Addams Family is a fun follow-up to the older versions. However, some animated movies are for all ages, while others are more for kids only. The new animated Addams Family leans a little in the kid-only direction. Although I prefer animated movies more along the lines of Pixar fare that have multiple levels of humor meant for separate ages, having horror-themed kid movies in October is essential. So many scary movies go over the top with things kids can’t see, so a movie like this is perfect for kids at Halloween.
The Addams Family began life as a series of successful cartoons for The New Yorker. They were quite macabre in nature and even rather subversive for their time. More on Charles Addams following the review.
While the 1964 TV show of the same name only ran two seasons, the Addams family members have remained in pop culture ever since. Gomez. Morticia. Uncle Fester. Wednesday. Pugsley. Lurch. Thing. Cousin It! Every couple of decades, a new iteration brings back all those characters everyone knows and loves. So, it’s wonderful that this new movie brings them all to a new generation. When it starts, this movie even gives backstory to show the early days of Gomez and Morticia’s love story. After watching the new movie, we went home and rewatched the 1991 live action one. My kids loved both.
At the beginning of this new animated version, it is entertaining, but the one-note jokes where bad means good and good means bad continue on for a bit too long. Instead of “do your best” at school, Gomez says “do your worst.” Gomez and Morticia welcome their new home with “It’s horrible. It’s horrendous. It’s home!” They invite people in, saying, “make yourself uncomfortable.” The 90’s Addams films had these same jokes of course. The 60’s TV show did as well. The movies, however, backed those running jokes and site gags up with a bit more plot.
While the new animated movie had a decent plot revolving around being yourself and accepting people’s differences, it took about 25 minutes to get that plot going. So, the first 25 minutes is filled almost entirely with the running word play and site gags of bad things being good. Those familiar with Addams Family would expect this, but it ran a bit long before the movie began doing anything with the characters.
The animation is reminiscent of a Tim Burton movie mixed with the artwork of Despicable Me. It was beautifully drawn, and the Burtonesque feel was perfect for the dark creepiness of the Addams Family. It makes you wonder a bit why Burton didn’t have a hand in it. He would seem to be a perfect fit for the Addams.
The music is, of course, prominent in this movie. The absolutely amazing, almost ear worm that is the theme song is heavily featured in the movie. Additionally, though, new pop and hip hop music comes into play. Since, Snoop Dogg plays the voice of Cousin It, this should be expected.
Once the actual plot got moving, the movie picked up. The villain of the movie is a star of an HGTV-style house flipping show who is renovating an entire town that she’s named “Assimilation.” The children of the town do a song in the park about how people should not be different than others and, instead, be exactly like everyone else.
The Addams family, of course, isn’t going to fit into a town where people are expected to be like everyone else. They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious and spooky, after all. So, an ongoing battle between the house flipper, Margaux, and the Addams’ ensues. However, the plot thread of accepting differences doesn’t end there. Marqaux and her daughter are different from one another. Morticia and Wednesday are on the outs because Wednesday wants different things for herself than Morticia is giving her. More prominently, though, Pugsley is training for his coming of age event that all the extended family is coming to see. The event, similar to a bar mitzvah, is called a Marzuka. In this Addams’ family tradition, a boy who is coming of age must do an elaborate dance with a sword. Unfortunately, Pugsley isn’t very good at the dance. He has other interests. Gomez ignores those other interests in favor of following tradition.
As all these story lines run alongside one another, the same end result comes about in each. Marqaux’s daughter embraces her own differences. Morticia recognizes that Wednesday should be allowed her own desires. Gomez realizes that, while Pugsley has trouble doing things Gomez’ way, he shines when doing things his own way.
As can be seen in the above drawing by Charles Addams, the new MGM and Universal film sticks pretty closely to the cartoonist’s original vision. Addams was friends with Alfred Hitchcock who owned two pieces of Addams’ original art. Hitch even referenced Addams in one of his films North By Northwest — during an auction scene Cary Grant says : “The three of you together. Now that’s a picture only Charles Addams could draw.”.
When The Addams Family was first adapted as a TV series it ran for only two seasons. But it left such a indelible mark and has run in syndication almost constantly ever since. There has been a reunion film Halloween With The New Addams Family aired on NBC in 1978, a 1992 animated series, a standalone film Addams Family Reunion aired on FOX in 1998 followed by The New Addams Family which ran from 1998-2000. None of which could capture the charm of the original
In 1991 a feature length theatrical film was released which captured the adult essence of Charles Addams cartoons the best to date though the story itself was lacking. Morticia: “Gomez, last night, you were unhinged. You were like some desperate, howling demon. You frightened me. [pause] Do it again!”
Naturally, the town decides that the differences of the Addams aren’t all that bad. Many times, differences actually make life more interesting. Rather than exclude people for being different, accepting those differences allows everyone to be happier and truer to themselves.
The movie may lean to being more for kids, but all will enjoy it.
Addams Family: Introducing the Family to a New Generation
- Writing - 8.2/108.2/10
- Storyline - 8.4/108.4/10
- Acting - 9/109/10
- Music - 9.2/109.2/10
- Production - 8.8/108.8/10
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