niro). Before the entire family comes into town to celebrate the birthday of Greg and Pam’s twins, Jack finds out that Greg has a side gig working for a pharmaceutical company due to finance issues. Once more, Greg has to prove himself to his father-in-law that not only is he worthy, but will be able to lead the family one day.
A final movie in a film trilogy or series is supposed to once and for all, tie up the loose ends while maintaining the magic that brought audiences into the theaters. Unlike Return of the Jedi or Avengers: Endgame, which were both able to keep the narrative going and fans engaged, Little Fockers falls flat on its face. The jokes that elicited laughs in the first two movies are empty shells of what they once were. While the chemistry still exists between the actors, the honest truth is that this film illustrates once more why sequels have a bad name.
Success breeds success. But that does not mean that there will be a few bumps and bruises along the way.
The sequel to The Mighty Ducks, D2: The Mighty Ducks was released in 1994. After the success of his underdog team in the first film, Gordon Bombay (Emilio Estevez) has returned to rink playing for a minor league team. When a knee injury sidelines his career, he is hired to coach the Team USA for the Goodwill Games held in Los Angeles. Taking most of the original Ducks with him and adding a few new players to the roster, it looks like they are heading to an easy win. But when Hollywood comes calling and Team Iceland stands in the way of their championship, the Bombay and the Ducks realize that they have work to do.
As sequels go, this film is pretty good. Granted, I haven’t seen it in a very long time, but based on what I remember, its not bad. The bar is that might higher, forcing to the characters to deal with new challenges in order to reach their goals. I also appreciated the additional diversity of the newer cast members.
Taking off from where X-Men ended, X-Men 2 begins several months later. A previously unknown mutant, Nightcrawler, (Alan Cumming) has attempted to assassinate the President. In retaliation, the governments puts into a place a series of anti-mutant measures. Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is trying to find out where he came from while Mystique (Rebecca Romijn) is trying to break her boss, Magneto (Ian McKellen) from prison.
Complicating things is William Stryker (Brian Cox), a scientist who breaks into Professor X’s school and take hostages, Professor Xavier included. Now both teams of mutants must come together to rescue the hostages.
Up until earlier this year when I saw X-Men: Days Of Future Past, I would have said that X-Men 2 is the best comic book movie ever made. But second place is still not bad.
What I liked about this movie is the mixture of the action and the drama. While this movie has the requisite heroes vs. villain scenes, it is much more complicated. This movie blurs the lines (especially within the mutant characters) of who is a hero and and who is a villain. The scene in the movie when Bobby comes out to his family (spoiler alert), who then rejects him, breaks my heart. The final scene of the movie (which I will not spoil for those who have not seen this movie) was on the greatest movie cliffhangers I had seen up to that point.