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Film Review

The Addams Family

Directed by Greg Tiernan, Conrad Vernon
From: MGM / United Artists Releasing
Released: 10.11.19
Review by Julian Lytle | October 10, 2019 at 4:00 PM

Basically: A new version of the Addams Family for a new generation.

When it was announced they were making a new Addams Family movie, unlike many others, I wasn’t worried. While I loved the two 90s films and the amazing cast, it was the characters who made me want to see those movies in the first place. Because by the time I saw them I already knew the Addams Family through the old TV series and cartoons plus that New Scooby-Doo Movies episode (old TV was great with reruns always on deck). So I was just excited that the family were coming back and was even more excited that it was an animated film instead of live-action. Even I can admit, trying to fill those cinematic shoes of the late great Raul Julia is HARD! 

Photo © 2019 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc.

With The Addams Family (2019) the filmmakers have taken their time to make the character designs very faithful to the original New Yorker cartoons from Charles Addams himself. These have been portrayed in 2D animation before but it’s interesting to see them in 3D.

The story begins with the wedding of Gomez Addams (Oscar Issac) and Morticia (Charlize Theron), before their families are chased out of town. The two newlyweds find a place to live in New Jersey, where they start their own family. The outside world that has ostracized them encroaches more and more on their lives as both of their children start to come of age. The bulk of the story is Wednesday (Chloë Grace Moretz) wanting to know more about the world outside of their home while Morticia wants to keep her safe. The relationship of Pugsley (Finn Wolfhard) and Gomez is a focus as Gomez takes his son through the Addams Family tradition of manhood. While these two storylines are important, I don’t know if enough time is given to them individually before they are both wrapped up a bit too easily and too quickly. 

Photo © 2019 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc.

If that wasn’t enough, the family has to deal with a woman named Margaux Needler (Allison Janney) who is the host of a home improvement show. She imposes her will of what is normal and right on all those around her. Margaux is the antagonist—at times she seems to be made specifically for Morticia—but her character arc doesn’t pay off that way and she’s taken care of quite easily. 

The animation looks good and the characters are distinct even if most of the world outside of the Addams home isn’t—although that plainness works with the story the film is telling. Most of the jokes land, although some of the pop culture references are a little iffy if the audience doesn’t get them. Other than that there are little jokes about social media, people needing to fit in, and privacy. Most of the movie revolves around the family being weird, while the family-safe version of goth aesthetics allows time for a lot of the humor. 

In the End: While The Addams Family isn’t super amazing, it’s a good and fun film for this Halloween season.

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