The Addams Family (2019) review
"They're creepy and they're kooky, mysterious and spooky. They're all together ooky, The Addams Family". I may be easy to say that most people know The Addams family, first as a comic strip before becoming a television series and even spawning two movies from the nineties, that are both good. So what do we like about them? Even though it's easy to point out a lot of the dark and macabre atmosphere and jokes the family embraces, lives by, and doesn't even care that the rest of the world finds them weird. The real connection is that despite the dark nature, the family is close and love each other in a way a lot of normal families wish they could.
I've liked the idea of keeping the series going and with a new movie going for an animated route, I'll admit that it isn't a bad idea. I know that there was a series back in 1992 (which I haven't seen) but perhaps more spooky elements and monsters and perhaps other Addams members we haven't seen could shine in animation. Though it's a little disappointing that with The Addams Family, it's clearly going for a more kid friendly audience, but I'm still open.
In a really funny introduction, Gomez (played by Oscar Isaac) and Morticia (played by Charlize Theron) are married, chased out of town by angry villagers, and find a home in an abandoned mental asylum where they bring along Fester (played by Nick Kroll), a sentient hand called Thing, and loyal butler Lurch. Cut to some years later where their children Pugsley (played by Finn Wolfhand) and Wednesday (played by Chloë Grace Moretz) are teenagers and have never left the house. The family seems content with their existence, but as most kids do, wonder about the outside world.
Pugsley is getting ready for an Addams tradition called a "Mazurka", which is a rite of passage for every Addams boy. Though he knows how important it is to his dad, he struggles with learning the old traditions. At the same time, Wednesday notices balloons and confetti from the outside world and wants to explore it more, much to the chagrin of her mother. In town, the rest of it has been beatified by reality TV star Margaux Needler (played by Allison Janney) who notices the old mansion not fitting in. As she descends upon the mansion to fix it, the Addams get a glimpse of the normal world.
It's clear that the writers know the Addams work best when their away from home and clashing with the modern world. The Addams Family certainly has funny ideas, but the overall result is simply okay. It's an okay story, okay acting, and even okay animation. I've said before that doing The Addams Family in an animated format has potential, but the final design of all the characters are weird. I'm not sure if that was the intention (and I know the designs are supposed to be close to the original comic), but the bodies are too thin against a lot of the heads.
The biggest problem however isn’t the design, but rather the story. So the Addams would be chased out of town. Then what? Wouldn't their immortal selves easily overpower them? Would the townspeople even care enough to chase them out? I know the story is going for a social media related mob mass commentary, but the script doesn't know how to balance it out with what everyone else is going though. At least with the live action Addams Family, the villains kept trying to separate them, thus being more of a threat to their world.
Though it's slightly hindered by a PG rating, it still does give us plenty of dark imagry and gives us a neat mansion to look at. In fact, if the story wasn't given enough attention, they at least put in enough jokes to give me some laughs. One of the better parts was that Wednesday was becoming more rebellious by acting…normal. That alone got some good ideas (including a joke about a unicorn I won't give away). I think that the movie needed more focus from the Addams point of view as the final message is fine (even funny from their perspective), but the it's something we've heard a lot before.
I'll give this three Lurchs out of five. At best, this might be a better Addams Family to show to kids, but even then, I would still pick the live action ones over this. At it's best, it's harmless. At it's worst, it's not as creative as it thinks. Take it for what it is, and see if this creepy and kooky story is for you.