The Addams Family (2019). Film review of the animated comedy horror

Image of Morticia and Gomez Addams in The Addams Family (2019)
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Animation

star rating 3 out of 5 worth watching

Film review, by Jason Day of The Addams Family, the animated retelling of the Charles Addams cartoons about a creepy, kooky, mysterious, spooky and all together ooky familial unit.

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Synopsis

During their wedding, the decidedly spooky Gomez (Oscar Isaac) and Morticia (Charlize Theron) Adams and their equally odd family and friends are chased from their home by their neighbours.

Travelling to New Jersey, they settle down in a condemned former asylum perched on a hill and they start a family: daughter Wednesday (Chloe Grace Moretz) and son Pugsley (Finn Wolfhard).

One day the mist around their moldering mansion suddenly clears and below them they see a new, pristine and ordered town created by manic designer and TV star Margaux Needler (Allison Janney).

Margaux spies the rickety, gloomy house on the hill as a threat to the neat and pretty world order she has made and sets about doing anything in her gift to makeover the Addams’.

Review, by @Reelreviewer

Image poster The Addams Family

The original Addams Family – made back in the days when telly was in black and white – was aired in 1964 and you’d think, thanks to the fiendishly funny and successful 1990’s movie, that it was a big deal back then.

But not as it lasted only two series. Its competitor series The Munsters was more successful in the TV ratings which might have heralded its early cancellation. But Karma is a bitch…Munsters met a similar fate and ended after only two series, too.

So, with a magnificently mordant tongue in their cheeks, directors Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon set us up for a fifth reboot (some of the original TV cast assembled for various TV and animated spin-offs down the years). Based on the ghoulish larks they present here, we may very well receive a sequel.

The Addams Family has always scored well with audiences because of its deadpan, frivolous treatment of the macabre – the normalisation of the supposedly ‘abnormal. It’s a cathartic, coffin conversation and this version lands some smashingly sinister spoofing:

  • Gomez’s idea of foreplay is having Morticia tighten a vice on his head until his eyeballs pop out
  • Wednesday’s hair is braided into nooses, she creates Frankenstein frogs in biology class and only gets a decent night shuteye by sleeping in a guillotine with the safety catch off
  • Pugsley rides rockets and drops incendiary devices on his father
  • Fester descends into lustful paroxysms about women who have bad breath
  • Grandma (voiced, by Bette Midler, as a spiky Jewish lady) makes lustful advances toward Lurch and is engaged in a decades long face-off with her equally diabolical sister.

I’ve never found The Addams Family laugh out loud hilarious, but I get the creepy craic and have always enjoyed watching it, either the TV or big screen variants. This new film is smart, consistently amusing, beautifully animated,has a stunning starry cast providing the voices and had me giggling throughout.

I saw the movie with the ultimate arbiter of animated film quality – a four and one quarter year old child – and his attention was firmly rooted on the images flashing up on the screen. He hardly said a word and – ultimate marker of a movie’s quality for one so young – only went to the toilet twice.

Based on that alone, this film is definitely one to take your kids to see…and grown-ups will like it as well.

For more, see the official website.

Cast & credits

Directors: Greg Tiernan, Conrad Vernon. 1hr 26mins/86mins. MGM/Cinesite Animation/BRON Studios/BermanBraun/Bron Creative/Creative Wealth Media Finance/Nitrogen Studios Canada. (PG)

Producers: Gail Berman, Alison O’Brien, Alex Schwartz, Conrad Vernon.
Writers: Matt Lieberman, Pamela Pettler.
Music: Jeff Danna, Mychael Danna.
Sets: Kyle McQueen.

Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron, Chloë Grace Moretz, Finn Wolfhard, Nick Kroll, Snoop Dogg, Bette Midler, Allison Janney, Martin Short, Catherine O’Hara.

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