Published on October 10th, 2019 | by Michael Newman0
The Addams Family
“They’re creepy and they’re kooky, Mysterious and spooky, They’re all together ooky, The Addams family…” a theme song that everyone aged five to ninety-five seem to know the words to. It’s amazing to think that a show that first aired in 1964 and only ran for two seasons could continue to have the impact that it does fifty-five years later. Let that sink in for just a couple of minutes, for reference the Apollo 11 moon landing occurred in 1969 almost three years after the show’s end date. To simply say that the Addams Family has made a cultural impact on our society is a bit of an understatement, so how would the first animated full-length movie treat these cultural icons?
The Addams Family is an origin story of sorts for everyone’s favorite kooky family. Gomez Addams (Oscar Isaac) and Morticia (Charlize Theron) are rudely interrupted during their wedding ceremony by a bunch of angry villagers carrying pitchforks. While this is a little cliché’ it sets the tone for the interaction between the Addams family and how they are perceived by “normal” folks. Morticia longs for a place where they can live in peace away from those who wish to disturb their lives. On a long and windy road in New Jersey, fate appears in the form of Lurch (Conrad Vernon) as he bounces off the hood of their car. In the distance, as lightning strikes, they peer up a mountain side to see an abandoned, haunted insane asylum. The perfect place to raise a family away from the peering eyes of the rest of the world.
For thirteen years the Addams Family lives in relative seclusion with their two young children, Wednesday (Chloë Grace Moretz) and Pugsley (Finn Wolfhard). Neither of the children are allowed to leave the Asylum grounds and know of nothing outside the cold iron gates. One day, the swamp is drained, the clouds part and the Addams Family life of seclusion comes to an abrupt end. Down in the valley the town of Assimilation, a town that as its name suggests was built by famous HAG TV designer Margaux Needler (Allison Janney). The asylum (and its inhabitants) do not “fit-in” with the designer’s vision and kookiness ensues as she attempts to make-over (and take-over) the family’s home.
Visually The Addams Family reminds me of several Tim Burton classics albeit with a more colorful palette. Each member of the family is a caricature of their infamous selves and stylistically imbues the spooky, ooky, kookiest versions we would expect. Backed by an incredible amount of supporting voice talent such as Bette Midler, Martin Short, and Snoop-Dog as everyone’s favorite fuzzy cousin…It, it’s a star-studded event that even the most die-hard Addams Family purist will enjoy.
The story goes through typical tropes that we’ve seen played out a thousand times already. A misunderstood family is misjudged by their neighbors, only to come together in the end. It’s a story about celebrating our differences and learning to appreciate what makes each of us unique. In a world of social media, cell phones and television shows that try to make us all conform, it teaches us that while people may look and act different than us, they all bring something special to the table. It’s this light-heartedness and sweet story telling which while not unique is something that I feel we need more of in the world today.
The Addams Family is a film for the entire family, there is light-hearted violence, but all done in jest with no one ever getting hurt. While it doesn’t bring anything unexpected to the table, its still enjoyable and a film that doesn’t ever attempt to take itself seriously. It won’t win any best picture awards, and likely will become another 30 days of Halloween past-time when it makes its way to television, it is still one that will leave you with a smile on your face long after it is over. The experience you get from it, will likely be based on the audience reaction to the film. In the theater I was in, there was lots of laughter, snapping and even a sing-along at the end. It’s a movie to see with other people, and even if you aren’t a fan of the TV series, it will still offer you something. Sometimes a simple movie, with a simple message, is exactly the escape we need from everything in the world today. The Addams Family makes a perfect escape for the entire family this Halloween Season.
3.5 out of 5 stars