“It’s hideous! It’s horrible! It’s home!”Review by Lily Taylor
This 2019 animated version of The Addams Family includes all the same quirky and macabre characters created by Charles Addams, only this time they’re animated. As a modern spin on the classic, Gomez (Oscar Isaac) and Morticia (Charlize Theron) decide to move to New Jersey and take up residence in a delightful abandoned asylum for the criminally insane, the perfect place to start a family right? Fast forward 13 years and welcome Wednesday (Chloë Grace Moretz) and Pugsley (Finn Wolfhard) into the family, plus Lurch the creepy yet hardworking butler and of course Thing, the anthropomorphised hand. The Addams’ clash with local reality TV personality Margaux Needler (Allison Janney) who is committed to rid the town of the morbid family and create the perfect community, she is willing to do whatever it takes to have complete control.
One thing I think is really important to stress here: this is a kids movie. It’s only 86 minutes long and the plot is very, and I mean very, easy to follow. Being a kids film it is a little predictable but that doesn’t mean there isn’t space for black comedy and the occasional adult joke slipped in. An example of this is when Thing, the hand, is seen sneakily checking out pictures of feet on the internet. I think it’s a wonderful thing when a children’s film manages to engineer adult jokes that fly straight over a child’s head, keeps everyone entertained. The Addams Family appears to have received a very lukewarm reception and I attribute that largely to people’s love of the original, it’s certainly a tough act to follow and live up to. However, I think the film is more enjoyable if you take it as a stand alone production rather than comparing it to the OG movies.
I thought the casting was generally pretty fantastic, lots of big names and unique voices. Aside from those I’ve already mentioned, the movie also features the hilarious Nick Kroll as Uncle Fester, Bette Midler as grandma and even Snoop Dogg as Cousin It, who arrives in a low rider blasting Snoop Dogg’s music. Not all the voices were amazing, controversially I actually found Charlize Theron a bit grating and Finn Wolfhard was potentially just a bit too cheery to be an Addams.
The animation was very satisfying, the animated hair was spot on. I don’t think the simplistic plot matters half as much if you allow yourself to indulge in the animation style. Near the start of the film Morticia is preparing for her wedding and uses her parents ashes as makeup, she applies her mother’s ashes as eyeshadow and the animation is next level, I was totally captivated.
I’ve said a lot of positive things about this film and I almost feel a need to defend it slightly due to it’s distinctly average reviews. I’m not saying it’s anywhere near a perfect 10 or that it’s in any way an improvement on the original Addams Family movies but if you give it a chance it’s absolutely a very watchable and even enjoyable film.